When not working as the hugely knowledgeable Marine Officer with Manx Wildlife Trust, Lara Howe doesn't venture far from the sea as she engages in her passion for photography. Lara has joined the ranks of 'Our Photographers', talented local people who share their images with us. She tells us more.
How did your love of the sea start?
My love of the sea started very early, when my parents took me for a dip at the early age of two weeks old. It was in Hong Kong, so the water was a bit warmer there than here on the Island. But one of my first memories is playing with small puffer fish in the bay, catching them in my little net and watching then puff out. Obviously, I didn't realise at the time that this wasn't good for them but I was fascinated.
When and why did you take up photography?
Because I can't paint or draw! Again, from an early age I was given a small film camera and really enjoyed it and carried on taking photos ever since. However, it wasn't until I got my first SLR camera that I really started to take photos more seriously.
What equipment do you use?
I have a Canon 7D mark 2 with various lenses that I have had for a while and this is the camera I use with a Nauticam housing that I take underwater, but more recently I've treated myself to the Canon EOS R7.
How would you describe your photography style?
I'm not sure I have a style. I like a few genres which vary in style but it's safe to say I'm an outdoor kind of photographer.
What are your favourite places to take photos, and your favourite views, habitats or creatures to photograph?
My favourite places to photograph are anywhere coastal or water based, including underwater. I love photographing locations at home. I think the Island is often over looked but it is so beautiful, both above and below the water. In terms of wildlife, anything marine is a favourite. Their colours and behaviours are amazing to see. I also love photographing birds when its too windy to go diving.
What are the challenges of underwater photography?
Being able to stay down long enough. For me lighting is the most challenging as you need to light both the foreground and the background differently.
What is your top tip to anyone trying to get good at photographing the sea and its inhabitants?
Get out there and practice. Sit and watch what is happening, whether it be wildlife or a wave. Observe their behaviours and patterns. Really understand your subject. Most of all, just enjoy it.
Where can people see your work?
You can see my images on my website. Greetings cards featuring my photos are on sale at Manx Wildlife Trust's gift shop in Market Place, Peel. I am also exhibiting images at Pink Seaweed in Parliament Street, Ramsey.