Anyone who has met me knows how incredibly passionate I get about helping guests understand settings on their compact cameras. Well, this week, I felt the most humbled and the most proud I think I could ever feel when Erick Higher scooped the Highly Acclaimed “Vision of the Sea – Howard Hall Award for Outstanding Achievement 2017.”
Back in 2002 when I was living in Mexico and I was still a very green newbie diver, I regularly visited La Paz in Baja California as I had fallen in love with the sealion colony at Los Islotes. If any of you reading this have been there, you would most definitely understand why! I also regularly joined the Shark Research Institute – Alex Antonio who now has his own Shark Conservation Page at Fins Attached – used to lead these trips to learn about whale sharks, their patterns and to help satellite tagging them to understand their migration patterns better. It was the biggest dream of mine to see one whilst I was cooped up in a hospital room with doctors telling me that I wouldn’t survive after smashing myself in 15 places.
I joined 3 trips to fulfil this dream and became so hooked on developing my diving skills that I ended up doing my Divemaster at La Paz and Erick was my instructor. He was always intrigued by the Amphibico equipment that I had alongside my compact camera and SLR that was soon to flood in La Paz chasing whale sharks and I showed him how to get the best out of an Olympus 5060 compact at that time.
Fast forward and not only has he built up an astounding collection of both underwater photographs from Mexico and video, he has also scooped a Stan Waterman Award at Beneath the Sea for his work, is currently touring with the Ocean Film Festival in Munich and has also scooped this incredibly prestigious award.
For me, it has been really touching to see how in just a few minutes of helping someone simply master the basics, that their life can lead them into a new direction, a new adventure and help to inspire others to fall in love with and protect our planet.
For up-to-date videos and photographs – he recently was unlucky enough to spend a whole miserable hour with False Killer Whales 🙂 – please visit his page on Facebook, or his work which is shown on Solmar V.