Joanna Smart's July Photo Journal: An Our World Underwater Rolex Scholar Journey

After spending time in warmer waters, it was time to head back to Southern Australia where I joined Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions on a trip to the Neptune Islands in South Australia. Rodney Fox expeditions are leaders in great white shark diving and research. Documenting the lives of these incredible apex predators was an incredible experience and I was incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to see white sharks up close.


Part of Rodney Fox Expedition’s research involves photo identification of white sharks. They have been able to contribute information on population dynamics, behavior and migration from photographing these sharks over several years. I was able to use my Panasonic GX-9 and my Nauticam NA-GX9 housing to photograph 4 individual sharks on the trip. I was lucky to have the Wet Wide Lens-1, as the sharks were so big it was hard to get them all in the shot! We also visited the Australian fur seal colony at Hopkins Island. These animals were a delight to photograph. Their playful and inquisitive nature made for some great photographs and I really enjoyed swimming with them.


After the great whites, I headed to Sydney where I participated in an underwater videography course with Down Under Aquatic Imaging. This course really helped me learn the video features of my set-up from Reef Photo and Video. I can’t wait to take the camera out on more dives to practice my videography skills.


After this, I participated in a Global Underwater Explorers Fundamentals course where I used cameras in a whole new way. The instructors filmed us underwater during the course. We later reviewed the footage to work on our trim, buoyancy, and skills. This was fantastic for diving skills and taught me how to use my camera for a completely new purpose!