29° C water temperature. At last! I exchange the FFP2 mask for a scuba mask and snorkel and enter a world that, for me, exists as a parallel world: the underwater world.
Immediately the colourful hustle and bustle has me hooked. It’s a kind of sensory overload. There are fish wherever I look. Everything is in motion – sometimes fast, sometimes slow. I hardly know where to look. The soundscape is also incredible; there is no silence, at least not above the coral reefs. It’s rather loud here, everything is being nibbled at. Eventually, I try to focus on the different fish and swim after them in pursuit. Then I find one of my favourites: the mandarin fish. It’s so small, barely seven centimetres long, with magnificent colours and splendid markings.
I scan its details, seeking out the eye camouflaged by its markings. I am totally focused on the little wonder. This actually reminds me of my job as a final artworker and image editor.
Discovering the mandarin fish in a setting brimming with vibrant colours and movement surprises me every time. Or does it? I ask myself why I always manage to find it. Is it my love for colours, my keen sense of detail? I like to observe, and perhaps I see more than others because of that.
I love to improve, optimise and perfect images and photos, to give them a natural look and to make their colours shine again. My observational skills and knack for memorising the colours in nature, in my surroundings or even under water help me in this role. It’s a lot of work, actually. The photo quality oftentimes suffers from the rush under which they are taken. People take far too little time to pay attention to details – the right light, the right position etc. – and nowadays only use their mobile phones. Even a DSLR camera doesn’t take perfect photos by itself. A common misconception: A more expensive camera does not result in better pictures. In fact, taking the picture is only half the battle for a successful and perfect image – it’s the finishing touches that bring out the best in an image.
I wonder whether we’ve lost the sense of quality in our fast-paced, digital world. We swipe and scroll through an overwhelming amount of content in digital media, at high speed. Taking your time, pausing for a moment to enjoy a picture – that no longer seems to be important. Under water, when diving, it’s the other way around. Again, my gaze wanders to the exuberant hustle and bustle under the sea, the aforementioned sensory overload. Just like in real life, really.
A whitetip reef shark snaps me out of my thoughts with its sudden appearance. But it’s gone before I can reach for my underwater camera.
Recently we had a challenging task with a big client in Düsseldorf where we needed to take photos of the whole company building with a 360° camera. Those were required for a digital 360° showroom for the client’s new website. We only had one day, including the flight there and back. The lighting situation was difficult, the structural conditions made it impossible to put the rooms in the right light. The outcome I then had to work with was not ideal.
But as they say: challenge accepted! Now it was up to me to get the best result for the client. The aim is to straighten out lots of small details to improve the overall impression and create a perfect picture. The effort was worth it in the end, and the client got a perfect showroom.
Meanwhile, I have rediscovered my mandarin fish. It must have got used to my presence and is now holding still. Taking photos under water is another different challenge. The waves, the background and the position of the sun have to be taken into account. I hold my breath for a moment so that I don’t shake the camera. At just the right moment I release the shutter, and snap the picture. Perfect. Though I know I won’t be able to enjoy the photo without editing it properly first, I have the colours and the details in my head, so I’ll be able to give the photo the right finishing touch.
– Thomas, Designer