Hi Simon! Tell us about yourself in two sentences - who are you?
I’m a marine biologist working globally on whale shark ecology and conservation. I get to visit some amazing places, so I thought I’d better buy myself a camera...
QWhat's the weirdest situation you've found yourself in while taking a photograph?
AA few years ago, when I was living in Mozambique I was out on a boat searching for whale sharks, but instead we came across a great white shark(!) on the surface. It was big - almost 5 m long - and I wasn't brave enough to jump in, but I did get a couple of friends to hold onto my legs while I hung over the side to shove my camera underwater. That, my friends, is trust.
QWhat do you shoot on? What's your favourite set up?
AI’ve got a Panasonic GX1, basically a DSLR without an optical viewfinder, which means they have good image quality in a small and light package. The GX1 had a great Nauticam housing available, and an excellent lens selection. The Panasonic 8 mm fisheye is wonderful for wide angle shots underwater, and the Panasonic 100-300 is good on safari. About 95% of my photos are taken on one of these two lenses. Recently, I've also been travelling with a DJI Phantom Vision+ quadcopter. It's an amazing photographic tool. It does take up a bit more space, but it's worth it.
QWhat's your number one tip for an aspiring photographer?
AGet close, and wide. Above or below the water, these are always my favourite shots. With wildlife on land, using a monopod to sneak the camera a bit closer can help to accomplish this. Underwater, the main problems I see are people not getting close enough, and not thinking about white balance. Shooting in raw makes the latter much easier to deal with. More generally, if you're interested in making some money from your photography, you're on the right site! I'd never tried to sell pictures before, and had no idea where to start. I’m actually using Picfair as the payment solution on my website. Picfair makes it ridiculously easy - and you set your own price, so there's no downside. Picfair also does a great job of promoting my photos, which I very much appreciate.