My first clumsy experiments with underwater shooting left me nothing but vague memories. Back then I’ve been taking photos of anything I saw using the rented Sea&Sea Motor Marine MX-10, and then I was proudly showing off the flat photos I made and saying to my friends: “Just look at that fish”! That was 1999, Sharm-El-Sheikh. No words or photos could describe what I saw in the sea depth. My friends though spent their time sunbathing at the Red Sea beaches ignorant of the underwater beauties beside them.
I have spent some time getting ready for my next trip to the southern lands: I got myself photo equipment based on Nikonos V and took course on underwater photography. And so it started…Sharm-El-Sheikh, Dahab, Marsa Alam, Safaga, Thailand, Maldives, Cocos Island, Malpelo Island, Barents Sea, Nemetsky Peninsula ... Through trial and error I figured out what equipment was the best for my needs: Nikonos V with 15-mm lens and Inon-220s flash, and Nikon F100 in Sea&Sea box with two Inon-220s flashes, now Nikon D200 in Sea&Sea box and Nikon D800 in Nauticam box . I improved my diving skills and got PADI license.
Among those who helped me and directed were an Englishman in Sharm-El-Sheikh and owner of the photo studio in the Caribbean Islands. While following their advices I realized that underwater photography is not just a passing whim for me but real passion. Later I learned about Underwater Photography Center in Russia. I established some contacts and found my soul mates.
Shot by shot, film by film and one day I saw the light. I stopped shooting anything and everything and switched to the subject images, close-up shots, underwater seascapes, though not the ordinary ones but with an intrigue. Instead of just copying the reality I now wanted to make photos that convey my feelings and emotions. That was when I conceived my underwater “commandment” – in no case should my shots be prearranged, they should show the nature as is without any things and objects moved, added or combined.
My participation in II All-Russian Festival of Underwater Photography enabled me to compare my skills to those of other photographers. At the next III Festival, “The Golden Dolphin”, I was awarded the prize for the best shot in “Macro” category. On the winning picture there was some red “worm” on the sponge of the same colour. As it usually happens, that shot was the last for the day.
I have a dream – I want to like my own photographs. I don’t think it is ever achievable, I only hope. What would I want? To have more planned shots. Where would I like to go to and what would I like to shoot? I’d like to take photos of big fish: whales, sharks and dolphins, and investigate the Russian waters. There is no end of work to be done.
Enjoy your time.