A photographer who takes stunning photos of marine life tells PetaPixel he spends 500 hours underwater each year.
Andrey Savin shoots his photos in the Philippines where he lives and captures all manner of exotic sea creatures; including turtles, squids, eels, and clownfish.
“Underwater, the body works in ‘light’ mode and the brain in ‘turbo’ mode,” says Savin. “You have to analyze everything at once and very quickly.”
Savin, who regularly dives solo, says that while beneath the waves he is looking for “unusual behavior, beautiful natural light, rare sea creatures, successful combination of colors, and expressive faces.”
“This is not a complete list, but those are the aspects that I intuitively use when building a frame. I also try not to make the image look like it was shot with flash, I strive for maximum naturalness and natural beauty,” he adds.
Although Savin doesn’t want his photos to look like it’s been lit with flash — something he achieves time and time again — he does take a lot of lighting down into the deep blue with him.
“I have two cameras: the main one is a Sony A7R IV which gives amazing resolution (I’m switching to the A7R V now) and the backup camera is a Panasonic GH5 with an external recorder Atomos Ninja V (mainly for video shooting),” he explains.
“I use a dozen excellent lenses in conjunction with these cameras. Among my favorites are the Canon 8-15mm fisheye, a Sony 90mm macro for full frame, an Olympus 60mm macro, and an Olympus 7-14mm for micro four-thirds.
“And then there are eight flashes and more than 10 underwater lights. After all, light underwater is a major factor in success. Don’t think it’s all about the number of lumens, not at all. Quality of light and flexibility of control are of paramount importance.”
Savin says that anyone can develop their skills in the water given enough practice, something he has himself in abundance.
“Although I stopped counting the number of dives I do a long time ago, I estimate that I spend more than 500 hours underwater per year,” he says.
“As for photography, it is an endless process. Before every dive, I set clear goals that I want to achieve. This is the key to progressive movement and development of my abilities,” he says.
“I love to test new equipment and cooperate with a number of brands. I am sure that the qualitative leap in skills (both diving and photography) occurs when you move to solo diving — when you can count only on yourself, on your own strength and skills — it significantly increases the level of responsibility and gives complete freedom.”
Image credits: Photographs by Andrey Savin