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Derek Firman

I was born in 1955 and grew up in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia, a seaside location that encouraged a love of the sea and everything on and in our oceans. I trained as a marine engineer and first started diving in 1974. I soon had a camera, an old Nikonos II that I bought in 1976, followed by a Nikons III, a Nikonos V  and now a Nikon D300 in a Subal housing. I have been really lucky to be able to experience and observe life above and below the surface of the sea over all these years.

I am only an amateur underwater photographer with an interest in marine biology and maritime history. I just do it for my own enjoyment. It took a while for me to move from film to digital because the technology was changing so quickly - but eventually I decided that the technology available was already much better than my photographic ability, so I made the move, while still acknowledging that my photographs will never be as good as those in diving magazines - but again my photographs are for me. 

At almost 67 years old, I look back on 48 years of diving and my experience of a small part of our amazing oceans and the life within them. 

I look forward to seeing and experiencing much more, but if ever there is a situation where I cannot, what amazing memories I have. 

I love underwater photography, but I still understand that the best thing about diving with a camera, is when you don't.

Without a camera you are open to the whole experience rather than chasing a photograph - you see more, learn more, you are part of the environment to a greater extent and the fish and sealife certainly seem to come a lot closer.


    I have been regularly diving in Nth Sulawesi since 2002, its one of the world's amazing places. It combines pristine coral walls & reefs, unique & unbelievable critters on muck dives, undersea volcanoes, shipwrecks, palm ringed islands and fantastic friendly people. Nth Sulawesi is my underwater home and after all these years and all the dives, I have not even touched all there is to see and experience in this beautiful part of the world. 

I have to thank the teams in Angel Divers and Minahasa Divers in Manado & Bolsel, Nth Sulawesi and the crew of Dewi Nusantara who guide me through Raja Ampat and the blue, blue, Banda Sea - when diving with them I am diving with friends.

I hope that you enjoy the photographs and stories behind them - please don't be too critical, life is too short.....Derek


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