It can be wonderful and exciting to venture to exotic climes in search of images. Having said that, I’m a firm believer that the best images are often made on home turf - or home waters, for us underwater photographers. When we really know an area and understand the movements of its wildlife across the seasons, we can capture the essence of a place and position ourselves to see and record the local fauna at its best.
I count myself lucky to have the UK as my local playground, as our green, and sometimes blue, waters are brim-full of life, interest, and color. We’re also rather underrated as an underwater photography destination. It’s true that the conditions can be unpredictable and the visibility doesn’t always go to plan, but this just enhances the appeal for me in many ways. Bad viz can be battled with an appropriate lens choice, backscatter from our particle-rich seas must be skilfully addressed with careful lighting choices. But when it all comes together and our stunning, jam-packed reef walls or echoing blue offshore waters are highlighted by 30-40m viz, the thrill of a beautiful UK day is hard to match.
The stars of the UK show for the last few years have been blue sharks, as canny skippers have realized they can be reliably seen in Southern UK waters from June to October, often in crystal clear visibility. The reefs of the South coast are particularly colorful but I also have a soft spot for colder Scottish reefs which host a different cast of characters. Playful grey seals attract divers to colonies in Lundy, the Scilly Isles, and the Farne Islands. Inshore we have lakes, rivers, and quarries and all around the coast, we have countless wrecks showcasing our maritime history over the centuries. The photographic potential is everywhere.
To see more of Kirsty’s stunning images, please see her website.