Matthew Orolowitz is pretty much part of the furniture here at the Aquarium – as a regular volunteer and occasional in-house photographer, Matthew has taken his passion for the ocean another few steps further by starting up the Two Oceans Aquarium SEA Team: a group of inspired young individuals committed to conserving, protecting and respecting the environment. Here, Matthew shares the details behind some of his favourite Aquarium- and ocean-related photographs.  

I am born-and-bred Capetonian. My passion for photography was sparked just outside the Two Oceans Aquarium, more than 10 years ago, when I borrowed my father's camera and took a photo of a seal in the harbour.

I am a product of the Young Biologist programme. The ocean has always fascinated me, but the Aquarium has nurtured this fascination into a passion that still burns inside me to this day, five years later! I am currently studying towards a BSc Biodiversity and Ecology degree at Stellenbosch University.

The most daunting thing is that, due to human influence, nearly all the animals that are in these photographs are vulnerable or endangered. 

25 June 2016: Canon EOS 750D and Canon Speedlite II Flash 430x; Mode: Portrait; Exposure: 1/60 sec; ISO: 800; F-stop: f/4

I love the fact that this picture is not staged. This child was genuinely fascinated by the giant loggerhead turtle, Yoshi. To me this is more than just a child looking at a turtle. This picture demonstrates how big an impact the Aquarium can make on the future of the oceans, since seeing these awe-inspiring creatures makes such a long-lasting impression on the youth.

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum

30 November 2015: Canon EOS 750D; Mode: Tv; Exposure: 1/125 sec; ISO: 1600; F-stop: f/5.6

Few people realise that the fish can actually see us standing on the other side of the acrylic panels at the Aquarium. This just shows how curious the fish were to see a funny-looking human holding camera and taking pictures of them. 

"Here's looking at you, kid."

16 July 2016: Canon EOS 750D; Mode: Tv; Exposure: 1/125 sec; ISO: 100; F-stop: f/20

This is probably my favourite picture that I’ve taken at the Aquarium. I saw the lighting was good one morning and Bob, the green turtle, was busy swimming around. With patience and perseverance, I was able to get my timing right and capture him swimming in front of the light rays.

29 May 2010: Canon EOS 350D; Mode: Sport; Exposure: 1/1250 sec; ISO: 400; F-stop: f/5.6

I love the movement in this picture. There is nothing like seeing animals in their natural environment and how well adapted they are to these conditions. A perfect example of this is the shy albatross. They can spend months at sea. I particularly enjoy the way they cumbersomely run on the water before becoming airborne.

22 April 2012: Canon EOS 350D; Mode: Sport; Exposure: 1/2500 sec; ISO: 400; F-stop: f/9

No bird is more at home in the water than the penguin. They look so clumsy on land, but as soon as they find themselves in the water they are one of the most agile creatures. They are so iconic of the Cape coast; yet human pressure is the reason for their diminishing numbers. This picture is so powerful, because unless something is done this may be all that’s left of this beautiful creature.

26 June 2016: Canon EOS 750D; Mode: Tv; Exposure: 1/125 sec; ISO: 12800; F-stop: f/10

The black musselcracker is one of the most comical-looking fish. The comments from Aquarium visitors about these fish are quite hilarious. This picture just demonstrated the bizarre features of this creature.

30 November 2015: Canon EOS 750D; Mode: Tv; Exposure: 1/125 sec; ISO: 800; F-stop: f/4

Yoshi really enjoys all attention she receives. And it helps that she is so photogenic.

Join the SEA Team

The Two Oceans Aquarium SEA Team's next beach cleanup is in Hout Bay on 4 September. 

Find the SEA Team on:

Facebook: Two Oceans Aquarium - SEA Team

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