For Michaela Skovranova, photography is the chance to express sensory and emotional experiences. And when’s she’s underwater, no moment is the same.
Describe the most amazing moment you’ve captured underwater.
The moment the ocean turned into a starry night in Antarctica. I had no concept of what it would feel like to be underwater in such a foreign, cold space and I didn’t know how my mind or body would react. There was a strange labyrinth of haze, with light bouncing off a floating piece of ice, which turned into a beautiful underwater galaxy.
How did you become interested in underwater photography?
During my photography studies, I worked with animals and I wanted to start extending my explorations from the land to the sea. The ocean is the most magical place I’ve ever visited and probably as close as I’ll get to visiting space. You experience weightlessness and this incredible freedom of movement. With every hour and every day, the ocean shifts and changes. It’s such a unique place to create in.
What equipment do you use to take photographs under the sea?
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and PT-EP14 underwater housing, plus the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and PT-EP13 underwater housing. The lenses I love to use are the 25mm F1.2 Pro and the 12mm F2.0. And my all-time favourite for stills and video above water is the 12-100mm F4.0 IS Pro. The settings depend on the environment I’m in and the look and feel I’m trying to create.
What advice do you have for people who want to capture images of sea creatures?
Explore and play. Go into the ocean just to swim and feel the water; go in non-perfect conditions and at different times of the day. Try different lenses and depths. Go even when the visibility is horrible and it’s raining – you won’t feel like it but you’ll always find something new and those are the experiences that will inform your work later on.
Slovakian-born Michaela Skovranova has featured twice in Photo Boite’s 30 Under 30 Women Photographers. In 2015, one of her dreamy underwater snaps was awarded the Australian Life photography prize.