Today was a pretty perfect Sunday – for a non-diving day – with the sun out, clear blue skies, and sparkling Sydney Harbour as a backdrop to Opera Bar lunch with friends. And, no need to wear anything warmer than a t-shirt, even though it’s supposedly the middle of winter.
But the real highlight was indoors, as today I had the privilege of listening to National Geographic photographer of 40-ish years, David Doubilet, talk about some of his recent assignments at a National Geographic Live show at the Sydney Opera House.
National Geographic, as far as brands go, is pretty blessed – the talk opened with an inspiring video reel, but of course, all Nat Geo needed to do for that was thread together video clips from their HUGE back-catalogue of wildlife footage, from both above and below the water. Imagine having that at your disposal.
And what a great storyteller David Doubilet is. He spoke for over an hour, weaving anecdotes together against the backdrop of his photographs, with a few pre-recorded video segments thrown in for good measure. From Papua New Guinea, to North America and down to Antarctica, from beluga whales and leopard seals right down to pygmy seahorses a quarter size of your pinky fingernail, this guy has seen, and captured, it all.
It all makes me a bit jealous, but also in awe of the life path he had from the age of 12, when he first jimmied up an underwater camera. A far cry from the array of photography equipment he now posses though, with cameras, lenses, strobes, dome housings and filters worth tens of thousands of dollars – all putting my little underwater camera system to shame. But, it’s probably for the best that I don’t jump in that ocean with my life savings!
National Geographic Live: Coral, Fire & Ice has one other show – in Melbourne this Friday. If you’re down there, get in.
And finally, special mention has to go to the precocious boy that brought the house down with his extremely eloquent and entertaining way of asking a question following the main talk – and politely approving Mr Doubilet’s request to answer the from a different angle.