Featured Photographer | Alex Permiakov
My name is Alex Permiakov, I am an underwater photographer currently living in Bali, Indonesia, but based in the Philippines before lockdowns, where I run the Tropical Divers dive shop at Panglao island. When I became a dive instructor in 2015, I felt an urge to share what I see underwater with my friends and followers, which led me to purchase some underwater photography gear. Getting started with underwater photography was a game-changer in how I dive, how I plan my trips and allowed me to know more about sea creatures, behaviour and marine life overall.
As I was diving for my job, I was able to use my camera often, so progress was quite fast. In 2017 I was lucky to win my first award for an underwater photograph, which was great motivation to keep practising and learn new techniques. In a few years, besides diving in the Philippines, I’ve visited South Maldives, Bali, Komodo and Raja Ampat and I hope to see more beautiful places in the near future. I love to shoot macro and for most of my shots, I’m using a snoot, which allows me to separate the subject from the background and make the final result more dramatic. It also makes it easier to handle a backscatter, so I spend less time editing, more time shooting.
One more reason for shooting macro more often than wide-angle is the availability of subjects. You can dive every day in the same spot and still have the opportunity to meet new critters or shoot your favourite one in a different pose, or different lighting etc. Wide-angle subjects often require you to travel and most of the time it's quite far and pricey. By chance, I’ve been stuck in Bali since March 2020, because I was in Malaysia when the Philippines locked down, so I couldn’t return and had to go somewhere. Someone will say - 'Hey, it's not that bad to be stuck in Bali!' And I will answer 'Yes', especially if you have all diving equipment and underwater photo gear with you and you are the macro crazy sort of guy. After a few months of restrictions, diving was reopened in Tulamben and I was privileged to dive nearly empty dive sites again and again. If you have dived Liberty wreck, you must remember how crowded it can be. Sadly for the local economy, during these days I experienced being the only diver at this dive site! Same story with the macro dive sites, where you can easily be alone.
My first underwater camera setup was a Olympus em-5 in Olympus housing. It was a great camera for macro with native 60mm f2.8 macro lens. One day my friend made me an offer I couldn’t resist, so I switched to a full-frame Nikon D800 in Nauticam housing. My current setup is Nikon D850 in Nauticam housing, Nikkor 105mm 2.8 VR, Nikkor 16-35 f4, Sigma 15mm, Inon z-240, Backscatter mf-01 strobe with snoot, Nauticam SMC, Inon UCL-165, Retra snoot. Minigear ms-03 torch. Divepro video lights.
Behind the curtains,
Shrimp with bokeh,
Trees and coral,
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Find Alex on Instagram @alexphoto.pro