Boxfish, Beacon Rock, Egypt
Our festive Photographer of the Week for 2019 is London-based dive instructor, expedition leader and underwater photography teacher Mario Vitalini. A well-known face among the British dive community, Mario is a regular speaker at UK dive shows and BSOUP photography meetings. He has been running workshops for the tour operator Scuba Travel since 2017, having previously been one of their most regular customers before working as a dive guide and instructor on one of their Red Sea liveaboards.
When not leading dive trips overseas, his company FishInFocus specializes in private courses closer to home and offers one-on-one tuition in a classroom and a private pool for photographers of all levels. He has been diving with a camera since the good ol’ Nikonos V days, and so has plenty of experience using many different systems, from small compact cameras to professional DSLR setups.
As you would expect from someone who teaches others and has been taking underwater photos for years, Mario has put together an impressive portfolio of images for us, featuring big animals, macro critters, and more. Those familiar with diving in the Red Sea will recognize that all of his wide-angle work was captured in Egypt at famous dive sites such as the wrecks of the Thistlegorm and the Giannis D. I particularly like how his colorful turtle image contrasts with the black-and-white wreck shots, and how the swimming moray eel stands out, as it shows a common creature from a unique and unusual perspective.
It’s not all blue water and sunken ships though. His selection also features some lovely macro images that demonstrate a number of different shooting techniques and styles. The squid, squirrelfish and a pucker-faced boxfish all look great framed against a dark black background, but his red crab on a yellow sea cucumber provides the perfect contrast of primary colors and is my personal favorite of the entire collection.
Green turtle, Marsa Shuna, Egypt
Moray, The Barge, Egypt
Crab on sea cucumber, Lembeh, Indonesia
Squirrelfish inside sponge, Lembeh, Indonesia
Diver at Abu Dabab Caves, Egypt
Giannis D wreck, Abu Nuhas, Egypt
Wreck of the SS Thistlegorm, Sha’ab Ali, Egypt
Spinner dolphins, Sataya, Egypt
Squid, Romblon, Philippines
Pikachu nudibranch, Romblon, Philippines
Backlit gobi, Lembeh, Indonesia
Peppered moray, The Barge, Egypt
Mario and buddy
If you need further inspiration for the coming new year and would like to see more of Mario’s work or join one of his upcoming trips, check out his website, www.fishinfocus.co.uk, or his page on the Scuba Travel website. You can also follow Mario on Facebook.