Hereford – England 1955
CURRENT DIVING LIFE
I try to do 2 trips a year . As I do not like cold water ,I do not dive in Britain – though I know I am missing a lot of opportunities. Though the generaly poor viz is not suited to my type of photography
WHEN DID YOU START DIVING?
I first started diving in 1980 in Hawaii. I was in the music business and during a 4 month US tour we had some time off and a couple of us went to "The Islands". ?? The sound engineers room mate had a dive centre and school and suggested I come diving. (Having established that I liked swimming,snorkeling etc !!)
I was hooked and during a second break in the tour I went to Bermuda with the lighting designer. He had already done a few dives – so we arranged to go on a boat dive. ?? After a pool session to establish?? my skills, I was thrown on the boat. My second dive was to a wreck at 20 plus metres. I know this would be seriously frowned on now – but at the time it was great!?? I spent the eighties having an occasional dive when visiting a suitable resort but as I never had the time, I never got qualified.
WHERE DID YOU TRAIN AND WITH WHO?
When I visited the Maldives for the second time I was determined to do a PADI course. Unfortunately i got sick the night before leaving and by the time we got to the island I had bronchitis!!?? I had been diving all over the world and had abot 20 dives under my belt so — the next year I returned and qualified …….
The training was with a German school and was excellent. Very safety concious and thorough. I did far more than was mandatory for open water and many more dives than required. I am very grateful to the instructor – it helped me when I started diving "properly".
CURRENT DIVING QUALIFICATION?
I am not one to collect qualifications as I have no educational ones at all!?? I currently hold PADI?? advanced and TDI Nitrox.?? I am not particuarly impressed by pieces of paper – it is quality and experience that count. I do not think I have ever dived with what I would call a "bad" BSAC diver but with the PADI system it is very hit and miss. I have been in the water with "Dive Masters" who were clowns and novices who were naturals.?? I have some 250 plus dives and consider myself a safe and competent diver – I do not take risks – I have done that too often in other areas of my life and want to keep the percentages down !
ANY EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES?
My most memorable / impressive dives / trips were to Cocos Island off Costa Rica, where the diving is quite wild and rugged – not the usual pretty coral reef. The marine life is just as ‘wild’. The schools of hammerheads, ‘squadrons of huge eagle rays, giant marble rays, countless white tips, dolphins and even a humpback whale!!?? The other place is Sipadan for the sheer awesome feeling of swimming in the enormous schools of Barracuda & Jacks. Plus a turtle every time you turn and the weird humphead parrotfish.?? These places realy made a big impression on me – I was beaming and glowing after almost every dive.
ANY IRRATIONAL DIVING FEARS?
My diving fears are I guess the same as anybody – out of air, lost at sea, equipment failure etc – but I try not to think about them – I just get on with it. There is a saying that has become a bit of a mantra for me , through the music busines into photography and it applies very much in diving – "look after your equipment and your equipment will look after you".
DO YOU HAVE A REGULAR BUDDY?
My regular buddy is my girlfriend / partner Gabriella or "fish woman with one lung" as she has become. She uses so little air it’s amazing.
WHAT ABOUT REGULAR KIT?
My kit is a mish-mash of bits picked up over the years and frankly I should update my suit, fins, & boots as they are "well worn" . I have a SeaQuest BC,Tusa mask and Mares regulator. I use an Aladin Nitrox computer which is wonderful.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING U/W PHOTOGRAPHY?
I started U/W photography quite recently (about 6 years ago) as I wanted to dive to enjoy myself and leave the day job behind. I was also quite intimidated by all the rigs and housings etc people seemed to have on boats. As a "pro" there was also some pride involved and if I was going to do it ,I had to do it well.?? That’s when I decided on black and white. It was realy just an extension of my commercial work which is often in B&W with natural light and a spontaneous feel. I also like graphic shapes in my work.
HOW DID YOU START DOING U/W PHOTOGRAPHY?
I bought a standard Nikonos V at duty free in Dubai on the way to the Maldives and with a bag of free B&W film from Fuji, I started to learn.?? It was a very different learning curve for me as I had to re think what I normaly do on land. The rangefinder system , focus limitations, no polaroid or assistants!!?? At least there is no art director or client pressurising me……
YOUR PRINTS ARE QUITE UNIQUE – DID THAT COME FROM EXPERIENCE OR EXPERIMENTATION?
I am still learning and though in many ways B&W is easier because I do not have to worry about lighting, it has many disciplines to adhere to.?? Particuarly the "camouflage" effect of marine creatures and background.?? The image itself has to be quite strong as you cannot rely on the usual appeal of bright strong colours normaly associated with underwater photos.?? I have spent a lot of time experimenting with papers / toners etc. So that depending on the negative and or subject – I can choose the effect I think will work best.
FINALLY, ANY ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE U/W PHOTOGRAPHERS?
I guess my advice is simple – keep things simple , don’t go for the obvious shots, use your eyes to see not just look.?? The eye and the imagination makes the photo not the equipment.
Visit Peter’s website at http://www.peterhince.com or Ocean Images at http://oceanimages-uk.com