Juvenile sweetlips, Anilao, Philippines
Search online for this week’s featured underwater photographer, super-macro shooter Yatwai So, and you’ll see he keeps a low profile, but one thing you are sure to find are some of his impressive underwater images—inevitably featured among the winners of one prestigious underwater photography contest or another.
While Yatwai hails from Hong Kong, he dives almost exclusively in Southeast Asia at some of the region’s most well-known dive hotspots. He is a familiar face at resorts in the Philippines and Indonesia, locations famous for their diversity and world-class muck diving, and is a regular in Anilao, where he and his dive buddies specialize in macro photography and black-water diving.
Slow-paced critter hunting is perfectly suited to Yatwai’s style of photography, as many of the most popular macro subjects stay in the same area for days, allowing for repeat visits and plenty of time to experiment with new equipment and creative techniques. He has also been taking part in black-water night dives for years, before they became popular worldwide, and was one of the first photographers to enter these kinds of images into underwater photography competitions. His most recent victory was Gold in the toughly contested Macro Traditional category of this year’s DPG/Wetpixel Masters Underwater Imaging Competition.
Like many aspiring underwater shooters, Yatwai admits to studying the work of other pros and experimenting with similar techniques and ideas, and he clearly spends a lot of time thinking about the kind of images he wants to capture before entering the water. His portfolio is a great example of what can be achieved when you have a plan and the skills to execute it.
Diamond squid, Anilao, Philippines
Bubble shell sea slug, Anilao, Philippines
Peacock mantis shrimp, Anilao, Philippines
Jelly nose with jewelry, Anilao, Philippines
Larval glass eel, Anilao, Philippines
Needle shrimp double exposure, Anilao, Philippines
Hunting nudibranch, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Crinoid shrimp, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Porcelain crab in soft coral, Puerto Galera, Philippines
Tunicate amphipod, Anilao, Philippines
Porcelain crab, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
Snake blenny with parasite, Anilao, Philippines
An amphipod hitches a ride on a mollusc, Anilao, Philippines
Yatwai So and pooch