Wednesday, 13 January 2016

My 5 Favourite Photographs: Number 3

Diving the Endeavour

Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands is an amazing place to dive. With seven German warships still lying on the seabed after being scuttled at the end of WW1 and numerous other vessels that were either sunk accidentally or deliberately through WW2, it's an incredible heritage site that very few people get the chance to visit. Scapa is also one of my favourite places to photograph underwater, because it gives the opportunity to take the sorts of naturally-lit, wide angle photographs that I really like. The shipwrecks provide framing and context for the photographs against the natural sunlight coming in from above, and then any divers in the frame provide a little extra colour and focus with their dive lights.

This particular photo was taken inside the wreck of a small fishing boat in the Northern Isles called the Endeavour, which is an absolutely stunning dive in very tidal waters. The wreck itself is festooned with marine life, and it's open enough that going inside it is fairly safe. This is one of the first underwater photographs I'd taken using natural lighting rather than on-camera strobes, and it came out exactly as I hoped it would (which is particularly unusual considering how blooming difficult underwater photography is!). I love the framing of the wreck around the diver and the little extra warmth he brings in with the yellow light of his torch, but mostly, it's a reminder of why I love diving in the UK so much. With relatively poor visibility and cold waters compared to holiday dive locations, you need a lot of gear and perseverance to do it, and you usually need a bit of luck with the weather too. But every so often everything comes together, and on those days there is nowhere in the world I'd rather dive!