Nuno Sá

As a wildlife photographer, you have the chance to play a role in conservation.

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2016

This month’s Picture Perfect photographer is the Portuguese Nuno Sá (38). When studying for his law degree, Nuno tried scuba diving. And when he graduated as a lawyer in 2001, he decided he preferred the contact with the sea and moved to the Azores. “I fell in love with the wildlife there; blue whales, turtles, dolphins, sharks, manta rays, it’s incredible.”

Nuno started taking pictures to share his underwater experiences with friends; he was the first to photograph basking and whale sharks in the Azores. In 2008 he dropped everything else in order to become a professional photographer; “It was a now or never moment.” Currently, Nuno is an expert in his field; he’s written several books and his award-winning photos have appeared in National Geographic and Discovery Channel. His latest job? Cameraman for the BBC Oceans series.

Apart from showing the ocean’s beauty, Nuno strives to create awareness. He took the picture of a Ria Formosa seahorse, which won him the title Underwater Photographer of the Year 2015, to draw attention to the declining seahorse population and the worldwide killing of these animals. Nuno: “As a wildlife photographer, you have the chance to play a role in conservation. Conservation always comes after interest and appreciation. When people like a picture, it invokes emotions and they get attached to the animal that’s portrayed. That’s why I try to tell the whole story, like a documentary.”

Nuno on photography in the Algarve: “Since the visibility and diversity of marine life are better in the Azores, I don’t often dive in the Algarve. Still, I’ve photographed the shipwrecks of Portimão and of course the seahorses in the Ria Formosa when working with Project Seahorse and the University of the Algarve. Most people have no idea that the biggest seahorse population in the world can be found in the Ria Formosa. On one single dive there we usually saw 15 to 20 seahorses, it was crazy!”


Underwater wildlife photography:

This month’s Picture Perfect shows a whale shark surrounded by other fish at Santa Maria Island, Azores. It was taken on a Canon 5D with a Sigma fish eye 15mm lens inside an Aquatica Underwater housing with two Ikelite DS 125 strobes. Settings: ISO 400, shutter speed 1/250s @ f/7.1. Like this pic? See more on Nuno’s website:

Want to try and make a perfect picture like this one as well? Here are Nuno’s top three tips on underwater wildlife photography:

  1. Respect the wildlife. Sometimes people get too enthusiastic when taking pictures and crash into the bottom of the sea or small organisms. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you by being aware of the environment.
  2. If you’re a beginner, start with macro photography. It’s a lot easier to get into and it gets you good results.
  3. Get as close as you can to your subject. The less water there is between you and the subject you’re photographing, the better the picture will be. So get closer, even if it’s a big shark!

A whale shark surrounded by fish at Santa Maria Island, Azores, by Nuno Sá


See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2016

Posted in Picture Perfect.