uwphotographers: UWP:GEO CLOETE (AQUA SOUL)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

UWP:GEO CLOETE (AQUA SOUL)































GEO CLOETE

For some of us walking the planet, the allure of the ocean has such an intense pull that it plays a pivotal role in our lives as we passionately long to spend as much time possible on or in it. The soul search as to why this undying love for the ocean burns so fiercely within me, took me down numerous paths. Many varied conclusions were reached, but none which singularly captured the essence. For now, I am content to accept that it’s the sum of all those, and more, for why the ocean forms an inseparable part of my life.
Subconsciously it started years before I even saw the ocean for the first time, but became a reality the day when a friendly surfer spurred me on at the right time to paddle for an incoming set wave. The thrill and emotions I felt on that day as I was speeding down the unbroken face of a wave for the first time is etched into my mind’s eye. I knew from that moment on, that the ocean has opened its doors to a new child, for a life inside rather than next to it.
Only much later in my life did I add scuba diving to my repertoire of ocean lifestyle. I went through the mill of completing numerous dive courses but from the start the desire was there to be able to capture the beautiful world below the surface in an artistic manner. It’s easy to forget when practicing a sport/hobby/activity which is exclusive to a relatively small number of people on the planet just how fortunate you are. I, therefore, consider myself double privileged, for not only being able to explore the last “Great Frontier” in person, but also for being able to capture part of its beauty and share it with a wider audience.
It took a few years saving and building up to my current rig, but it has been worth every bit of effort that went into it. With just little over two and a half years shooting my dSLR setup, I am still new on the scene. However, I would like to think that what I lack in years I am making up for with passion, a hunger to learn and the sheer number of hours I spend in the water. As a trained architect, I am thankful for my design/creative background as I do feel its aiding me in steering towards my goals.
I equally love shooting both the macro and wide angle and am very glad it turned out like that. Each of the disciplines has such unique challenges and exposes you to such varied facets of the ocean life. I can’t imagine shooting only the one or the other. As an added bonus, it’s considered a real possibility to discover new creatures in my local waters and shooting both disciplines, I reckon, increases that possibility.
As a proud Capetonian I try to promote the city as a viable dive destination. Other than spreading the word, I have also created the Facebook group, Cape Town ~Just beyond the Shoreline ~ Its aim is to showcase the rich and beautiful marine life people can get to see by simply swimming out a few meters from our shoreline. There are some further ideas around this concept which I would like to bring to light, but am still searching to reach that “right” person.
Travelling and exploring is in my blood. Although I have travelled abroad to some wonderful exotic destinations, it was done prior to owning my rig. So the time is ripe to introduce my beloved rig to some foreign far off destinations. This and last year I was very fortunate to enjoy a few wonderful dives along Kwazulu Natal’s South Coast. Not only was it a pleasure to experiment in these warm azure blue waters, but great new friends were made along the way. I am looking forward to exploring more of the wonders along that part of our magnificent coastline in the future.
Not directly related to photography, but directly influenced by my passion for the ocean, is a jewellery range I am currently designing. The ocean has blessed me with so much over the years and I am going to use this as an opportunity to give back. Over the last few years I have become more and more aware of the sad reality sharks presently face. Thankfully there are a good number of organizations doing their utmost to turn this situation around. My aim is to align with these organizations and donate a percentage of my sales to help funding their campaigns. Ultimately I would like to grow this campaign to cover as wide as possible range, because as we all know it’s not just the sharks that need our help desperately!
In the mean time I will continue to strive and capture the beauty of all creatures.
(Profile photo credit: Lorena Gellini)