Meeting an incredible photographer/film maker and passionate conservationist who just got introduced to scuba!
Why is conservation so important to you?
Over time I have learnt to appreciate that nature operates in unforgiving principals which we quickly forget in our daily activities. The fact of the matter is humans don’t exist in isolation it’s an interdependent complex ecosystem that demands order and balance. When pushed to the edge nature will barely fight back it seems to just keep silent and observe a “lets die together attitude”. Beyond reasonable doubt, nature primarily supports the basics of life, as proven in different disciplines. The continued deterioration of our planet expedites destruction of the quality of humans, which is evident through catastrophic natural events like climate change, pollution, massive extinction etc. Therefore, conservation to me has been about finding, creating and maintaining that balance. I believe as superior intelligent beings and direct beneficiaries of nature we have a role to play through sustainable utilisation of natural resources.
Conservation is important to me because it gives me a chance not to save nature but saving human being from falling into natures trap of “let’s die together”, and to remind us that we depend on nature and nature can only help us when we use her sustainably.
What is a typical week’s work like for someone like you? It sounds like it might be very exciting!
Yeeees!! Very exciting!! My organization is in a remote location next to one of the largest National parks in the country, it’s a daily treat. A work week includes working with communities together with my team, on how we can collaborate to solve various conservation challenges through different projects in the organization (www.lcmo.or.tz). During these activities, we brainstorm on new ideas and seek new opportunities. However, a constant on my back pack is my camera, it goes everywhere with me opportunities to capture exciting moments are a constant here. You never know what will be crawling, perching or dashing out of the bush in front or above. Moments I live for.
How did you get into photography/filming wildlife?
I loved being around cameras and taking videos at first, I started as a music video director. After I studied Wildlife Management I discovered the natural world and that’s how I found my footing. Since then I shifted my focus to match my passion and skills and it has been a fulfilling experience. This way I have had the opportunity to create awareness on wildlife, and I am on a continuous path to maximise on honing this skills to largely contribute to conservation.
What is your inspiration? There must be something you love to snap?
Wildlife in action! There is something about being in right the place and on the right time. Action in the wild it totally opportunistic and happens fast!! It is always rewarding getting a chance to capture those momentous photos or videos. Previewing photos of a well-focused bird in flight or a carnivore on a hunting mission, a frightened prey in flight or just an eye to eye encounter is what makes me keep my camera charged and within reach.
Is the equipment you use really key to your work or are finding the subjects more vital?
They are both equally important to me. The standards technology has set requires quality skills and results. It is nerve wrecking to have an equipment malfunction when you are in the right place. However, I acknowledge skill set is essential it would be rather pointless to not be able to utilise and maximise the capacity of the equipment at hand. Lucky for me I hardly struggle with subjects in my current location.
What kind of difficulties are you faced with when trying to shoot the natural world?
Nature is totally unpredictable!! It requires unsurmountable patience something I have had to learn overtime. But on a good day it unveils its beauty and you must live be hoping that the next day will be the best day.
What are your thoughts on raw images vs images that have been adjusted in photo shop? Do adjusted images steal something from the reality of the image?
I shoot RAW to have enough room to adjust the image in post. The result of the image after adjusting it through any editing software in post depends entirely on the purpose of its use. In fact, I shoot FLAT RAW with a bit of adjusting in post to have my final result.
I know that you just learnt to Scuba dive which we are incredibly excited about here at The Scuba News UK. It must have opened up huge potential for new in/underwater projects? Are you excited about exploring and photographing the underwater world?
What can I say! I am very excited! I have always look forward to dive in one of the very amazing diving site in the world (Zanzibar) which is in my country Tanzania, but now I won’t be diving only, but also, I’ll be able to capture and share the amazing underwater life in this area through photos and video. And it’s a new experience in general.
What was the best thing you saw on your initial dives?
It’s very hard to be specific on this one, everything down there left me with a “waoo!!” face (The corals, fish varieties, Octopus, etc). I saw a new entirely different world, that I wished I could spend the rest of my life, but my Oxygen gauge always reminds me that I don’t belong there, which It was very disappointing.
Would you encourage other non-diving wildlife photographers to learn to scuba?
Ohh! Yes! This won’t only make them to fully cover the wildlife photography category but also, it’s a lifetime experience.
Do you have any signature techniques when taking pictures or filming?
Thinking out of the box and sometimes break the rules if possible.
Try to my level best to be on the eye level with my subject, it gives me a very good perspective.
Do you have any tips for aspiring conservation photographers?
They shouldn’t be afraid to press that shutter button and always it should be on rapid.
And break the rules don’t be afraid to explore new experience.
What’s next for you? Where can we see more of your work and follow upcoming projects?
I have just been selected among the first class of National Geographic new program “Explorer Leadership and development” so you should expect more in the upcoming year, just stay tune in my website: hanscosmasngoteya.com and social media.
Hans it was totally lovely and awesome to meet you and we at The Scuba News cant wait to see what comes next from you and see more underwater shots. We are really glad that you took the plunge and submerged, there is an awful lot to snap down there and to protect!