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How did you get started in underwater photography?
I’ve always had a passion for nature, in particular the ocean. So when my father-in-law decided he was going to learn to dive, It wasn’t long after that I was booked in for my Open Water course.
What came first – diving or photography?
I’d always had an interest in photography from a topside perspective before I started to dive, so photography came first. Like most divers, I bought a small compact camera initially but progressed over time from a diver to more of an underwater photographer.
What’s in your underwater photography kitbag?
I have recently upgraded to a Nikon D850 camera. I use a Nauticam housing along with Inon 330 strobes. I use Nikon lenses for wide-angle and macro. I have all of the ports and arms etc, along with some other tools to make the system more flexible.
Favourite location for diving and underwater photography?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have dived in many exotic locations. However, living in the UK, I find the Red Sea hard to beat given that it’s a relatively short flight and offers world-class diving. I am particularly fond of diving in UK waters, especially the North of England and Scotland.
Most challenging dive?
Some of the diving in the Maldives and Indonesia was a challenge from a photographic perspective, as you can be faced with strong and unpredictable currents which can make photography very difficult.
Who are your diving inspirations?
Martin Edge – been there, seen it, done it, written the ‘book’, which has been massively helpful to me. Alex Mustard, as for me he’s the best there is. He constantly innovates, leads the way and is very generous in sharing his techniques for the benefit of others. Trevor Rees and Dan Bolt are two of the finest UK based underwater photographers and their work is always of a very high standard.
Which underwater locations or species are still on your photography wish list and why?
I’ve always wanted to dive Raja Ampat but there are still lots of places in the UK I want to explore, such as Scotland to see basking sharks and the Shetland Islands for its blue water and variety. I have two young children so likely to do most of my diving relatively local for the foreseeable future.
What advice do you wish you’d had as a novice underwater photographer?
Ensure you are competent as a diver first, try and dive with fellow photographers, get to know your camera and housing really well, learn the basic skills/techniques via books, courses or a photo workshop. Learn about light and composition and the role they play in underwater photography. Practice and enjoy it.
Hairiest moment when shooting underwater?
Being pushed off a wall while doing macro photography by a big Caribbean reef shark that didn’t want me there as a large group were hunting. Although it was a hairy moment, it was also fascinating to watch from a distance.
What is your most memorable dive and why?
It’s hard to choose one. Tigers and hammers in the Bahamas, mantas in Bali, whale sharks and cenotes in Mexico, seals and blue sharks the UK and spawning pike in flooded quarries amongst many others.
Spencer Burrows has a passion for photography, wildlife and scuba diving, and tries to spend his time involved in one or any combination of these interests. He has dived in many parts of the world including Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Mozambique, Bahamas, the Maldives, Cuba, Egypt and Mexico, amongst many parts of the UK. Spencer has been placed with winning images in multiple years of the Underwater Photographer of the Year competition.
See more of Spencer’s work via Instagram at @spencerbunderwaterphotography