How did you get started in underwater photography?
I’d had an interest in photography for years, but doing what I do for a living means diving in the same places a lot of times. Photography is a way to keep my interest, challenge me and share what I do with others.
What came first – diving or photography?
Hard to say – maybe photography, they are both so long ago. I started diving at 14-years-old and would have had an old hand-me-down camera around then too.
What’s in your underwater photography kitbag?
Lights, lots of lights! Camera wise, I use a Sony A7R II and my current lens of choice is the 12-24mm F4 all boxed up in a Nauticam housing and dome port. I use two Inon z240, video lights, one Kinsman pro, two anchor lights, two Amazon specials, plus anything I can borrow on the day! I also use a Macbook Pro with Lightroom.
Favourite location for diving and underwater photography?
Jutland would have to be my most treasured diving memory – such history, great diving and my area of interest. In general though, I have been lucky to do so much good stuff. Truk Lagoon is an absolute playground with the camera and there are few places you’d tackle lighting up the inside of wrecks like there.
Most challenging dive?
I tend to keep things pretty simple and not worry too much.
Who are your diving inspirations?
Well, Dad got me started so he should get a mention! Leigh Bishop’s photography in the early 2000s was a big draw. The 990 magazine era covered a golden age of shipwreck exploration in the UK and that was a huge motivator.
Rich Stevenson and Scapa Scuba have played a huge part in my development as a diver, the likes of Bob on the Halton and Steve Wright on Seeker getting me to great dives. The recent hard work by Emily (Huskyan) and Steve and Barbara Mortimer to gain access to some of our protected monuments has been a real highlight.
Diving is like a spider web though, it is all so linked I could not list everything or everyone here. I love the BBC Natural History Unit documentaries too. Who doesn’t watch them on a winter’s night and not want to grab their fins, mask and camera?!
Which underwater locations or species are still on your photography wish list and why?
Too many! The list gets longer not shorter. A return to Norway is on the cards, the Baltic too, and I’d love to go to Bikini. Wreck photography is my thing but I am keen to learn more about photographing fish, mammals and seascapes. I don’t see macro on my horizon. While the technical challenge is interesting, I do not have the species knowledge required to be good at that.
What advice do you wish you’d had as a novice underwater photographer?
I wish I’d understood more about the cataloguing and Lightroom side of things, but I never had Lightroom so that would have been difficult! Certainly more computer knowledge would have been beneficial, but I didn’t have the money for a better computer as I’d spent it all on the camera.
It would be easy to say ‘if I’d known that…’ but I’ve enjoyed and still enjoy the journey. I just wish I could work out a way to do more of it!
Hairiest moment when shooting underwater?
Nope, I don’t think I’ve had any.
What is your most memorable dive and why?
HMS Defence, Jutland, June 2016. Eldorado! A great day, great people, great vis, a great time in my life. I just wish the pictures were better!
Kieran Hatton learned to dive in 1996 at the tender age of 14-years-old. Prior to visiting Scapa Flow for the first time, he took his first tech course at 16 and has never looked back.
For Kieran Hatton, diving is a passion and technical training is the necessary tool to access good, enjoyable, safe diving – at whatever depth and whatever equipment configuration is needed for the chosen dive.
Currently based in Plymouth, Kieran teaches both open circuit and rebreather nitrox/trimix. Kieran is well regarded within the dive industry for his knowledge, for his practicality and for his passion for thorough course training with each and every student.