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2013 PADI Diving Society Member Card Contest Winner

Last November, numerous PADI Instructors, Divers and PADI Facebook Fans voted for their favorites in the 2013 PADI Diving Society Member Card Contest. The winner is PADI Course Director Rene Buob’s image of a manta dancing with a diver. Here's what he had to say... 

2013 Society Member Card Winner Rene BuobPADI Diving Society (Society): Tell us a little about yourself, and life as a PADI Course Director.

Rene Buob (RB): I decided to become a PADI Course Director wishing to conduct a PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) in my own dive center -- Calypso Diving School International in the Philippines. Considering that Calypso was given the first PADI Five Star Dive Center rating in Boracay, my aim was to continue on giving quality education by producing well-trained instructors. Seeing people transforming their hobby into a career makes me feel proud to be a PADI educator and active member.

(Society): As a PADI Underwater Photographer Instructor – what tips do you always share with your students?

(RB): I would say being patient and dedicating time with a subject to learn its behavior is a very important tip for any budding photographer. To be privileged to witness special natural behavior you have to take time observing, and to photograph sometimes split-second action – whether it be on the large scale like a manta posing vertically, or on a much smaller scale like a frogfish catching prey – it does take preparation, perseverance and a bit of luck too!

Buob’s image of a manta dancing with a diver(Society):
Tell us more about the winning photo (right).

(RB): The photo was taken while on holiday with friends in the Maldives. On this dive I used a Canon EOS 5D with EF15mm Fisheye Lens, Seacam Housing and Seaflash 150D. The dive crew told us that it is rare to have mantas at the same time as such excellent visibility for wide-angle shots -- and my luck continued as the mantas were in a playful mood. Given the great conditions on the day, the image itself wasn’t technically difficult to capture, but waiting for the special moment of action did take some patience. What I love about this photo is, if you look closely, while adjusting her camera the diver seems not to have noticed the manta’s pose! The photo captures a unique moment. 

(Society): What (or who) made you decide to enter the contest?

(RB): Photographing marine life and divers is a creative challenge that I really enjoy. Sharing the images, and especially sharing the stories about creating the images, with others is also a great pleasure. I have a few of my underwater photos in the dive center and we sometimes have slideshows of photos from the dive team. But I have never entered a photo contest before. Sue Gibbins, Training & Marketing Manager at Calypso and fellow PADI Course Director, convinced me to submit some images to the PADI Diving Society competition. I’m really surprised and thrilled that my photo was chosen.

(Society): What is the best part about being a PADI Diving Society member?

(RB): The PADI Diving Society helps to connect people with a passion for diving activities. Society members can enjoy various diving promotions, therefore going to more places, meeting new buddies, and through their membership also contribute to environmental initiatives like Project AWARE.

(Society): Which Society membership benefits are you taking advantage of?

(RB): We especially like the publications and eNewsletter which contain lots of great diving information. The photo tips and techniques features are always interesting and inspiring.

(Society): When you are not diving, what type of activities are you involved in?

(RB): Aside from diving, I also enjoy photography on land especially when traveling with my family. Capturing special moments with them makes every single trip unforgettable.

Photos: Courtesy of Rene Buob


Want the 2013 Society card? Join PADI Diving Society* today and stay tuned to and the PADI Facebook page to learn more about the PADI Diving Society, the 2014 Member Card Photo Contest and more!

*Depending on where you reside, as a PADI Diving Society you can enjoy many exciting benefits. Magazine publications vary by region. Visit for more details.