Joram Mennes: Underwater Photography Q&A

Here’s a quick Q & A with Joram Mennes about his work and passion for photography. He’s created some epic images for us recently and we can’t wait to see more!!



PT: How long have you been cave diving in Mexico and what made you settle down here?

JM: I’ve lived here for 10 years but it feels like 5! I like the lifestyle here, and the diving is probably the most varied around the world, we have it all! And well, what can i say about the Caves! What more can we ask for?!


PT:  What motivated you to become a Underwater Photographer?

JM: I was inspired by other Photographers, seeing them create amazing images and thinking this might be something i’d like to do in the future. And here I am now, living the dream and creating my own little shared world.


PT: What’s a typical cave diving photo shoot like with you?

JM: Every day is very different! I must be flexible every time I go to take photos,  I try to adapt to the client and the dive site, but each shooting is very different from each other, there is not really a “typical” day.. its all about creating and having fun trying to get the best out of each opportunity I go with the camera!



PT: How much time do you spend Shooting?

JM: Well this is very relative, the normal is 2 Dives 90min each a Day or 1 Long dive 150min+.


PT: Whats your favourite image you have captured to date?

JM:My favourite image, that is very difficult. I don’t really have a favourite image! Once a photographer told me: the best photo is always the next photo you will make! Its all a learning process and it’s been really interesting so far! 


PT: What equipment are you currently using? 

JM: Nikon D810 full-frame, with a range of different Lenses most of them wide angle, Ikelite Ds160 strobes and some Video Lights. Full frame gives me more light and a good capacity to work in low light conditions, Wide angle because the environment requires it. Caves are massive and very dark, so you need to be close and cover as much as you can in the picture. Strobes are more for close range. So the Video Lights work pretty well to give depth of field or Stage around to create Lighted Scenarios. I try to do vary things as much as possible.



PT: What is your favourite lens? 

JM: Id say my new Nikon 18-35mm F4-F4.5 its very versatile and captures enough light down there with out loosing sharpness on the Images. Great Wide Angle and very good at the same time for Portrait.


PT: When you go diving, what do you take with you?

JM: Haha! Thats always a good question. Depends on what the plan is!  But being in the Jungle i bring as many extras as I can. Over 20 years diving, I know the need for redundancy so I come prepared for the task at hand.  During dives i’ll bring as much as the dive requires. If it is more like documenting dives, i’ll try and configure my camera light weight to be able to keep up with group. I’ll change strobes for Video lights, shorten the arms. If its more stopping and taking pictures then I bring more on the camera, strobes and longer arms etc. It’s all about understanding what the specific shooting requires.


PT: Do you ever do other kind of photography?

JM: I must admit, I mostly only do underwater. Id like to travel more for that reason, escape to see the mountains. We don’t have amazing landscapes in the area, so its either some wild life or street or shots. But for me its all about underwater images. Photos or video.


PT: In the field, What are your settings?

JM: Well I try to capture light in a dark cave. Trying to not loose my depth of field and having Divers in motion, all of that swimming along to keep up, going in front, waiting, and finally having a great shot is never a easy task in the cave. So apart from the camera settings, I really need divers to help out by going slow and pointing lights in right direction. Proper trim, swimming technique and perfect buoyancy, to remain still. I’d say my favourite F stop is F8, Shutter Speed 1/50 and ISO at max 2000, but this is hard to tell, as light changes very fast down there, so I need to think fast or i’ll loose the shot.



PT: What are your plans for the future?

JM: Trying to capture as many amazing images as possible and keep enjoying the caves here in Mexico!


If you would like to book a photoshoot with Joram for your next trip email



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