3. UNDER WATER
The generally accepted convention is that while photographers are busy with a subject, it is theirs until they have finished with it. It is not done to intrude, either to take a peek at what they have in their sights or to crack off a quick snap on your point-and-shoot.
However, photographers need to be considerate of others who might want to see the animal too, particularly if it is something unusual.
Individual rinse tanks on the Damai 1 – now that’s a good idea
Good etiquette dictates that a diver without a camera has just as much right as a photographer to see, watch and examine an animal.
If divers want to savour the moment and burn the image of a rare creature into their brains rather than onto a digital card, that is their choice. So photographers should take their pictures promptly, then leave.
If they want to come back to the animal, they can join the holding pattern and wait until everyone else is done.
When they see photographers in action, other divers should steer clear and be aware of how their positioning in the water might affect the shot the photographer is striving so hard to perfect.
Passing carelessly upcurrent of a photographer can cause the debris of your passage to drift into the viewfinder. Swimming below a photographer working on a reef wall and exhaling will create a snowstorm of expanding and exploding bubbles all over a meticulously framed backdrop.
In the panel are some suggestions for photographers and their buddies, designed to ensure that they both get the most out of a dive. Not all photographer/buddy relationships work well. Like every good relationship, it comes down to empathy, mutually compatible priorities and shared objectives.
You may have noticed that I have not dealt with the issue of two photographers diving as a buddy-team. The main reason I have avoided this is because I believe it to be an impossible thing.
Photography is such an individual, single-minded pursuit that the likelihood of two photographers being able to stay together and work as a team while dedicating themselves to their respective goals is so remote that to try to suggest rules of etiquette would be futile.