Maldives Photographer of the Month – Jacob Nielsen

May 26th, 2014

Photography is one of those things that, from time to time, you can get it right if you take enough shots. If you go back to the Maldives every year, you are bound to come back with a few great photographs. Underwater photography, however, has its own set of tricks and challenges.

The sign of a talented photographer is one who can get it right from the beginning, just like our photographer of the month! We were impressed by Jacob’s photos initially, and after finding out that he had visited the Maldives only once, we were even more impressed by his collection.


tchami wreck 600x400 Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen

Capturing the mystery and intrigue of a Maldives wreck. Photo: Jacob Nielsen

Jacob has been selected as our photographer of the month and you can read the exclusive interview with his Maldives’ experience below:
1. Q: What made you get into underwater photography and photography in general?
A: I love to travel, and as for most people that involves taking pictures to preserve the memories. That grew into a love for photography, and especially underwater photography.

2. Q: How would you describe your style of photography?
A: I am a hobby photographer, so I take pictures of places and events I go to, but I definitely prefer nature and travel photography.

3. Q: When did you first go to the Maldives and what attracted you to go there? Was photography a motivation or an afterthought?
A: I went for the first time in October 2013. I have wanted to go ever since I was a kid, after a friend of the family showed me pictures and video from diving in the Maldives. The sole purpose of the trip was to go diving, and I always bring a camera when diving.

tchami whale shark 600x400 Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen

Front view of the much-loved Maldives whale shark. Photo: Jacob Nielsen

4. Q: What are some of the challenges of underwater photography and how do you overcome them? What are some of the most challenging things you have photographed?
A: For about 4-5 years, I have been doing underwater photography with a simple compact camera, with no external lighting other than the sun, but last year I “graduated” to a DSLR setup with external lighting. I’ve been using a DLSR for years above the water, but taking it under the water and adding external lighting is hard – no matter how many books or articles you’ve read on the subject. A lot of the shots will be bad, either because of technical problems or because the marine life just doesn’t care about staying still icon wink Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen However, practice makes perfect, and it’s fun to see how you constantly improve.

Macro subjects are definitely the hardest to shoot. Taking a picture of a Manta Ray or a Whale shark is easy – of course, the picture is not automatically great, but it’s hard to miss the subject in the viewfinder. Small critters hiding in corals, or just being so small that they’re hard to see with the naked eye, that’s really hard though – especially when you add elements such as currents and poor visibility.

tchami anemone 600x400 Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen

Getting up close and personal. Photo: Jacob Nielsen

5. Q: Where are your favourite spots, above and below the surface, to take photographs in the Maldives? What makes them ideal?
A: I’ve only ever been to the Maldives once, but I had an amazing night dive with Manta Rays near Fesdu Island. Other than that I had many fantastic dives, seeing e.g. rays, turtles, sharks and schools of fishes, owing to the nutrient rich waters caused by the (sometimes strong) currents.

6. Q: What equipment do you use to capture your stunning tropical scenes?
A: Canon 7D in a Hugyfot housing with an Inon Z-240 strobe.

tchami manta night 600x400 Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen

Night manta. Photo: Jacob Nielsen

7. Q: What is it like to stay in the Maldives? Tell us about your average day when you’re there.
A: I didn’t have the chance to live on any of the islands, instead I stayed on a liveaboard; MV Virgo. On a typical day, we were woken up, served a light breakfast, followed by dive #1, then a breakfast followed by a few hours to relax, and then dive #2, lunch, then some hours to relax and then dive #3 after which dinner was served.

8. Q: What islands, dive spots and/or attractions do you highly recommend in the Maldives?
A: Diving, diving and more diving.

9. Q: Do you have any tips for visitors who are try to capture their moments on camera in the Maldives?
A: Make sure to bring extra memory cards!

10. Q: What projects (photography or Maldives related) do you have in the pipeline that we can look forward to seeing?
A: Nothing set in stone yet, but most likely I’ll be going to Australia and hopefully see some big white sharks.

tchami 300x300 Maldives Photographer of the Month   Jacob Nielsen

Jacob Nielsen, Amateur photographer

Thanks to Jacob for taking the time to answer our questions, and also for sharing his photography with the world. You can find more of his photography here on his photostream on Flickr.

Jacob went diving with MV Virgo, one of boats in the constellation fleet. Recently, we’re excited to announce that the fleet was awarded Best liveaboard brand in Maldives in the Maldives Boating Awards 2014. Read more on that Maldives liveboard news.

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