Born with a close relation to water, professional underwater photographer Martin Strmiska was snorkelling at the water’s surface even before he could swim. With a curiosity to explore further and deeper the underwater world which snorkelling only let him have a glimpse of, Strmiska took up scuba diving in 1995.
It was a dive in the Red Sea that inspired him to grab an underwater camera, a Sea & Sea Motor Marine II, which was to be his partner for several years until its eventual demise. During this time, Strmiska explored the reefs of Yemen, Sudan, and Egypt through the viewfinder.
Capturing the undersea world in many ways that had not been fully witnessed before brought Strmiska various photography awards and had him featured on the front pages of international dive magazines. His exploration of this Ocean Planet, from Iceland to Egypt, saw a pile of fantastic and unique images stack up. As one of Europe’s most proactive and talented underwater photographers, Strmiska is this week’s UW360 featured photographer, and Editor Oliver Jarvis caught up with the man to discuss his life and career:
What made you want to become an underwater photographer?
A desire to save some memories from the dives.
Your first underwater shot?
A very bad picture of a diver and backscatter! I point out the backscatter because it seemed to be a dominant subject of that image.
The story behind your most memorable underwater shot?
On the sailfish run in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, I remember how much exhausting swimming I had to do to keep up with the baitball of sardines. I could hardly catch my breath. But then the baitball slowed down and the big show began. For a very short moment I was the only one who kept up with the sardines. Suddenly, the action got so intense that I set the camera for the split shot and swam straight into the middle. With the continuous shutter pressed while holding the camera in the half/half position, I took a handful of images in rough water. One of them turned out nice.
Where is your favourite dive destination?
Cocos Island for big fish and Komodo as a general diving destination.
The site you’d most like to dive, but never have?
The weirdest thing you’ve seen underwater?
What camera equipment are you currently using?
Nikon D800, Nikon D7100, and Subal housings.
What is the highlight of your career?
Being a house photographer for German magazine Unterwasser.
…And the low point?
I still cannot live solely from underwater photography.
Have you any advice that you’d like to give aspiring underwater photographers?
Become a good diver with a feel for water first.
Is there any particular shot that you still want to get?