What's so great about it?
Well, being underwater is special itself; whenever I go diving, that weightless feeling and the unique surroundings are completely wonderful things to experience in your life time. It's so amazing that mankind has managed to find a way to search the endless oceans, and see a whole other world.
So, how are the photos?
When I started diving, I saw the raw, natural beauty of the ocean. I saw sharks lazily gliding through the water, moray eels poking their heads out of crevices, turtles propelling themselves through the water with the current and giant schools of fish diving and swarming in a horde. I wanted to be able to capture what I saw, and show others the real beauty of the ocean.
The first time I used the camera, I was doing my PADI Sea Turtle Awareness Speciality. This meant that I had to catch up to turtles, and take a photo of the side of their face. Fun Fact: the side of a turtle's face has a unique pattern that can be used to identify that individual, like a fingerprint. I dove under the waves, and spent a day looking for turtles and photographing them. Most of the turtles were hawksbill, and had very dirty shells. I was beginning to lose hope of seeing a green turtle: the type of turtle with a beautiful, patterned shell. Then, as I had only 70 PSI remaining in my tank (50 PSI means that you are low on air, and you have to surface ASAP), this green turtle appeared from behind us, and allowed me to take this shot before carrying on into the infinite blue. We then surfaced, and headed home for the day.
The next day, we travelled to a different dive site, one which was famed for how many different types of fish coexisted in one area. As soon as I dived down, I noticed the large amounts of anemones. Then, I noticed this little guy, curiously looking at me, and I decided to snap a picture. The reason why clownfish live in anemones is because they are immune to the sting from several species of anemones, and they can be protected from predators.
Then, I went swimming along the reef, with the current. I stopped for a second, and then this school of yellow fusiliers swam around me, creating a tunnel effect. It was truly a great experience to see all these fish slowly swimming around me while I floated in place.
After seeing that, I continued along the reef. Then, I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I turned around, and my dive buddy pointed at a fever of eagle rays that were travelling up the reef. Eagle rays are generally very shy creatures, and the fact that they let me swim close enough to them to take this photo was very special. I watched them slowly glide away, and over the reef. We then had to surface, and go back.
That was my last dive there, and they I headed home the next day.
Would I do it again?
In a heartbeat! It was so amazing to see these beautiful sights, experience the majesty and wonderful setting that the ocean provides. More than that, diving was very calming, and I never wanted to leave the water. If I get another chance to do it again soon, I'll take the chance over almost anything else, hands down.
So... What's been happening?
A lot, as it happens, although I haven't posted in a long time. I've won Travel Photographer Of The Year (TPOTY) in the Under-14 category. I've been playing around with computer editing and am focused more on the composition of my photos rather than the subject.
To see the award-winning photos and the new videos, read on!
The category that I won was Young Travel Photographer of the Year - 14 and under - Places & Experiences. Following is an excerpt for the judges opinion of my photos:
I've been using a lot of photo editing programs in the past: I use Adobe Lightroom as a versatile editing tool, but I use Photoshop if I need to edit a photo extensively. Here's an example of Panorama that I created in Photoshop:
It's a photo of Lake Tahoe, California taken at night with all the city lights reflecting off the water. The little red lines in the sky are the lights from planes flying by.
I've started dabbling in HD filming, so I use Adobe After Effects to clean a video up. If I need to edit the video (hue, saturation, brightness, etc.) I use a free program called DaVinci Resolve. I'm recording videos in 60 frames per second to create a smooth transition so I don't miss anything. Here's an example of a video that I stabilised in After Effects and edited in DaVinci Resolve (I reduced the quality so that I could upload it):
Subject V.S Composition
If you recall, the TPOTY judges said that my images capture the scale and beauty of Lake Natron, instead of the flamingos. In the pictures that I submitted, my focus was mainly on the flamingos, but the judges picked up on the contrast between the Lake, the Mountain and the bank, showing me that the composition outweighs the subject. How good a photo really depends on how well it's composed, not what it's on. I often see everyday scenes that look amazing depending on the colour, lighting and that undefinable extra element: a bird, a lone tree, beads on a necklace, the print on a t-shirt. It's possible to find beauty in anything. The ability to incorporate the distinctive features of the image is what makes a good photo, even when shooting everyday subjects.
Spain is a country full of rich heritage and beautiful landscapes, and my favourite place to take photos is Plaza España. Some of you might have heard the name before, as one of the locations for shooting in the detested Star Wars prequels. Despite this, Plaza España continues to be a frequent spot for weddings, tourism and dances. On the day I went, it was very cloudy, but I still managed to get a few good shots.
My favourite photo from that day was when I spotted the beautiful koi swimming in the reflection of a tower. Plaza España features many such amazing compositions that lead to intriguing shots!
And if you fail to get any of those pictures that you wanted, and you've exhausted all other options, you can attempt to replicate the shot of Anakin and Padmé walking while being followed by R2-D2
I recently went on a road trip in the Golden State, and I saw quite a few beautiful sights. One of my favourite places was Bixby bridge. Now, you might have seen Bixby bridge before, but you don't know where. Bixby bridge is known as one of the most photographed places on the west coast, and a popular site for car commercials.
A little bit further into Big Sur, and you'll see Pfeiffer beach, which has quite a few interesting rock formations. Pfeiffer beach has one particularly interesting formation, where, if you're lucky enough, you can catch the sun shining through at sunset.
Now, on the way back from Pfeiffer beach, I stopped and got out and looked at the stars. Being as remote as it is, there was very little light pollution to block the Milky Way, and it was beautiful. In a big city, you usually see quite a few stars right? A few hundred if you're lucky. But out there, the whole night sky was obstructed by the light of a billion stars, and if you looked closely you could see the edge of our smoky galaxy.
I really recommend a drive around Big Sur, and even if you're not an avid photographer, it looks just as good in person.
Welcome to My Lens and I! My first photo is of Lake Natron. Lake Natron is a soda lake in Tanzania. The mountain in the background is the volcano Lengai, worshipped by the Masai. The pink swath on the lake is a flock of lesser flamingoes. It was a very clear day and this photo was very lucky as the sun didn't glare into my lens. Any comments will be appreciated. Please feel free to ask questions that I will answer in later posts!