The underwater world through the lens of an Agora Top 50 photographer
Agora offers its global platform as a microphone to creators all over the world to share their unique point of view and talent with the rest of Humanity.
Today we pass the microphone to Reiko Takahashi, an underwater and 5 time Agora Top 50 photographer. Watch her special Agora feature video now and read the exclusive interview below to discover how she got into this genre of photography and the techniques she uses.
Tell us your story. How did you get into the exciting world of underwater photography?
“I grew up in a small port town in Japan and would be watching the sea all day long. It felt natural to me to start diving because the sea was a part of my life. I was a semiconductor engineer, but during a long vacation I took I started traveling the world and photographing various marine life. I was completely absorbed in the world of the sea and in 2017 I quit my full-time job and started out as a photographer.”
#Water2020 Top 50 shot
How do you feel when you’re underwater in front of animals as big as whales?
“I have always been fascinated by big marine life as they are nothing like what we can encounter on land. I’ve seen sharks measuring over 2 meters, manta rays nearly 10 meters wide and humpback whales at 15 meters. Whilst the initial fear I felt upon being in their presence has faded with time and practise the feeling of complete awe has never left.”
#BlackAndWhite2020 Top 50 shot
What equipment do you need to be able to do these photo sessions?
“Breathing equipment, camera, lights. Diving gear is mandatory in airless water, most importantly are an air tank, an underwater mask, and a (BCD) vest that adjusts buoyancy.
As for the camera equipment, we put a camera in a waterproof case. In addition, I sometimes use underwater strobes to bring out the natural color of living things.”
#ClimateChange2020 Top 50 shot
Have you ever had a photo session that didn’t go as planned? Which one and why?
“Last year, I went to Port St. John’s in South Africa to shoot a sardine run. The target sardine did not meet for 10 days, but suddenly a rainbow appeared after the rain and a whale jumped. I was able to shoot a picture of that momentary event. The rainbow, clouds, blue sky and whales were a miracle collaboration. It was such an unexpected shoot but more than made up for the time we had to wait for the sardines.”
#Nature2020 Top 50 shot
How do you edit your photos in postproduction?
“The RAW data of underwater photographs often have a very strong blue color and animals and plants can loose their original colors. For this reason when I retouch the photos I try to reproduce and enhance the original colors of the animals and plants in my shots.”
Submission in #Red2020
Do you think the state of the underwater life is deteriorating? If so, how can you see it? What do you think humans can do to preserve life underwater?
“In Japan, the temperature of the sea water is rising and coral is dying due to global warming. It is heartbreaking to see. In the world’s oceans, I often see lots of plastic floating in the water if not sinking to the ocean floor. I have also witnessed various animals injured by plastic waste. I believe a big part of the solution is in using biodegradable materials and naturally derived products.”
#Wild2020 Top 50 shot
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