Kicking off a new series that aims to improve and develop your underwater photography skills, our resident photo guru Paul ‘Duxy’ Duxfield introduces himself and lays out some of his aims over the coming months
Hello everybody, Duxy here. Before I introduce myself properly and tell you a little about me and what I’m going to be writing about, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Editor Mark Evans for inviting me onboard as a regular columnist for Scuba Diver.
I took about as long as it takes to roll off a RIB to say ‘yes’ to being in at the beginning of an exciting new diving independent magazine.
Taking and making pictures underwater, both the still and moving kind, has grown into a healthy and mature sector of our hobby, and I’m going to be looking at how you, too, can get to grips with documenting your underwater adventures for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, or even if you’re old-fashioned like me and put your pictures up on the wall at home for showing off to the neighbours.
I got into diving completely by accident in the early 1990s. I’d been working in photography professionally since leaving school, and by a bunch of lucky events I ended up helping make an underwater movie with a fellow northeasterner.
Part of my payback for this was learning to dive out in Sharm, and from then on I assisted in a variety of filming projects, gaining in experience both in diving and underwater photography. Although I had amassed over 500 dives at this stage, I was still only an Advanced Open Water Diver, so in 1997 – after helping to make a trailer for a Granada TV programme – I used the fee from that to complete my dive training up to Divemaster. I decided to stick around in Sharm at the pointy end of dive tourism working as a dive guide/videographer until the early Noughties.
Moving back to the UK, we settled in London, and I started working for a major underwater photographic retailer, as digital technology became within affordable reach of most. I was very lucky to be involved with the tech from early on, learning as I went.
I’ve always been a believer in moving and keeping abreast of the times, and sharing that knowledge with others, and so combining this with my previous skills as a dive guide, it was the logical step for me to start running underwater photography themed trips.
I did both jobs for a while, but something had to give and the trips were becoming popular, so I made the decision to go full time with them and, in the last five years, I have conducted over 40 escorted trips, to the Red Sea and much further worldwide.
Everyday’s a schoolday
Each trip I do, I learn something new, which has allowed me to grow and develop my skills as an underwater photographer, so with this column I’m going to be sharing what I have learnt with you guys.
Nothing will be off-limits. GoPros, DSLRs, Mirrorless cameras and even phones will be looked at. However, I would like to emphasise that it’s less about the kit and more about how you can get the best from what you’ve got, so techniques that can be used across all platforms will be favoured over high-end equipment skills.
I fully realise that not everybody has access to a high-end Mirrorless or DSLR camera with twin strobes, so hopefully even when I look at the more-specialised corners of underwater photography, I will look at ways that those with more-modest equipment can have a go and get great results too.
I shoot with most types of equipment, both video and stills, and do my best to keep up to date with the latest tech, so I will also do the occasional real-world kit review as well.
Okay, that’s enough about me and what I am aiming to do. Next month I will be kicking things off by looking at quick and easy ways to put a bit of ‘oomph’ into your compositional skills. See you all very soon.
Since returning from Egypt working as a guide in the early noughties, Duxy has been at the forefront of underwater photography technology and how it has changed the way we all now take underwater photographs.
Working as Sales Manager for the two leading underwater photography retailers, and more lately as the Photography Travel Specialist for a multi-award-winning dive travel agent, his light-hearted take on the diving world and underwater photography has resulted in him being a regular speaker at the Dive Shows and at clubs up and down the country, sharing his knowledge and experience with all levels and abilities of underwater photographer.
He likes nothing better than to get a beginner started on the route to rewarding pictures, and approaches the subject with an inclusive, rather than exclusive, manner.
He now has more than 40 escorted trips under his belt and is continuing to develop new ways to pass on the knowledge and share the love.
He can be found on Instagram and Twitter @takeiteasyduxy and Facebook as Take iT Easy.
Duxy will be conducting escorted trips for all comers of all abilities, both in the Red Sea and worldwide and is currently planning his trips for the latter-half of 2017 and into 2018 – watch this space for further details.
Photograph by Nick More