“I am Janne, an underwater videographer who spends a lot of my time on dive safaris, and I am single.” On my recent liveaboard trip, this sentence marked the beginning of my acquaintance with Janne. Each diver on the boat was briefly sharing their diving stories before we embarked on our grand journey – a diving liveaboard from Hurghada to Safaga with PADI 5 Star IDC Arctic Divers Dive Center.

With around 25 divers on the boat, Janne Lievonen concluded the introductions, and his words sparked laughter among us. Janne welcomed us on the boat, when we arrived, having been on it for weeks before us. It felt like meeting a local who could convey the essence of the place from a fellow tourist’s perspective, just more experienced. People who passionately live their calling always stand out. Janne, seemingly accustomed to answering our myriad questions about safaris, boats, the Red Sea’s underwater world, and wrecks, shared willingly, and his stories were captivating.

Such individuals inspire, as does their vibrant lifestyle. It’s something worth sharing with the world. Between dives, I gazed at the warm, beautiful turquoise sea, absorbing it, realizing it appeared more in my dreams than my actual visits. Yet, for some, such a sea is life. Diving has the power to change your perspective in ways unimaginable to those unfamiliar with the water.

Surprisingly, Janne only delved seriously into underwater videography about five years ago, acquiring professional equipment just two years back. He specializes in commercial videography, partnering with diving vessel companies, and he spends a lot of his time on safari boats.

Evenings with Janne in our briefing cabin were filled with colorful and thrilling underwater video briefings, showcasing both pre-recorded materials and footage shot during our dives. The play of light and colors was so professionally captured that it felt like reliving the entire dive. Janne accompanied these viewings with personal stories and amusing observations of marine life.

“Choosing the right spot, fixing the camera and lights, and staying still allow you to see what remains unseen for many,” Janne shared, laughing, adding, “Today, I observed a small fish guarding the burrow of a hermit crab. There was clear cooperation between them. The crab swiftly removed coral rocks, and the fish stood guard. When danger arose, the crab retreated, and the fish shielded it.” Curious, one listener asked, “How is it beneficial for the fish?” Janne promptly responded, “The recess likely serves as a protective place for the fish as well.”

Between dives, we conversed on the sun deck, basking in the warm Egyptian sun. Discussions ranged from general underwater photography to the filters needed for a GoPro in the Red Sea’s blue waters versus the green waters in Finland. Janne organized an underwater videography competition for short videos for the entire group. “The light should be diffused, without sharp boundaries,” Janne continued to share. “Properly directing the light in the frame is also crucial for capturing colors and the blue of the water,” he added as we watched competition entries and, joyfully, footage from our entire diving week, showcasing the magical colors of water and underwater life, where one could even spot oneself!

Janne uploads some of his footage to his YouTube channel named Dive and Tell a Story. Click onto the channel to admire breathtaking views of underwater life. It’s remarkable that there are people who, with such love for their craft, skillfully convey what we see underwater.

From my side, I can only add that amateur diving is not just about adrenaline, as many may think. Diving is something elevated, bright, harmonious, weightless, akin to repeatedly discovering something new and boundless. As you can see, for many, diving is also a lifestyle, revealing entirely new facets of the world and oneself.

A woman stands smiling on a boat in dive gear
Image courtesy of Elena Gushchina

This article was written by Elena Gushchina lol2o, a Water Contactee, Reiki-master, energy guide, artist, writer, PADI Diving Instructor and co-founder & co-owner of PADI 5-Star Instructor Development Center (IDC) Arctic Divers Dive Center in Helsinki, Finland. You can view Elena’s water paintings here, or check out her books and designs at Life! Art! Design! Diving!.

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