It all started with my fascination for the ocean. A deep-blue expanse much larger than the land, yet barely explored, home to life far more mysterious, filled with animals as big as the blue whale and as old as the jellyfish, each as amazing as the other. Having been a wildlife photographer for 20 years, it was only a matter of time before I took on the marine world. I started diving in 2012 and since then, I have dived in 35 countries.
The pictures in this photo essay were taken during dives between 2014 and 2016. My experience photographing land animals definitely helped. No matter how dangerous they are, with marine species, just like their surface counterparts, it is all about understanding animal behaviour and marine ecology. In this case, however, you also have to be a good diver and swimmer, handling equipment and taking note of the current at all times—especially with larger fish, who swim mostly around the sweeping current. Additionally, you cannot be more than a few centimetres from your subject, lest you wish to go home with hazy frames.
The bull shark may be dangerous, but I was barely two inches away from this one. I stayed calm, leaned against a wall and kept clicking soundlessly as shark after shark swam by. For the mandarinfish, I waited till the evening for their splendid breeding activity. I sought the dugong for 10 days and came upon one on the last day just as I prepared to leave the water. Through all these instances, the ocean told me plenty of tales and offered me many exciting sights. Yet I, like the rest, have barely scratched its surface.