Marine biology student’s incredible underwater photos
LAWRENCE Scheele has always been inspired by the ocean.
As a boy growing up in Sydney he would explore the foreshore of the northern beaches.
"Ever since I can remember I was fascinated by the ocean, namely the life that called the ocean home," he says.
"While other boys were learning how to surf I was gazing at the rock pools looking for what life could be found. I had no time to dedicate to learn to surf as I was more fascinated in the mysteries of life in the water."
A decade on, Lawrence is as fascinated with marine life as ever before.
He is an aspiring professional underwater photographer and a future marine biologist.
He is in his second year of marine biology at James Cook University.
The 23-year-old's spectacular images and videos showcase the marine life off The Strand and Magnetic Island, as well as places across the world.
"People are often surprised that majority of my photos are taken in the Magnetic Island Townsville region as they are unaware of the diversity of sea life living at out very doorstep," he says.
"To see the marine life is truly breathtaking. It is so under-appreciated because there is not much awareness about what lives so close to our shore.
"The outer Great Barrier Reef is world renowned of course. Everyone knows the diversity and the beauty of it. But close to our shore people don't really appreciate the beauty of it until they see photos like mine."
Lawrence has amassed a following on Instagram and You Tube.
He captures the images of marine life from tide pools on shore or when he is free diving or snorkelling.
"I love the freedom of free diving," he says. "I can hold my breath for about a minute. The adrenaline to get the perfect shot of a particular marine life is intoxicating."
Lawrence names the octopus, cuttlefish, squid and cephalopod as his favourite marine life.
Although he says the thrill of capturing a photo of an endangered or rare marine life is his ongoing passion.
"I took a photo recently of a foxial sea turtle which is critically endangered," he says. "To take a photo of such an amazing creature is a thrill for sure.
"It is always fun to go out though and see what I find but it is always special to capture something extra special."
Lawrence can spend between three and six hours free diving, determined to capture our marine life at its best.
"But I not only get the images from free diving," he says. "The rock pools on low tide are filled with magnificent marine life. I can spend hours searching for the perfect image."
The second year university student says his favourite bays at Magnetic Island for marine life spotting are Florence and Arthur bays.
"Both bays are very well protected and have very good coral reef right off the beach," he says. "It never ceases to amaze me that such a diversity of marine life is on offer to see so close to the beach."
Lawrence started taking photos of marine life five years ago when his father bought him a simple underwater camera for his 18th birthday.
These days Lawrence's "pride and joy" is his Cannon EOS 7D mark 11 with eclipse housing. The eclipse housing is the waterproof component for the camera.
"Through my journey as an aspiring underwater photographer, I've self-taught myself many photography techniques and practices through online research and trial and error," he says. "The most important thing to me is for the marine animal to feel comfortable which takes a great deal of trust for wild animals.
"Depending on the species you have to adjust your approach and always respect the animal and their home.
"Going diving at different times of the day creates different lighting which is fun to experiment with. As I take all my photos free diving it's important to learn how to control your buoyancy and breath which can be difficult to start. The more you do it the better you'll get once you apply your previous efforts and experiences."
Lawrence says his childhood fascination with the ocean inspired his university studies.
"My personal fascination with marine life and my underwater photography adventures means my marine biology studies are enhanced," he says. "I get to apply my knowledge about marine biology in the work I do with my Instagram and You Tube accounts.
"It is because I have that knowledge about marine life as a future marine biologist that I know where to search for when I am looking for a particular species."
And Lawrence's plans for the future are as grand as the ocean he loves.
"When I graduate I hope to work with Australian National Geographic and make documentaries," he says. "My Instagram platform is getting more popular by the day and my You Tube channel takes people behind the scenes of what I do."
Lawrence's passion for the ocean has given him a greater conservation awareness.
"I would love that my photos help raise awareness for these under-appreciated creatures and their home," he says. "I do believe proper education to the masses provides greater conservational awareness."