Profile: Bonaire Photographer Casper Douma
By Tim Cotroneo
The Caribbean island of Bonaire is the visual playground of photographer Casper Douma. On an island that is essentially a coral reef geographically pushed up from the sea, it’s easy to understand that one of Douma’s specialties is capturing amazing photographs above and below the ocean.
Bonaire’s extensive coral reef system makes it a paradise for divers from around the world. In 1979, Bonaire’s entire coastline was designated a marine sanctuary.
Casper Douma: “This is a beautiful snorkel and dive spot in our Washington Slagbaai National Park. I always find the colors to be stunning.”
Travel Dreams asked Douma to share his photographic story, as well as some of his most beautiful Bonaire photographic moments.
Where are you based?
Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean
How did you get started in photography?
I started photography in 2010. I was scuba diving a lot but I was getting bored and I was looking for a new challenge. So, I started to taking pictures underwater with a Canon D350. One year later I won the Photography Junior Championship of the Netherlands and that inspired me to go on with my photography. Then I was asked to make pictures of our family and some events. That side of my photography business started to grow. Now we’re in 2018, and I’m really busy with Commercial Photography, Food photography and Underwater Photography throughout the Caribbean.
Casper Douma: “It was a stormy day and the waves were at least 30 feet high. It was unbelievably beautiful. This is a former lighthouse.”
What is your favorite camera or “go to” camera?
My favorite camera is the Canon 5D Mark iv for on land photography, and the Olympus PEN for underwater photography and food photography.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
I read, watch Youtube tutorials, and practice over and over again.
Casper Douma: “This photo is a favorite. I was lucky because the visibility was superb on this day. Everything came out great. The lighting, the color, and the subject.”
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Hmm…. that I needed I big flat dome port for underwater photography instead of a small one. With a big dome port on your underwater house you can make half/half pictures turn out absolutely awesome. With a small one it’s much more difficult. That’s basically one thing I wish I knew early on that I know now.
What is your photographic niche and what is it about this niche that appeals, inspires, or satisfies you?
For me, I love wildlife photography. I believe wildlife photography is the most appealing photographic niche. I’ve been to Norway a couple of times to snorkel and photograph Orca’s, as well as Humpbackwhales. This experience is really breathtaking. It demands a lot of patience and preparation. I like the peacefulness and quietness of nature.
Casper Douma: “Lac Bay is one of the best windsurfing places in the world. Photography is tricky. You need to stand in the water with your unprotected camera.”
How did you start incorporating diving or underwater photography into your skill set?
I started the other way around. I began shooting underwater photography in 2011, and later on I purchased my land camera set.
What are the typical preparations that go into your photographic shoots?
I am careful to not be rushed and stay focused.
Casper Douma: “In photography, sometimes you need a little luck. In this case, the right spot, at the right time, with the right lighting to capture a traditional Bonaire way to fish.”
What is special or unique about shooting photographs in Bonaire?
The colours of Bonaire are amazing. We have the Salt Pans in the south, and the watercolors turn pink in the afternoon. Our sea features unbelievable shades of blue and green colors. It’s a blessing to see that everyday!
What do you try to say in your photographs?
I want to make the people happy with my pictures but also want to show that the Earth is so beautiful. There’s only one Earth. We have to take care of our Earth together!
Casper Douma: “It cost me weeks for this photo because the flamingos are normally further away. For me, this is a beautiful picture because it combines nature and culture.”
Anything I haven’t asked that you’d like readers to know about you or your photography?
It took a lot of years to come so far as I am today. I’m still learning everyday. My final goal is to go onassignment for the World Wildlife Fund or National Geographic.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Casper Douma’s beautiful photography, go to www.casperdouma.com