Exploring Waters with Anup J Kat
The pictures above are just some of the Amazing work Mr. Anup has been upto.
Anup is a licensed Diver and an amazing underwater photographer. He has been diving for the past 10 years and gives seminars on underwater photography. He has some really talented pieces of the same on his social media account. Definitely check them out here. You can also check out his other masterpieces right here.
Talking to Mr. Anup was one of the most insightful and amazing things I have done so far. He was extremely humble and has such an amazing personality. The interview was bout his passion for the ocean and photography.
1. Why are you so passionate towards Oceans?
I grew up in Bangalore, but we often visited Kerala in the vacations. So, for most part of it, oceans have played a major role in my childhood. I am a great swimmer and have been since I was a child. Most people would go to Mountains, but I never quite preferred it. Oceans have always been my go-to. Even while I am travelling, if I am in a coastal town one thing, I definitely do is look up for a dive school and visit the seas.
2. When was your first dive?
My first dive was 12th October 2010 when I did my open water dive.
3. What were you expecting while making your first dive?
Well, honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I made my first dive. But I remember the first thought that I had when I put on the gear and got under water, it was “I can breathe underwater” and that was in a swimming pool. In the Oceans however, it was very uncomfortable because my buoyancy was all over the place, I wasn’t able to stabilise myself and I saw these variety of fishes I knew nothing about. But after that in the next 6 to 10 dives I was able to overcome these problems and it has been a pleasure since then.
4. What inspired you to become an underwater photographer?
When I started photography, I wanted to learn something new every 2 years. I decided to choose underwater photography as my genre because it was something different and something most people weren’t doing. I am still learning underwater photography. Most of it is experimenting and seeing what reacts how. In fact, underwater photography takes a lot of patience. You are time bound and more over if a fish sees you it is generally more afraid of you than you are of it. You have a total of 45 mins in the ocean wherein you have to keep a track of all your activity, your equipment, your buoyancy and take pictures.
(You can check out some of his recent pictures here)
5. Which has been the best dive of your life and where was it?
With divers there is no such thing as best dive. Every dive teaches you something new, you learn about new behaviours, new fish etc. Every few hours the tides change and with it comes new things. There are divers who dive in the same spot for over 15 years and never get bored of it. I got my license from Andaman but every time I want to dive, I fly out to Maldives. Maldives has become my second home now. In India there are couple of really amazing dive spots in Goa and Netrani near Murudeshwar in Karnataka.
(Check out some really cool spots to dive in India here)
6. Oceans can be a little unpredictable sometimes and you can’t always be 100% prepared for all situations. Have you run into such situations?
You see a lot of modern films, don’t you? No, actually contrary to what is shown in films like Jaws and all, fish are actually more scared of humans. Any incidents of them coming forward and hurting a diver is really rare. At times if they see you, they don’t even approach you. This at times makes photographing them even harder. Like in the case of sharks, most sharks won’t interact with humans at all, the only way to capture them is if you don’t breathe, because the moment they see the air bubbles they swim further away from you. And so is the case with most other fish.
In terms of poison there are a lot of fish and corals that are very poisonous and can kill you instantly, but there are also equal number of them which are not fatal but hurt a lot or needs immediate medical attention. But to avoid any such accidents, all dives are No-Touch dives. While you are in water you are expected to not touch anything unless there is a strong current and you are hooking yourself to a rock to avoid getting carried away.
Which brings me to the only possible problem in the ocean that is the currents. Now, currents are something you can not fight. However, if strong currents are expected, the briefing on the boat covers it. If it is unexpected my only advice is, go with the flow, there is no point fighting it and you will find the boat waiting for you on the other end of the current.
7. One piece of information you wish someone would have given you before you made your first dive?
Be a good diver first then take your camera. The first time I dove with my camera was my 10th dive and I was all over the place. My buoyancy was all messed and so was my stabilization. I couldn’t take any decent pictures either. So, my only advice to others is also don’t take an equipment with you unless you have enough experience and you are ready to make that dive where you are able to keep everything in check. That, usually happens by the 30th or 40th dive.
8. Given a choice between Katrina Kaif from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Captain Nemo from 20,000 leagues under the sea and Jonas Taylor from Meg, who would you want to be?
None. I learnt this from my 6-year-old son Adam. I’d often give him these choices to choose from and he’d always confidently reply “ Dadda, Adam will be Adam” and that is something I have been incorporating in my life too, Anup will be Anup.
I hope you had as much fun reading this as much as I had interviewing Mr. Anup and know more about scuba diving.