In an ongoing series, Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Editor Nick Robertson-Brown talks to underwater photographers from around the world that he admires. In this blog: Trevor Rees.
NRB: How did your underwater photography start?
I bought my first underwater camera in the early 1980’s. It was a second-hand Nikonos 111 film camera. Like a few other folk who have been diving for 40 odd years I was inspired by the early Jacques Cousteau films on TV and decided at that point I had to go diving. Even today I find myself imitating his French accent about the ‘mysteries of the deep’ and other such phrases I remember from that time.
NRB: What is your favourite u/w camera equipment (past & present) & why?
Undoubtedly, I fell in love with my early Nikonos 111 camera and used this particular model for 20 years before changing to digital. I had a series of digital compact cameras in cheap plastic housings but finaly went down the dSLR route in an aluminium housing. I also use an Olympus PEN camera in an Olympus housing which whilst not as enjoyable to use is a very capable camera. My latest camera is the Nikon d850 in a Nauticam housing which apart from the bulk and weight is hard to fault. Lately, I really been enjoying Nauticam’s WACP1 paired with a Nikkor 28-70mm zoom on my D850. It might all be different kit in a couple of years though.
NRB: What would be your advice to anyone new to underwater photography?
It’s all about dive time rather than the kit that counts. My top tip would be to really understand your camera to be able to exploit it properly. I like to get to know a subject and then stick at it. Therefore, I really subscribe to the mantra that effort in = equals results out. My other plea to other aspiring photographers is to have self-belief and do your own thing. You do not you have to join the merry- go-round of expensive overseas workshops to learn your craft. Finally, good dive technique, especially buoyancy control, can’t be underestimated in a successful photographer.
NRB: What, or who, has been your single biggest inspiration for your underwater photography?
No one and everyone can be my inspiration. I am not prepared to list any other top notch photographer as some kind of god. My inspiration is the love of diving, nature and all the subjects I try and shoot. Whilst I might copy techniques I seen others use, I try to do it my way and on my own trips.
NRB: What image are you most proud of and why?
This would probably be one of my latest shots. It’s hard to choose a single image so I’ll pick my last winning BSoUP plash in completion shot of a fireworks anemone and sunburst from a Scottish sea loch which was an in camera double exposure.
NRB: Where is your favourite dive location, and is it for the photography?
It’s the west coast of Scotland. I can’t say it’s necessarily world class diving but it’s a reliable destination where I can always dive, find interesting subjects and be on my own schedule to really spend time working my subjects.
NRB: What are you views on marine life manipulation, moving subjects?
As long as the critters are not suffering any harm I do not get too up-tight about this topic. My preference is not to be moving or interfering with subjects that result in a blatantly unnatural shot. I would rather mess about in photoshop to create something unreal than bully nature in some way.
NRB: What do you look for when you are making your images?
Common subjects done well is what I am all about. If I have a style, it is simplicity in composition and good lighting to try and make my subject have impact.
NRB: What motivates you to take u/w photos?
There is something addictive about pushing the shutter button – it’s as exciting today as when I first started. It might just be that I love diving and the underwater world so much that I don’t need much motivation to want to carry on shooting. I think growing and improving as a photographer is important and allowing my artistic nature to develop is all I can think of.
NRB: If you could photograph any one thing/place what or where would that be?
I’ve never seen a seahorse in British waters. Perhaps I could list that as the answer to this question. It’s a subject I feel I should have seen by now with the number of dives I’ve done around the British coast. To be honest though, if I was that motivated by this particular subject I would have put the time aside to go and do it. It’s on my list – but then so are quite a few other subjects I have not yet seen in British waters. All the overseas stuff would be nice, but no big deal if I run out of time to see it all.
To see more of Trevor’s work click here.