First Time Photographing Free Divers


In June 2015 I joined a live-a-board around the Komodo national park. But this was no ordinary live-a-board, the guests included some free divers. I didn’t know much about free diving and it intrigued me. I spent most of the trip with the scuba divers drifting around the dives sites in strong currents. Looking up constantly, I was hoping to see the free divers coming down to my level. I saw them once at the end of the dive. I was getting low on air and they were far away. Finally I decided the best way to get the pictures I wanted was to join the free divers.


The Dive

Just before the dive I approached the free divers and told them I would be taking photos of them. We had a brief chat about the best place for me to be and I asked them to come as close to me as they could. There was no time for discussion of poses. But I had a few ideas of shots I wanted to capture.

I waited at 5 meters among the fishes for the free divers. Almost straight away I had an opportunity to shoot the first of my ideas, one free diver going down and another going up passing each other. The shot didn’t come out exactly as I had envisioned; the divers we too far away from my wide angle lens and therefore not very sharp. 

free diver silhouetteI swam towards the slowly descending diver who opened her arms wide as she passed me. I knew straight away this
was going to be a great shot.

For the next hour the free divers continued to dive down swimming past me, sometimes in pairs and sometimes following the colorful fish. I experimented with many different techniques and got a couple of nice silhouettes but nothing compared to the arms open pose.

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