The Unsung Heroes
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.
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