With underwater photography technology becoming more affordable, loads of us now head down into the blue armed with Go-Pros, cameras and lights to document our adventures.
What can we do to make sure our fun is just as much both for the ocean dwellers we meet and for our fellow divers?
Here are a few basic rules of underwater photography etiquette:
*Don’t jump the queue*
Sometimes as a photographer you’re so anxious to get the shot that you go in like a bull at a gate as soon as you realise someone has spotted something exciting. Hold your horses! Having a camera doesn’t give you priority unless your dive buddies usher you to the front of the queue.
*Give your fellow divers a look in*
Similar to the first point — your dive buddies would love a turn, too! So once you’ve had an opportunity to “shoot” some special sighting from a variety of angles, move on and let someone else have a look. They’ll be more likely to share their future spotting with you quickly if you do.
*Look out for your lights*
Underwater strobes are BRIGHT — dazzlingly so. Be aware of where you are pointing them, because as a dive buddy who has been blinded on a number of occasions, I can attest to the fact that I love a considerate camera person.
*No touching, coaxing or chasing the critters*
It may be tempting to coax that octopus out of its hole, swim behind that ray, move that nudibranch to a better spot — but for what? Ocean critters can get stressed, forced out of their safe homes or have their delicate membranes damaged, all so that we can frame a great photo or have a dramatic video clip to share with friends.
As uninvited guests, let’s treat sea creatures with respect by letting them go about their business without harassment.
After all, you wouldn’t move a golf ball closer to the hole, would you?
*Watch out for the reef*
It’s easy to get involved with what’s happening through the lens and lose track of what’s immediately around us. Before you know it you’re showering sea urchins onto the ocean floor because of blundering into the reef.
Check your buoyancy, mind your fins and make double-sure your gauges are secured so that they don’t do damage to your surrounding and their unsuspecting inhabitants.
*Don’t lie on the sand*
If you’re like me, your initial instinct may be to maintain slightly negative buoyancy and stay right on the sand at times. But in Cape Town, certainly, there’s LOADS of ocean life on and in the sand. It deserves some breathing room too — don’t squash it just because it’s hard to see!
That’s all folks!