Thanks for asking, I’m really motivated this year to make the next step in my UW (underwater) photography. I’m very happy that my pictures have got some more recognition these days too, pieces like this help me a lot to increase my audience. I have also now had my first feature printed in a UK carp magazine which is also great.
Definitely, it's great to see it getting the recognition. You've been shooting some lovely new work, how has 2021 been for you so far?
The UW photography became a mission for me, I want to raise the awareness of people via social media, to show them the beauty and the sensibility of our local nature, and to help protect it that way. I have discovered some great new locations here in Cologne, like the 'Waller Walhalla' (Waller is the german word for catfish) it was great fun shooting those giants. I’ve also got more into filming and I’m planning my first exhibition this year.
'I want to raise the awareness of people via social media, to show them the beauty and the sensibility of our local nature, and to help protect it that way'
Yes, it took some time! We had almost no spring this year and below zero celsius temperatures in May still, that’s very unusual. Even now in July it is still cloudy with storms and heavy rain most of the time, or it is super hot. I think these are the first signs of the climate change that also will effect our waters. I'm trying to catch every sunny day at the moment and shift everything else around to give me the time to get into water.
'I'm trying to catch every sunny day at the moment and shift everything else around to give me the time to get into water'
Crazy weather this year for sure, and definitely worrying. We noticed you've had a dive partner on some shoots recently, is that something new for you?
Absolutely, I have done this all by myself for the last 7 years, to dive with others is a big change for me. It has a little to do with my growing audience on instagram and the fact that most people can’t travel to their favourite dive spots because of Corona. I get asked now frequently, and I’m open to others to show them my favourite places and share my experience in local freshwater. It’s actually very nice to have a shared experience and good time together. Two of my new dive buddies (https://www.instagram.com/andy.schmid/?hl=en) are very experienced divers that have travelled the world, but had never dived in a local water around the corner and now they are absolutely into it. 'Cause our water is great! I think our local underwater world is much better then it’s reputation might have you believe and we should stop flying around the world just to see some fish. Trust me, wherever you live, there will be great water nearby, just give it a try!
Something as anglers we could learn a lot from as well I think that ethos. What plans have you got for dives and shooting for the rest of the summer?
I really want to discover new lakes around Cologne, but I actually need some help to do so, because often I get asked by anglers to leave. But I think it’s a great opportunity to invite me instead, through working together instead they could get a lot of inside information about their lakes and a bunch of pictures. I also want to go to the Netherlands to dive into the North Sea, that’s the closest salt water from Cologne and that’s where I spent all my summers as a kid. I'm trying to do more UW filming and I have just started a cooperation with an very talented illustrator from Berlin (https://www.instagram.com/julia.charlott/?hl=en) we want to do some hand-coloured printouts and experimental art stuff.
'I really want to discover new lakes around Cologne, but I actually need some help to do so, because often I get asked by anglers to leave. But I think it’s a great opportunity to invite me instead, through working together instead they could get a lot of inside information about their lakes and a bunch of pictures'
Nice! We look forward to seeing that unfold, sounds fascinating. Any new kit or techniques you've been playing with?
One reason why I’m so motivated this year is that I bought myself a new camera system. I got now a state of the art, ultra compact full frame sensor camera from Sony, the new A7C. This camera has autofocus eye detection for animals, it has a huge dynamic range, so I can shoot with ambient light even on cloudy days, because of it’s high ISO and it also has many more great features. It’s really a big step into the right direction for me and getting more professional. I'm also now shooting with a wide-angle lens, to have less backscatter and more environment, but therefore I need to get much closer to the fish. The only limitation I still have is my small strobe light I got, but I use this limitation in a creative way and try to make the best out of it. Like anything, you can turn around most disadvantages into advantage and a personal style and optic.
For sure, in every negative there's a positive to be found. Thanks again Marcel, and we look forward to seeing your journey unfold!