I believe in fate. Even though there is no way of proving it, everything is meant to be. I’ve been an underwater photographer for five years and have traveled the world looking for my next shot. It is all dependant on fate.
A few years ago, when I was just getting into photography, I took some underwater photography classes. The first thing my instructor told the class is, “No matter how much skill and experience you have, to take a truly great picture, fate has to bring you to the shot of a lifetime.” And after five years of experience, thirty published photos in respectable dive magazines, websites and blogs, and winning three amateur photography competitions, I have found that statement completely true. It does all depend on fate.
There has always been a sense of mystery and wonder that hit me when I thought of the watery abyss that covers 74% of the “big” blue planet we inhabit, and out of that we only know less than 1% of the ocean’s mysteries; that is why I have always been drawn to it.
There are three skills every underwater photographer needs: an eye of a hawk, the ability to set up a shot and the instinct to predict where you subject is heading—fish don’t pose for photos. But to be great you have to be able to tie all of these things together in a millisecond, and unless you’re the Flash—the super hero,–it all comes down whether or not fate is on your side.
A couple of years ago, I was diving off the coast of the Suleiman Islands when I took the picture of a lifetime. Even though I am young, I know that I will never EVER take a photo this life-changing again.
It was my first night dive of the trip, zero light pollution and the stars were brighter than the sun. As the black clouds rolled over the full yellow moon it cast an almost mystical shadow over the entire boat, as if there were a black spot light casts on a sea of blue. Looking up through forty feet of crystal clear water, I saw the same tapestry of the moon and stars. I decided this would make a great shot. In my mind as I was setting up the shot, I was making sure I got the moon, stars, and the texture of the water above in my shot. I was ready to take the picture when a red devil octopus, at the surface, came into my view finder and with all eight arms extended started to descend strait down onto me. I took as many pictures as I could until my bubbles scared it away.
The next morning, after I had finished my morning dive, I decided to import my photos onto my computer. Going through the photos I came across the pictures I had taken the night before, and there were three pictures I got of the octopus. The very last one of the set was breath taking. At the tips of all eight arms there was a star shinning through and his head covered most of the moon, but there was still and outline of it encompassing his head making him look like a god.
It was fate that set everything up for that picture and without fate the heavens or the octopus would not have been in line for the shot of a life time. It was fate that I was born, it was fate that I had a passion for the ocean, it was fate that I loved photography, and it was fate that I was able to take the picture. I believe that fate plays a role in everyone’s life. Some people would call it timing—but you can call it fate.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.