Photographer of the Month – Malcolm Browne

August 20th, 2014

This month we got in touch with a photography-inspired scuba diver, Malcolm Browne, who initially took up scuba diving to feed his passion for photography. Read about his adventures in the Maldives and check out some of his cool images.


malcolm browne hawksbill 600x398 Photographer of the Month   Malcolm Browne

Diver meets Turtle. Hawksbill turtle in the Maldives. Photo: Malcolm Browne

Interview with Maldives photographer Malcolm Browne

1. What made you get into underwater photography and photography in general?

Photography has always been a hobby of mine since I was a teenager, its rooted in desire to capture a scene, not just as a record but an attempt to covey the feeling it evokes at the time. Underwater photography is simply a natural extension from landscapes, it was my main reason for taking up diving.


2. How would you describe your style of photography and what you want to “say” with your photographs?

I prefer to take natural wide scenes and concentrate on framing the image I want at the point of exposure. I try not to spend lots of time on post production, avoiding the use of layers and software techniques to produce an image.


3. When did you first go to the Maldives and what attracted you to go there? Was photography a motivation or an afterthought?

The main attraction is the marine life, with or without a camera it’s a fantastic place to dive. For me diving without a camera is never the preferred option.


4. 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?

The big issue with underwater photography from my perspective is available light and colour balance.
In the main I use available light and adjust the white balance as I change depth during the dive. Using behind the lens filters from, and a camera that produces RAW images delivers good results with minimal processing.

I guess most people think of challenges and associate danger or risk, for me it’s always the environment and getting the right light. We lived in Japan for a few years dealing with high humidity or snow in the mountains and protecting your equipment on long treks was a big issue.


5. Where are your favourite spots, above and below the surface, to take photographs in the Maldives? What makes them ideal?
I don’t have a favourite, but do prefer to be below the surface.


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Giant Clam (Tridacna gigas). Photo: Malcolm Browne


6. What is it like to stay in the Maldives? Tell us about your average day when you’re there.
I’m quite an active person so my preference is to be up and in the water early, break lunch and back in the water. I would quite happily spend all my time in or under the sea if I could.


7. What is one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photographs in the Maldives? Do you have any tips for visitors trying to capture their moments in the region?

A better understanding of the seasons and their impact on the wildlife. If you are looking to photograph a particular aspect of marine life you have to plan well to be in the right place at the right time.


8. What technology/software/camera gear do you use to capture and process your stunning tropical & underwater scenes?

I currently use Sony NEX 5n and Sony lens in a 10bar housing, for post production I use Adobe Paint shop to fix any remaining colour balance issues. Any quality 4/3 camera that shoots raw images should get good results for most people.


9. If your camera was to get stuck in one mode or setting, what one would you hope it would be? Why?

Manual, simply because I started out with a manual camera and still use this approach when taking most of my photos.


10. What projects do you have in the pipeline that we can look forward to seeing?
Just back from a few days diving in Gozo, and I’m hoping to be in Oman before Christmas.


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Drift diving in the strong currents of the Maldives. Photo: Malcolm Browne


Malcolm Browne is based in the UK and over the last 30 years he has worked for several for Global IT companies around the world managing and negotiating contracts and has been lucky enough to record some of the more memorable moments in his life through photos. Check out more of his amazing photography on his Flickr account here.


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