Frequently Asked Questions
How does photography help Conservation?
Photography connects people with something they may have missed, or may never have seen before. I hope that my photographs do just that. I want them to help connect you and show you something deeper, maybe a different angle, and in doing so plants a long-lasting thought or feeling in your heart and your mind. This will create a deeper connection, and give you more drive and motivation to protect that something you love.
Do I photograph other animals besides whales?
YES! I love taking photographs of everything critter in the oceans. My favourite would be humpbacks BUT I love the tiny critters too, underwater seascapes, turtles to sharks to schools of fish to mantas, to octopus, to hermit crabs… I love them all.
When dry land animals are just as fascinating for me to photograph.
How do I / we protection the Oceans?
Both individually and as a team, Darren Jew and I actively look for avenues in which we can #payitforward , so our passion for ocean conservation can be passed on to others.
In Vava’u, Tonga (our humpback swimming destination) together with our Whales Underwater guests we coordinate to donate books to the public library, and educational materials for the local schools. In 2019 we raised funds for a much-needed water tank to be installed in a local independent pre-school which also supports children with special needs.
Whales Underwater has commenced the collection of a comprehensive data set of whale sightings, behaviour, and whale-swimming operations. This ongoing project will not only help with a better understanding of the population dynamics of the humpbacks that visit Vava’u every year, but it will also provide a thorough, season-wide picture of both whale and whale-swimmer activities to help ensure inform best practice for Tonga’s vital whale swimming industry.
We also assist in recording whale songs, each season providing dozens of recordings and accompanying behavioural descriptions for an ongoing research project.
I am proudly an Ambassador for RainForest Rescue, an Australian not-for-profit organisation that has been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1999, by providing opportunities for individuals and businesses to Protect Rainforests Forever.
Rainforest Rescue’s projects re-establish rainforests through planting, maintenance, and restoration programs, as well as purchasing and protecting high conservation value rainforest and preserving its biodiversity.
Through the fotoAID initiative, we have begun harnessing photographers for the common good – most recently fundraising for the Australian Bushfire recovery effort.
Are you sponsored?
No. I am not sponsored by any companies for any of the equipment or gear (eg. cameras, wetsuits etc) and or products eg sunscreen that I use.
If you think we would be a fantastic fit for you ……. email us
What kind of scuba/ swimming equipment / gear do you use?
I still have my very first bcd from when I started….. 20 years ago and love it, SeaQuest Libra. I’m using an Apex Black Diamond regulator set and I loooovvveeee my Mares Volo fins. I also have Mares bcd & wetsuit, Apollo and WaterProof Dry Suits for colder climates, and a PoloSub open cell wetsuit for the Arctic waters.
It really all depends on where I am, what needs to be done and how much luggage space is left after all the camera gear.
What camera gear do you use for underwater?
For the last 3 years it’s been the trusty Canon 5Dmkiv with a Nauticam housing. My go-to lenses are the EF16-35mm f4L and f2.8L; EF8-15mm f4L fisheye; EF24mm f1.4L and the EF100mm f2.8L Macro. I love natural light but use Inon strobes mainly when shooting macro.
How do I get involved and help protect our oceans?
It’s great that you’re ready to get active. You can be involved everyday by being more conscious of your choices, making positive changes and maintaining an eco-friendly mindset. If you’re wanting to also support others in their conservation efforts, make sure that it is #RealConservation. Choose organisations that do on-the-ground work such as Rainforest Rescue, WWF, Sea Shepherd.
Think carefully before financially supporting people who (even in their own words) are just simply “creating awareness”, especially about topics the world already knows need help. There are a lot of people and small organisations that use the word “conservation” very loosely, in a way that we have dubbed “the great conservation hoax”… so don’t get duped… it’s EVERYBODY’S obligation to create awareness about what needs to be done to help save our planet… in itself, it shouldn’t be a business. Be careful of individuals and organisations asking for donations for new gear and plane tickets, just to more create awareness. Instead, support actions that constitute #RealConservation education and on the ground projects, not simply more words.
Do you have any advice on printing?
Yes. speak to my colleague and Sensei Darren Jew, not only can he MacGyver a camera out of a cardboard box, tape and a safety pin, but he knows everything about print, ink, paper and the like. He most certainly is a rarity. He knows all about photography AND print. I’d like to say I’ve learnt a few things, but omg there’s so much more to know and everyday is a new school day.