David Keep, Underwater Photography, 6th March 2024

Not many people would want to spend time swimming in shark infested waters but that is exactly what this week’s speaker, David Keep, does on a regular basis. David is an accomplished photographer and scuba diver who is well known for his underwater images. He not only spends time in the water with sharks but he uses bait to attract them in order to photograph them. Despite having spent many hours in the water with sharks David has never been attacked and only on one dive, when the sharks were approaching him from behind, did he feel at all nervous. David describes sharks as his most reliable subject, they are guaranteed to turn up when baited, and he showed many wonderful images of them.

This is the second time that David has given a presentation to the club on his underwater photography and on this occasion he explained how he achieved many of his shots. He did this through the medium of underwater videos. As well as covering the techniques he uses to attract and photograph sharks his videos included footage of other dives including ones to photograph shoals of fish, sea lions and underwater caverns.

Sea lions are another favourite subject of David’s as they are very playful. Indeed, this video included a section showing several playing with a stick. He said that they also wanted to play with his diving equipment including his fins, mask and hoses. He described sea lions as naturally intelligent and inquisitive animals and said that his time with them had been the most enjoyable week ‘s dive he had ever experienced.

The cavern dive in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico was very different.  Here it was essential to have an experienced guide as diving underground can be very dangerous. There is no light in the caverns and you have to be extremely careful not to disturb the sediment on the floor of the caves as this would reduce the visibility to zero.

In some places there were openings up to the surface and here shafts of light penetrated the water. David commented that overall it was a very eerie experience.

David is also a sports and portrait photographer but his favourite genre is underwater. Generally he dives to a depth of less than 15 metres as below this level there is very little light. As it is he takes lights with him to illuminate his subjects.  A typical dive lasts around an hour. His videos were a fascinating insight into how he achieves his images, demonstrating how he sets about achieving great compositions.

Julie Walker