I always wanted to go diving, as when I was young, we would always be snorkelling out the back of my father’s boat.
As soon I was able to afford to do the open water course, I signed up!
Finding buddies was hard to start with and I did not do a lot of diving in the first few years, but in early 2000’s I met up with a group that were diving a lot and we all bought cameras around the same time. I am still diving with a few of them today and we have done quite a few trips together, to places like Chuuk, Vanuatu, Rabaul in PNG and the Solomon Islands over the years.
In 2008 I did my divemaster’s course, then guided for a few years with Terrigal Dive on the ex-HMAS Adelaide wreck after it was sunk in 2011.
Pete Davis was another of the divemaster’s at Terrigal Dive and we started doing videos together. Unfortunately, Pete took a new Job in New Zealand so I did not continue with the videos after about 2014. Maybe I might get the videos going again with my new R7!
My local dive site is Swansea Bridge, NSW which we dive on the slack water high tide. It is a location where you can generally have a dive any day of the year, with an amazing amount of life to be found beneath the twin bridges.
Swansea Green Moray – from my local dive site, the moray was just sicking its head out of its lair. Canon 7D • 60mm macro • F20 • 1/125sec • ISO 640 © Matt Dowse
Nth Solitary Freckled Hawkfish – North Solitary Island off the NSW north coast was my first trip with my new Canon R7 camera and Ikelite housing. I decided to try using an 18-150mm lens which came with the camera when I bought it. The Ikelite website suggested this might work with a +4 diopter. It actually worked really well - giving me decent wide angle, coupled with good macro ability at the same time - every advanced underwater photographer's dream! It will be hard to use any other lens in the future. Hawkfish are always accommodating subjects and they will sit still until you get too close! Canon R7 • 18-150mm Canon lens • F10 • 1/100sec • ISO400 © Matt Dowse
Terrigal Eastern Blue Devil – these fish are generally very shy and I was very lucky to find this one completely out in the open. Canon 7D • 17-70mm Sigma lens • F9 • 1/100sec • ISO 320 © Matt Dowse
Nth Solitary Island Green Sea Turtle – This turtle was heading to the surface for a breath and conveniently swam straight past me. Canon R7 • 18-150mm Canon lens • F13 • 1/125sec • ISO320 © Matt Dowse
Halifax Maori Rockcod – these fish are very photogenic - this one spent several minutes checking its reflection in my dome port. Canon 7D • 17-70mm Sigma lens • F16 • 1/100sec • ISO 400 © Matt Dowse
Sydney Cardinalfish - 'Next generation in my mouth!' - This shot from Fly Point, Nelson Bay with a Sydney cardinalfish brooding eggs in its mouth. Canon 7D • 17-70mm Sigma lens • F10 • 1/100sec • ISO 100 © Matt Dowse
Nth Solitary Island Red Rock Cod – very happy how the new Canon R7 performs. This red cod just sat there as I took multiple shots. Canon R7 • 18-150mm Canon lens • F13 • 1/125sec • ISO320 © Matt Dowse
Broughton Island Grey Nurse Shark – I love diving at Broughton Island, off the coast of Port Stephens, NSW. The sharks are quite used to divers and are generally very cooperative subjects, as they cruise along gutters and canyons. Canon 7D • 17-70mm Sigma lens • F8 • 1/80sec • ISO 400 © Matt Dowse
Hideaway Saddle Butterfly fish – This shot is from Hideaway Island in Vanuatu - the fish is being cleaned by a bluestreak cleaner wrasse. Canon 7D • Canon 100mm macro • F13 • 1/125sec • ISO 320 © Matt Dowse
Matt Dowse is an electrician, diver, and underwater photographer. He has been diving since 1990 and completed his PADI Divemater's course in 2008. He's been a Canon DSLR 7D shooter since 2010 and recently upgrade to the Canon R7 mirrorless system which he pairs with the Ikelite DS160 dual strobes. When he's not traveling to dive you can find him at the Swansea Bridge. Watch Matt and Pete's underwater videos on their YouTube channel, Vimeo, or check out Matt's Redbubble page.