One of the most important aspects of underwater photography is the equipment. It can be bulky, heavy and costly but it’s important to research and find what is best to suit your needs. It’s also very important that it’s reliable and you look after it well to avoid leaks and yes I have had one!

My equipment has certainly evolved over the years from the earliest, waterproof compact cameras when it started as a hobby while Scuba diving, then when I got a little more serious about 10 years ago, I bought the waterproof housing for my Canon G10, then about 4 years ago I got a GoPro Hero4 black.

When I decided to make it a profession about 3 years ago, I did a lot of research. I was using a Canon 5D iii for my regular shoots and found the suitable waterproof housing for that with Ikelite. It was a big investment with the housing, lens, wide angle lens 16-35mm, dome port and strobes but I was willing to make it and found all the parts at ScubaCam in Singapore. There was a bit of a learning curve in setting it up, which I can now do very quickly but there is no room for error.

Usually I set up at home before a shoot but sometimes I need to do it on location and I had a close call recently when I did this and was a bit slack with the checks. One thing I always do is submerge the camera slowly initially and when there are bubbles coming out you know there is a leak. This time it happened and I pulled it out straight away. Water had seeped in because a small piece of rubber seal was out of place. A decent amount of water had got in but luckily hadn’t affected the camera! Big scare though and I will be more careful in future as it would be an expensive mistake.

So far I have been extremely happy with the equipment and it was worth the investment. The upsides are it’s easy to use once you get used to it, it’s reliable (if you use it correctly and look after it). The downsides are it’s heavy and bulky and sometimes kids (and adults) can be intimidated by it. When I go to a shoot I usually have my Lowenpro suitcase which carries the heavy weights I use to hold down a backdrop, the strobes, backdrops and all the extra parts like chargers and cables. I also have a Murph&Murph bag which is perfect for carrying the camera and housing and then compartments for my weight belt, mask, towel, suncream, water, phone and all the extra bits. Its a great bag which I use for days at the beach with the kids as well.

I also have a huge box of fancy dress items, props, fabrics and outfits which I will bring along depending on the shoot. Having a daughter and two sons means I have mermaid tails, princess and fairy dresses, superhero costumes, pirates, Christmas, Halloween costumes you name it! I do love a themed shoot and kids do too.

These kids had a great time dressing up and were fascinated by the equipment (as was their Dad) which really helped them feel comfortable and we got some super cool shots with them.

Komodo (March 2018)

We had some previously unused flights to use up so decided to take a weekend (kid free!) to Komodo in Indonesia. I was so excited to do some diving and ocean photography! A friend had stayed at the Seraya Resort and recommended it so this is where we went. The beach bungalows were simple, lovely and right on a stunning stretch of sand leading onto the house reef. It’s a bit of a mission to get there from Singapore… flying to Jarkarta, then to Labuan Bajo and a speedboat to the island, but it was worth it!

Waking up to a stunning sunrise which called me to take a walk along the jetty, I new it was going to be a magical day. The water was crystal clear and glassy and I saw some baby black tips as well as a few lion fish (noted to look out for these as you do not want to get stung!). We booked a day trip with Aqura Dive, the onsite dive shop and I couldn’t wait as it had been over a year since my last dive.

Of course we had to go to Komodo Island which is one of only a few islands that inhabit the Komodo dragon. I’ve seen Goanna’s and Monitor Lizards but these things are beasts!

Next stop was turtle city. As soon as we anchored, we were greeted by a large loggerhead popping up to check us out. During the dive we lost count after about 20 turtles. I love observing their different characters… some appear friendly and relaxed around the divers and others seem to say, leave me alone and get that camera out of my face (so I did!) Much like humans I guess : )

Now off to the Manta feeding station. I was super excited for this as although i’ve seen a couple of mantas in the distance in the Maldives, I had not been up close with the Oceanic Manats. It’s hard to get an idea of the scale of these majestic creatures but the wing span was over 4 metres. They would swim right over us as and come back around again for their cleaning so it was incredible to sit and watch (and take photos!) Unfortunately the water visibility wasn’t the best so the photos are a bit gritty.

Fortunately my husband enjoys scuba diving too, since I bought him a PADI course for Christmas about 12 years ago! So it’s great having him along as my buddy. However, he also likes to chill out and read a book on holidays (fair enough!) so it’s about finding balance between a bit of adventure and culture and just relaxing. We did a bit of that but I spent most of my time snorkelling on the house reef which was pretty impressive. I also had to drag him away from his book to do some creative shots that I had in mind…

I read my book too! hehe