I was hanging motionless in the water; my hands gripped my Olympus camera waiting for the perfect opportunity to shoot an incredibly beautiful and inquisitive Maori Wrasse. I line up the shot, check my aperture and shutter speed, and adjust my strobe. The male Maori Wrasse swam closer. “Steady, steady, don’t scare him… and fire.” I was in business.
Underwater photography and videography are incredible tools for raising awareness and understanding of the underwater world. They are mediums that have always fascinated me and I longed to learn more. This year, the Rolex Scholarship of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society gave me the most incredible opportunity I could ever have imagined. For a whole year, I am following my interests, pursuing my passions and broadening my understanding and knowledge of the underwater world. Fast track a couple of months and I am in Palau, diving at Fish n Fins dive shop, learning more about shark conservation, and increasing my understanding of videography and photography with an accomplished videographer, Richard Brooks. Having lived in Palau for many years, Richard is an expert at filming in the region and has some of the best underwater footage I have ever seen. Every day I learned more from Richard. He taught me about the essence of filmmaking: the importance of having a purpose and knowing the story you wanted to share, how to keep things interesting, and to explore as many camera angles as possible. We hit the water and it was go go go, finding my subject, adjusting my white balance on my Light & Motion camera housing, and fine-tuning my buoyancy so as to stay completely level in the water. There was so much to learn but I loved the excitement, the challenge, and the satisfaction of finally getting that awesome shot. I was also learning about photography in Palau and had the incredible luxury of shooting subjects from manta rays, to schools of grey reef sharks, crocodile fish and moray eels. What an incredible journey this scholarship has been so far! I am living the dream.
Click here to learn more about the Scholarship program, including how to apply for the 2013 Scholarships: