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Scubaverse Underwater Photographer Interview: Zac Macaulay

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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: Zac Macaulay

ZM: I am a lighting underwater cameraman and photographer shooting film sequences for dramas, feature films, music videos, TV and commercials for advertising agencies and the movie industry. My inspiration is great imagery which is truly been thought about and crafted.

I live in Brighton with my wife and three kids (now teenagers) but was originally from Richmond in Surrey. When I was small my father and I (who lived in Swanage in Dorset) used to stare at the big burly divers venturing into the water and I knew somehow I wanted a part of that.

I started in photography specialising in underwater work from 16 years old signing up to several Martin Edge photography courses and getting my first major professional break in 1997 when Diesel Jeans asked me to shoot a worldwide campaign for them.

On top of that Steve Weinman and Diver Magazine have been extremely kind, sending me all over the world shooting wildlife and allowing me to hone my eye over the years practicing my craft as well as lounging about on some really fabulous beaches.

Since then I have shot loads of campaigns all over the world for clients as diverse as Guinness, The Royal Ballet, Take That, Myleene Klass for Littlewoods, The Disney Channel, Pantene Pro V, Fit Bit, The British Army, The BBC and The National Lottery amongst others.

Artist Statement

I consider myself a team player and like to use a strong graphic element in my photographic and film style, using colour and composition as a thread that runs through my work.

As a lighting underwater cameraman and photographer I enjoy the craft of shooting and lighting underwater and the extra dimension the medium gives you. Whether it be in the open sea, an underwater studio or pool for ultimate control, all present different and interesting challenges, but always enjoyable.

There is no secret to success in anything done well. Its just hard work, focus and a gene or two from your grandparents.

Water allows me to have space to shoot creatively and in three dimensions like no other medium.

Finally my aim is to make it much more interesting…

Awards

I have won three international awards for my work including the prestigious Winner, Palme d’Or, Advertising category for best stills image, Antibes Underwater Film and Photography festival.


NRB: How did your underwater photography start?

ZM: I started when I was 16 learning to dive and running my interest in photography alongside. I soon found a job in a London advertising studio making the tea and asked who was the best underwater photographer at the time. Mike Portelly came back the answer, so I called him 100 times till he gave me a job.

NRB: What is your favourite u/w camera equipment (past & present) & why?

ZM: Today I own and shoot with a Nikon D800 and Seacam housing for stills, and a Seacam / Panasonic GH5 and Red Epic Dragon / Gates Deep Weapon housing for film.

My oldest and proudest working system is one of 10 Peter Scoones built housings for a Mamiya RB 67 roll film camera. On 220 film you can have as many as 20 exposures up your sleeve!

NRB: What would be your advice to anyone new to underwater photography?

ZM: Enter it as an exciting hobby that will take you all over the world. Professionally underwater photography today is very challenging and extremely difficult to make a living from if you have a mortgage and family.

NRB: What, or who, has been your single biggest inspiration for your underwater photography?

ZM: Mike Portelly

NRB: What image are you most proud of and why?

ZM: My ad for Diesel because it launched my career.

NRB: Where is your favourite dive location, and is it for the photography?

ZM: Cuba, well yes and no, great Rum and a travellers destination.

NRB: What are you views on marine life manipulation, moving subjects?

ZM: Personally I haven’t done it.

NRB: What do you look for when you are making your images?

ZM: Learn to see and not just to look.

NRB: What motivates you to take u/w photos?

ZM: It’s in the blood, the 3 dimensional movement the calmness and the creative buzz from doing something difficult.

NRB: If you could photograph any one thing/place what or where would that be?

I would go back to Sipadan in Malaysia.

To see more of Zac’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

Gear News

Gear Maintenance Episode 4: Backplate and Harness Sponsored by Dive Rite (Watch Video)

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Welcome to Gear Maintenance! In this episode I’m showing you how to bring an old, tattered backplate and harness back to life and giving you tips on how you can look after your scuba diving gear.

If you want to support Divers Ready! (for free!) support our sponsor for this series of videos: Dive Rite

To enter to win the XT Lite Backplate and Basic Harness from Dive Rite, you need to:

  1. Subscribe to Divers Ready! if you haven’t already: https://www.youtube.com/c/diversready?sub_confirmation=1
  1. Enter the contest here: https://gleam.io/pncFv/dive-rite-xt-lite-backplate-and-harness-giveaway

When a scuba diver switches from a jacket BCD to a Backplate, Harness and Wing system, it can be very hard to switch back! We’ve packed this video full of hints and tips covering storage, protection, cleaning and maintenance to help you protect the investment you’ve made in your dive equipment.

Good luck to everyone! D.S.D.O James


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

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Equipment

Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock

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Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.

Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:

• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket

F1 LT Yellow RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2207.xx 

F1 LT White RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2211.xx 

For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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