Ocean life

Published May 29, 2018, 12:05 AM


By Maan D’asis Pamaran

Photographer of the week

Jonathan Tabisaura

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When he started capturing street scenes in 2014, he began to see things in a different perspective. Then, inspired by a photo of a frogfish in the pages of the National Geographic magazine, Jonathan Tabisaura decided to venture into underwater photography. “It combines my love for photography and how fascinated I was seeing shots of these tiny critters in my computer.”

By 2016, he was specializing in underwater macro photography. “My favorite subjects are the small critters you usually don’t see with our naked eyes. Some are as small as 3mm but these small critters are so beautiful when taken by a camera with proper lighting. I also like to capture the marine behavior, these are the money shots when you are into underwater photography,” shares Jonathan.

There are, understandably, specific challenges with his chosen field. “You have to battle the strong currents, and your oxygen supply is limited, which is not really a problem when you are shooting on dry land. It can be dangerous, too. One time, while I was practically prone on the sand, a fire sea urchin crawled beneath my legs, and it was so painful!”

Hazards aside, he says his underwater work imbued him with a mission. “It has pushed me to contribute in awareness and conservation of the marine life. I am proud to say that my work has been featured in two lifestyle magazines, but at the core is my contribution in creating awareness and a sense of responsibility toward marine conservation.”

He has influenced his friends to go diving and explore underwater photography. “To some, it has created awareness that these small critters exist and knowing that how small or big they are, they contribute to the ecosystem of the ocean.”

He is so passionate about this mission that he invested in a serious rig to pursue his photography: He started out with a Canon point and shoot, but is now kitted out with a Canon 5D Mark IV equipped with Seacam housing and Seacam strobes, together with a focus light and a snoot.

Investing in the equipment has helped him to achieve his objectives. “I prefer vibrant, colorful photos, especially for underwater macro subjects. They usually come out very vibrant once the strobe hits their body—without the proper strobes or lighting, colors don’t usually come out well,” he shares.

His “serious rig,” as he describes it, is instrumental in his underwater shoots.

He believes that photography, whether under the sea or in the streets should tell a story. “It is a tool used to express what you want people to see. It can build and destroy any subject if not properly expressed by the photographer through his photographs. I also believe photography in a way teleports people to a new dimension, bringing them with you as you photograph and capture the moment. In my case, I get to explore marine life. Not everybody has given this chance, so I guess, it is my own little way of sharing these creatures to people,” says Jonathan.