Instagramers who destroy the seabed ?
Thousands of them may be tens of thousands taking looking for a place to make their most beautiful selfies. Or to take that unique underwater photography that will make them have the most likes on Instagram, “I love” on Facebook or Twitter.
If the deliberately provocative title of this post is assumed, it remains a reality.
Many of us forget the basic rules of respect for the environment when diving
All around the world
Everywhere in all the seas and oceans of the globe, photo enthusiasts go in search of the exceptional shot that sometimes destroys the seabed.
What attitude to adopt when taking underwater photography ?
Of course, diving enthusiasts know that it happens, by accident or distraction, to make a bad fins movement. But also to unintentionally hit a coral, to disturb a turtle that was quiet to rest.
I am far from being a “don’t touch anything” fanatic. In addition, I have inadvertently come into contact with a fish as in this horrible experience. Yet, even if I am convinced of it, I will not judge in the public arena the person who has touched a marine animal or committed any other fault.
As I explained in the article “touching marine animals, an unforgivable act“, I much prefer education to aggression.
However, I am sometimes really annoyed by our underwater behaviour when it comes to making the most beautiful image when diving. Moving elements, chasing marine animals, attacking them for a long time with our lamps, landing on corals, catching trunk fish to make them swell.
Like this time when our dive guide explained to us that seahorses had fragile eyes and feared the light. And that we could photograph them without dazzling them or using our flashes. As soon as he showed us the annimal, the flashes and other intense lights burst out. Leaving these two poor seahorses blind for several minutes.
Or that other time when a diver in a hurry to get her picture would start at the beginning of the dive chasing sharks or other beautiful creatures (those behind saw nothing but she had many photos…. of which she probably did nothing).
There are so many cases where for a beautiful image for Facebook or Instagram, divers forget the respect for marine animals.
What can we do to limit the damage sometimes caused by our passion for underwater photography?
- Give ourselves a limit of 1 underwater photography per minute: this will force us to trigger only when necessary.
- Start by observing and being forgotten to let the animals come to you.
- Take your time.
- Work on your stabilization.
- Watch where you put your fins: a sandy bottom is okay but not corals.
- Do not stay for (too) long minutes with our super powerful headlights pointed at an animal unable to escape.
- Avoid giving credit and/or sharing images that have been made without respect for marine animals.
- Enjoy the present time and its diving
- … other ideas…
Finally, we can realize that Instagram, Facebook and other social networks are not the center of the world or a reflection of our personality.
Our identity, “who we are” does not depend on the number of likes on our profiles, so the race for “I like” or likes should never be harmful to nature.
How far would you go to take the most beautiful picture? Tell us in a comment below
And above all, don’t forget to be happy