The second part of Divehappy’s interview with Diving The World authors Beth and Shaun Tierney. Read Part One if you want to start at the beginning
Is there one particular place that is your all time favourite?
Indonesia, and, well, Indonesia. Because the country is huge and there is such a variety of diving and dive styles. But that’s a very personal thing.
How do the reports in the book differ from those that can be found on seafocus.com?
SeaFocus was built as an image showcase really, to show anyone who was interested what we had seen. The dive reports are short and sharp and pretty much personal opinion. The book was written to be as objective as possible and we made our personal opinions pretty clear. There were places included in the book that we liked less, but we included them as we know others have loved them. We all have different tastes, after all.
How will you keep the book’s info updated?
We keep our ears to the ground on changes and when we get to second edition we will have to do some serious research and maybe go back to some. Now there’s a thought!
When was your last dive in Asia and when’s the next one scheduled?
Two days after Diving the World was launched we headed out to Bali for a holiday. Unfortunately, I had slipped and cracked a couple of ribs a few weeks previously so only managed a few dives. We did – naturally – revisit the Tulamben wreck, one of our all time faves. Next we are heading back to Christmas Island as we were fascinated by the island as a whole and next Spring we have been invited to visit a completely new dive destination. Watch this space!
What’s your favourite place to dive in Asia?
Aaah, hard to choose a single place…. In Indonesia, Lembeh and Irian Jaya, but Kapalai off Borneo is snapping at the heels of that statement. Then if you had asked what our most favourite single dive was, we’d mention Richelieu Rock as it’s where we saw whaleshark after whaleshark. But as a whole, Asia is our favourite part of the world.
What’s Shaun’s favourite place to photograph in Asia?
When I asked, not knowing what I just said, he pretty much repeated what’s above along with “can I mention Papua New Guinea?” It’s really in the Pacific but we loved all our time there, too.
The photos in DTW are uniformly stunning – what gear set up does Shaun use?
Thanks for the compliment! 99% of the underwater images were taken on Fuji Film with Nikon F90s in Sea & Sea housings with either Ikelite 50s or Sea & Sea YS90 strobes. There are a couple of shots from a trusty old Nikonos V. A lot of the land images were taken with our baby digital Nikon Coolpix 5200) which even earned it’s keep as a back-up with a couple of underwater images when the film ran out.
Can Shaun recommend a good starter kit for underwater photography beginners who don’t want to invest thousands in an SLR and strobes etc?
He has always been a Nikon person, and bought the Nikon Coolpix 5200 specifically for the book as a “back up – happy snapping – always keep in your pocket (land or BC)” camera. It has really proved its worth but the little Nikon underwater housing isn’t as sophisticated as some. There are so many on the market these days and they’re all pretty good. He usually suggests that people get a little housing for whatever digital they already have, get the feel of that and then move up the scale depending on what they want to get out of it. But everyone needs to be aware that the better your equipment, the better chances of getting decent shots.
Does an Underwater Photography set-up differ from region to region in the world, or would you use the same gear everywhere?
The same kit goes everywhere. There’s the two housed Nikons, 4 strobes, 5 lenses and the baby-digi in her housing.
I’m sure many people would like your jobs…
It always sounds like everyone’s dream job, but believe me, for DTW we slogged over the keyboard and light box 24/7 for over a year. Yes, it was worth it but people always think we are just off on another holiday and have no idea what all this involves. The magazine work is a little less pressured because they are short term and based on opinion, while a book has a long shelf life and has to be accurate and non-libelous and still be exciting!
Can you give a sense of what a typical year’s schedule is like for you both? How do you finance these amazing trips? Is it non stop travelling? How far in advance do you have your trips mapped out?
Our more typical years have been 2 or 3 long hauls to places where we have article commissions. This helps us offset the costs but in all honestly, it never pays for it all. This is not a business to make a million! Putting the book together felt like non-stop travelling, certainly our cat has yet to forgive us for our extended absences. Outside of DTW, I nearly always have one trip in planning even as we leave for the current one as I just have to know there is always something to look forward to. The sense of excitement and anticipation is as strong as it ever was!
Thanks to Beth and Shaun for their time answering all my questions, and here’s hoping Diving The World remains in print for many years to come.