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

My latest experience as the 2019 Australasian Rolex Scholar has taken me to the remote waters of Papua New Guinea onboard the MV Oceania. We traveled from Kimbe Bay to the Witu Islands and Fathers Reef, exploring some of the best underwater scenery Papua New Guinea has to offer. I learned so much about underwater photography and the culture of Papua New Guinea on this trip.

 This experience provided a plethora of underwater photography opportunities. I was able to use the full range of features my set up from Reef Photo and Video has to offer from the smallest macro photos of nudibranchs to large wide-angle photos of barracouta schools and sharks.


One of my favorite things to photograph on the reefs of PNG was the enormous barrel sponges. They provided great practice for lighting and exposure and I enjoyed taking the time to work with a subject that did not swim away from me.


Another great challenge was night diving. This was my first time taking my underwater set up on a night dive. I had great fun finding nudibranchs and clownfish and managed to get a great picture of a cuttlefish.


Diving with my camera on this trip encouraged me to see the reef through a more creative lens. I enjoyed playing with composition and trying to look at photo subjects in new ways. I learned that my camera can produce some great macro photos and the Compact Macro Converter-1 was a great addition to the kit.


One of my favorite photos from the trip was a photo of a surgeonfish that I was able to take on a night dive. I loved working with a black background and I can’t wait to take the camera skills from this trip forwards onto my next adventure.