Patrick Neumann has made quite the name for himself in the German underwater-photo community. His awesome images have garnered him several awards an have been widely published. Leaving a lucrative career to pursue his passion has paid off and we are pleased to share Patrick's story and images here.
Interview with Patrick Neumann
by Hergen Spalink
Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you got started taking underwater photos?
While the other kids were playing soccer in the yard, I was already out diving with my father either in the Mediterranean Sea or the lakes near my hometown. We even faked my year of birth so that I could get official permission to go diving; my father took me underwater for the first time when I was seven. All the family holidays were spent on a small yacht in the Mediterranean Sea, so my best childhood memories were made either in or on the water.
That‘s where it all started. I grew older and at some point I felt I could add something more to my diving. My choices were freediving, technical diving or underwater photography. I decided for the latter and during a dive holiday in the Similan Islands of Thailand I did my first dive with a camera. I loved it from the first shutter click and my passion for underwater photography is still growing. Later, I even quit my well-paying job as a key accounts manager to spend more time photographing and diving. I left Germany and worked on a liveaboard in Asia as a instructor, guide and underwater photographer. Since 2010 I've been back in Germany, founded my own company, Art Design Photography and since then I make a living from it. Four months a year I travel to shoot wildlife, the rest of the year I photograph babies underwater here in Germany. Every year I extend my traveling time more and more.
What gear have you used in the past?
My first camera was a used Sealife Reefmaster DC 500 with an external strobe and multiple macro/wide angle lenses. Everything was automatic, there was not even the chance to shoot in Raw. I sold the system after one trip and got a used Fuji E900 in an Ikelite housing and a Inon D2000 strobe instead (the strobe is still working today). Two years later I took my first DSLR camera underwater, a Canon 400D in a Hugyfot housing. Another two years later I switched to a Canon 7D in a Hugyfot housing.
What system are you using now?
I am currently using a Canon 5D Mark IV in the Nauticam NA-5DIV housing with two Inon Z-240 strobes. As I like to shoot a lot of over-under split images I use the Nauticam 250mm glass dome port and the 45° viewfinder.
What do you like about it?
In terms of quality and manufacturing there is no doubt that Nauticam housings set the standard, but what really set the hook for me is the accurate and intuitive handling of the housing underwater. You don‘t have to take your eye away from the viewfinder when adjusting camera settings as all the controls of the camera are where they should be. A fantastic tool!
The port-locking system makes life (and port changes) so much easier.
The vacuum system is a winner. It‘s just a better feeling to have a short look at the green LED on your housing to know everything is ok. That better feeling leads to better photos.
Tell us a bit about the kinds of diving you do, favorite locations, etc.
I have no single favorite location. Give me some dive gear, an underwater camera and wildlife interaction and I'm happy.
I've dived a lot in tropical locations. In terms of diversity, colors and the amount of life they are outstanding but for sure there are other hotspots in the world, like the Azores that I don‘t want to miss.
Too many places, too little time.
Patrick was born in Cologne, Germany and began diving at age 7. Since then he has logged over 3200 dives all over the world. After leaving a lucrative career with an insurance company as an account manager in 2007 he worked as an instructor, dive guide and photographer on a live aboard in Asia. In 2010 he returned to Germany and started Art Design Photography by Patrick Neumann. In addition to magazine work he leads underwater photography workshops and photography diving babies in Germany.