People’s Choice Winner, Guru Awards 2021

The Award celebrates the most popular image, voted by the Public. The winner is Craig Lambert with his image photographed in Chowder Bay, Sydney and captioned :  Juvenile Calamari Squid are attracted to my lights when I dive at night. This one was particularly curious.

Congratulations Craig!

1.          What was it that inspired you to take up nature photography?

My photographic journey began with a landscape photo workshop in New Zealand. I have always had a passion for nature, and this trip inspired me to collect experiences such as photographing Brown Bears in Russia and travelling to Bhutan. My other passion is the ocean. By combining SCUBA diving and photography, I am lucky to experience wildlife photography every week, even in a big city like Sydney.

2.          What is your aim when you’re taking images?

When taking images, my aim is to capture wildlife moments that not very many people get to see. Colourful and unusual creatures, both large and small catch my attention. After a dive, the discussions and research that takes place to understand the subject broadens my knowledge and excitement for my passion.

3.          How will winning the People’s Choice help you moving forward?

Winning the People’s Choice Award will help me to lift my profile as an Underwater Photographer. Hopefully, it will help me to share my images and passion for underwater photography with a broader audience, and maybe inspire others to give diving and underwater photography a go.

4.          What do you consider your own challenges when taking photos?

Lighting is always a challenge when photographing underwater. During a dive there are many factors to account for such as the changing depth, current, visibility, size and position of the subject, and therefore I am always experimenting with camera and strobe settings. No two dives are the same and I love the learnings I gain to improve my photography.

5.          Do you have any preferred underwater subject or concept?

Lately, underwater macro photography has been my main focus, pun intended. The thrill of locating something that is only just visible to the naked eye is addictive. I enjoy the challenge of capturing sharp images in a small depth of field, all while both the subject, and myself are moving in the flow of the ocean. The challenge keeps me coming back for more.

6.          What has been your best moment underwater so far?

My most memorable moment occurred on my 3rd trip to Tonga to swim with Humpback Whales. I was hovering about 10m under water as a heat run of 8 whales approached. I have a very clear memory (and lots of photos) of the lead female changing her course and slowing down to check me out. We had a brief moment of being eye to eye and sharing our mutual curiosity, before she sped away, chased by 7 hopeful males. Although it was only a few seconds, it is a moment I will never forget.

7.          What are you planning next?

A long-awaited trip to the Solomon Islands followed by a trip to New Guinea to experience diving in the Coral Triangle is booked. I am impatiently waiting until we are allowed to travel again. In the meantime, I will continue to dive and photograph the underwater wonders around Sydney, and further afield in Australia whenever I can.

You can see the announcement of the People’s Choice winner here:

Craig has won SCUBAPRO Jet Sport Fins, Zoom Mask and Spectra Dry Snorkel A copy of Darren Jew’s Underwater Australia, Little Urchin Reef Friendly Sunscreen, Finslap H2O Drink Bottle and Living Image A2 Fine Art Print of winning entry

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