Photographer Spotlight - Oscar Montferrer
I am excited to spotlight this incredible photographer from Catalonia, Spain - Oscar Montferrer. I should note that english is not his primary language but I did not want to change a thing about his responses as I find them beautifully written and inspiring as is!
As many other people around the world, I’m one of those Cousteau’s children that learnt to love the underwater world –the silent world, in his words- through his TV shows while joining him and his team –remotely- through a TV screen while they lived those wonderful adventures around the seas of the world. So, with that emotional and childish but valuable base and being born in a country, Catalonia, bathed by the west Mediterranean waters, it was only a matter of time for me to become a scuba diver.
Once I felt confident enough about my skills –it’s always important to get out of the water in one piece if you want to come back to it to enjoy it!- I believed I could put together two of my passions: the scuba diving and the photography… Those times when you went underwater with a roll of slides that only allowed you 36 shots… They were fun, those days, but I think nobody misses them since the digital photography made its debut… Fortunately!
Years have passed but scuba diving and underwater photography are still my first option when it comes to enjoy a good time… Well, the first and the second and the third and maybe even until the tenth option… So for me, it’s a pleasure to go underwater with my faithful companions: a Nikon D200 –a couple of them, in fact-; some Sea&Sea strobe lights -two for the macro shots and two for the wide angle ones- and a couple of Saga magnifying lens –one that gives a +10 and another one that gives a +15, but this one is a little mischievous and it demands a certain amount of well humoured patience…
If I have to make a confession about my favourite subjects when it comes to taking pictures, I have to say that I’m something of a nudibranch addict… I do not hold any grudges against the big guys –sharks, manta rays, turtles…- but, if you catch my drift, once you have seen them a few times… Instead, there are about 3.000 different species of nudibranchs all over the seas so, clearly, there’s a lot more of an interest there…
Not only that: nudibranchs, tagged frequently as the jewels of the sea, present themselves with a variety of sizes, colours and shapes that makes them as valuable as rare stamps to a dedicated stamp collector… There’s a lot of nudiaddicts around the world –you just have to check the social media- but, fortunately, the addiction is a very sane one. If not, that’s what I like to think…
Once said that, a good thing about this little guys –another one!– is that you can find them everywhere. So there’s not an excuse to not go to find them… The Mediterranean Sea is a gentle enough sea and you can scuba dive all the year round. It makes it my number one hunting ground. But there are other grasses green enough for the nudimaniacs… For me, the northern coast of the Bali Island, some other places in Indonesia like the Lembeh Strait and almost every island in the Philippines are perfect choices when there’s a travel opportunity… That general area benefits itself of the richnesses from the Indic and the Pacific oceans so you can simply never get enough of it… Not to tell that the water temperature there is a very powerful magnet!
So, here –at the Mediterranean- or there –the Indopacific area-, capturing nudibranchs with the camera has become something more than a hobby although there’s still a lot of space for improvement… One of the first things I learnt about underwater photography comes from the grandmaster David Doubilet. The phrase “the name of the game is to fill the frame” comes from him… I remember it when it comes to put my work into action in the social media. That and a certain admiration for some ancient painters guide me when it comes to editing the pictures –again: thanks to the gods for the digital technology.
And when the job is done, my goal when it comes to the presence of my pictures in the social media is a bit of a naïf thing: every creature in the sea, and the seas themselves, is in need of urgent attention and care. We all know that we, humans, are not doing our best in taking care of our planet. So, maybe, knowing and admiring the nudibranchs is a way of becoming aware of their needs: a sane habitat, a respectful way of dealing with the seas and their inhabitants… They sure deserve it!
Below are more of Oscar's photos. To see more - follow him at @oscarmontferrer