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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Trevor Rees

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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.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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Frontline workers honoured with free dive trip to Yap

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The remote island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia is among the few places in the world that remains free of Covid-19 thanks to its ocean border and a strict travel ban that has kept its residents safe.

Nonetheless, Yap has been affected, too. As one of the world’s premier, award-winning destinations for divers, this paradisiacal location in the western Pacific Ocean has had no outside visitors to its rich shores and reef for nearly a year. But while there may be no virus, the island hasn’t been cut off from the economic impact experienced around the globe.

Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers by A. Tareg

That didn’t stop Bill Acker, CEO and founder of the Manta Ray Bay Resort and Yap Divers, from doing something, though.

Last March, soon after the island went into lockdown, Bill began to realize the effect of the virus on daily life beyond the island. “Yes, we are closed, have no divers, had to send our employees home and prepare for difficult times,” he said. “But we’re lucky in that we have, for the most part, avoided the human suffering and death this pandemic has caused.”

Thinking about the problems faced by his family business, they paled when he compared them to those endured by the healthcare workers who have been fighting selflessly around the clock for months on end for the well-being and lives of others.

“One evening, while checking the news online, I saw pictures of frontline workers who were tending to desperately ill and dying people when families and friends could not be with their loved ones. It was heartbreaking,” he added.

The next day, a meeting was held with the resort’s staff and Bill invited suggestions for ways they could do something to honor healthcare workers. The result was the idea to award twenty divers who are working on the frontline to save other’s lives during this pandemic while risking their own, with a free week at the resort.

Manta ray, Manta birostris, gliding over a cleaning station in M’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia by David Fleetham

Divers around the world who had been guests at Manta Ray Bay in the past were invited to submit the names of candidates for the award by December 31, 2020. “We received nominations for 126 individuals from as far away as Germany, the U.S., Australia and Canada,” he said. “It was not easy choosing the winners but our committee of staff members took on the job and selected the 20 finalists.”

“While trying to choose the people to reward for their hard work during this Covid-19 crisis,” Bill added, “by reading the nominations we saw that every one of the nominees was doing things above and beyond the call of duty. Sadly, we don’t have the finances to offer over 100 free weeks in Yap, but we do want to recognize the contributions all of them are making to our world. So, we are offering the rest of the nominees a free week of diving in Yap which includes room, hotel tax, airport transfers, breakfast, diving and Wi-Fi.  The only requirement is that they travel with at least three other people and stay in two rooms or more.”

“We do not yet know when Yap will open its borders,” said Bill, “but when it does, we will welcome these important guests to Yap to relax and dive with the manta rays and the other beautiful denizens of the ocean surrounding our island home. They are the true heroes of this devastating, historic time and we look forward to honoring them with a well-deserved dive vacation.”

Watch out for our exclusive trip report from a healthcare worker from the UK who is one of the 20 to have been awarded this amazing dive trip!

For more information on Manta Ray Bay and Yap Divers visit their website by clicking here.

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Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out. Part I: Demolition (Watch Video)

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It’s finally here! Time to start building the greatest dive locker the world has ever seen! Part I: Demolition! #dreamdivelocker

This is the first of a series of videos showing the evolution of building out my dream dive locker. My dream dive locker needs to be dive gear drying and storage, dry storage, workshop, office, editing suite, You Tube studio and classroom. That’s a lot of functions for a small space!

The first step is planning out the space and demolishing the laminate flooring. Then I taped up the walls to get a feel for the space. We have a lot of work to do!

But finally we will have a purpose built space to house all of our dive equipment! Subscribe to our channel to follow our progress! 

Thanks for watching, Team!

James


Subscribe here: http://bit.ly/DiversReady

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