Gary Browne

I was a very keen snorkeler as a teenager and spent many hours poking around at Point Perron, North and South Mole, Woodman Point etc.

I actually started scuba training with Underwater Explorers Club in the mid seventies down at Woodman Point on weekends, however I was also a seafarer going away from home for extended periods of time so made it impractical to continue, then came marriage, kids and all the things that go with raising a young family as well as being away at sea with my work.

It wasn’t until 1993 that I eventually bit the bullet and did a PADI dive course with friend who was an instructor at the time. I remember our first open water dive was just off Marmion Angling Club, the sea breeze was howling, it was very choppy and viz was like a snow storm, it was like diving in a bowl of soup.

I didn’t dive an awful lot in the those first few years as I was still working away at sea and had family commitments when I was home, in 1997 I joined UEC and just enjoyed exploring new dive sites mainly around Rottnest and Carnac Island and a few trips to Abrolhos Islands, I also started doing some serious cray hunting but my skills as a hunter gatherer were pretty ordinary, our crayfish feeds where pretty few and far between. A few dive buddies in UEC were getting into underwater photography so about eight years ago I decided to swap the cray loop for a camera.

My first underwater camera was a Canon Powershot A540 in a Canon housing, I had no real idea what I was doing but enjoyed poking around taking the odd reasonable photo.

In 2008 I did my first real photo dive trip to the Rowley Shoals and managed to get some reasonable wide angle images with the A540.

In 2011 I did a liveaboard trip to Lembeh Strait, Bunaken Marine Park and Bangka Island with Jeff Mullins, prior to the trip Jeff advised me to buy a Canon S95 point and shoot camera with a Ikelite housing and an INON S2000 Strobe thus began my introduction to the wonderful world of muck diving.

I used this setup for a year or two then just before going on a Komodo trip with Jeff I bought an Olympus OMD EM5 camera in a Nauticam housing with two Inon Z240 strobes this is my current set up and I’m very happy with it, I use a 60mm macro lens and for wide angle I use a 9-18mm lens.

My favourite dive sites in WA are Abrolhos Islands, Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth Navy Pier, Rowley Shoals and a few sites around Rottnest including the Shark Cave, I also like the incredible diversity to be found closer to home at Ammo Jetty, KGT, Robbs Jetty and the Wreck Trail.

Overseas dive site favourites are Raja Ampat, Lembeh and Bali.

I joined WAUPS about four years ago and enjoy the camaraderie and shared underwater photography experiences from other members.

My favourite subject ? Well that depends on where I’m diving, on a recent trip to Coral Bay I got a huge buzz diving with manta rays in warm clear water and one of my most memorable dives was in October 2015 in Padang Bay in Bali I had up to six very large Mola Mola within touching distance so therefore in clear water I’m more into wide angle however I think my favourite subjects are macro, whether it’s a cardinal fish with a mouth full of eggs at Ammo Jetty or a cute Tailspot Benny posing on soft coral in Raja Ampat, but I’m pretty easily pleased.

Im not sure where my next dive trip is going to be but Im considering Ambon or possibly a return trip back to NAD in Lembeh, anywhere with warm clear water.