FEA­TURE

The Un­sung Heroes

Asian Diver (English) - - News - By Wade Hughes

Un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phers do more than cre­ate pretty pic­tures. By doc­u­ment­ing undersea land­scapes and marine life, they be­come am­bas­sadors for the ocean. It’s of­ten been said that hu­mans only value and pro­tect the things they know and un­der­stand. If this is true, the cre­ation and shar­ing of un­der­wa­ter images with the broader non-div­ing public serves to heighten aware­ness and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the marine en­vi­ron­ment, and the need for the pro­tec­tion of these unique ecosys­tems.

The pho­tog­ra­phers who cre­ate these images are jus­ti­fi­ably lauded for their tech­ni­cal and artis­tic abil­ity. But as many of these same shoot­ers will be the first to at­test, cre­at­ing these port­fo­lio prizes is of­ten a team ef­fort that in­cludes top­side sup­port and, most im­por­tantly, an ex­pe­ri­enced dive guide. This fact isn’t lost on vet­eran un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­pher Wade Hughes, who is a Mem­ber of the Explorers Club and a Fel­low of the Royal Ge­o­graph­i­cal So­ci­ety. “Photo dive guides al­most never ap­pear in the pic­ture cred­its, but they are the ones that can make the dif­fer­ence un­der­wa­ter,” he says.

Wade has doc­u­mented un­der­wa­ter sites in some 30 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries around the world, and now fo­cuses an in­creas­ing amount of his time pho­tograph­ing the reefs and marine life of In­done­sia’s Waka­tobi re­gion. Wade re­cently wrote about some of his ex­pe­ri­ences work­ing with Ke­tut Suardika, who is one of the highly-ex­pe­ri­enced guides work­ing at Waka­tobi Resort.

IM­AGE: Wade Hughes

ABOVE: Bump­head par­rot­fish spi­ral up to the reef top from deeper wa­ter. They’ll crunch and grind their way through liv­ing corals, di­gest­ing the soft tis­sue and ex­cret­ing the pul­verised sand

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