Hi, I’m Pavlos Evangelidis, owner of Wantok Photography. I was born in Athens, Greece 39 years ago and spent half of my childhood in Brussels, Belgium before studying Civil Engineering in London, UK.
I have been working in development aid and international cooperation over the past 12 years, with my job taking me around the world and allowing me to discover different cultures and environments – so far living mostly in the South Pacific, including Fiji where I met my wife, and East Africa.
I grew up in a family of established professional photographers, which might be why I was not interested in photography. But it did hit me in the head eventually, just three years ago. Now I’m deeply passionate about it, learning intensively and cringing when I think at the amount of travelling and diving I did only with a phone camera, or with no camera at all.
Unconventionally, I started shooting underwater, when I was based in the Solomon Islands. Since I moved to Uganda a couple of years ago, I grew into nature, wildlife and travel photography. My portfolio is quite diverse, but I believe mostly evolving around underwater, wildlife, landscape and travel photography. The ocean is my favourite subject.
Just the one for now, a Sony α6000 I bought in 2015 but only really began shooting semi-seriously in 2017. I chose it because of its compactness and versatility as I travel a lot and shoot in different environments. I’ve been monitoring Sony’s releases in the α7 series over the past year to upgrade to full-frame, but it looks like I’ll need to be a bit more patient for the right release. It’s a choice that entails upgrading my underwater system too.
Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS – Just purchased!
Sony FE 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS.
Sony E 55–210 mm f/4.5-6.3 OSS – Pictured, but I’m not using it anymore.
Sony 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ – I’m now using the kit lens mostly underwater due to its versatility whenever I might find both macro and wide subjects on the same dive as I’m unable to change lenses in the ocean but I prefer to use my other lenses above the water.
Sony 16mm f/2.8 – The lens from which I’ve got the highest mileage so far. I’ve used it for underwater wide angle – with and without the fisheye converter, street and landscapes, with and without filters.
Sony VCL-ECF2 Fisheye Converter – Which I mount on the 16mm for wider shooting of large subjects underwater – big sharks, manta rays, wrecks. One important principle of shooting underwater is to be as close as possible to the subject so wide angle lenses are important for large subjects with accurate clarity and colour.
Zeiss Touit 50mm f/2.8 Macro – For above and below the water surface.
Tripods and Accessories
Sony HVL-F45RM speed light (not pictured) – Just purchased to be used primarily for wildlife and macro scenes.
Magmod Magbeam Wildlife Kit Light (not pictured) – Just purchased for filling flash on my wildlife shooting.
Optex OPM1780G tripod/monopod – A basic tripod, below 100 USD, but one that I’ve used, abused and loved so far. I took it inside the ocean, battling waves to shoot those long exposures of stilt fishermen in Sri Lanka (a picture that got me an international award) – the screws are rusted, the legs are sticky, but it’s still going fine!
Sirui K-10X Ball Head (not pictured) – Just purchased to allow me easier tracking of wildlife and panning shots with the tripod and my new 200-600 lens.
Joby GorillaPod Mini Tripod (not pictured).
Shoot timer remote control.
Neewer 6×8 inch softbox (not pictured) for wildlife close encounters.
Hoya ND400, ND16 and ND8 for landscape shots, though I find myself using the ND400 90% of the time for my long exposure shots. I also got the following filters from family members who were film pro photographers and I am still experimenting with Hoya PL-CIR (linear polariser), Panagor coated 1A, Kenlock 80A, 82B, Cross-Screen, Rainbow, Sunny-Cross, Chromo Blue, Chromo Violet, Chromo Red and 5R.
Nauticam NA-6000 case with a 180o viewfinder, an M16 vacuum valve and a 2-handle Flexitray – currently out for periodic maintenance.
Nauticam 4.33-inch dome port.
Nauticam macro port 45 with knob and focus gear.
Nauticam Compact Macro Converter CMC-1 with a Nauticam M67 flip dioptre holder.
Two Inon S-2000 strobes with spherical diffusers – I love how compact but powerful these strobes are!
Two Fix neo lights with 1000 and 3000 lumen heads and a triple filter system for video – I find the red filter is also very. useful for approaching shy subjects in night dives.
Nauticam float arms (not pictured) – Two 90x170mm and two 70x300mm.
Scubapro Chromis dive computer.
Nautilus lifeline radio/GPS emitter (not pictured).
Mavic Air Fly More combo kit.
B&W Outdoor cases type 5000 hardcase.
Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW II (just purchased – not pictured).
Neewer Sling Backpack Case 24.9 x 20 x 42.9 cm.
Drone pit stop case.
Case Logic shoulder bag.
Hardware & Software
I do everything on my HP Spectre x360 13 laptop. I edit mostly in Lightroom CC with the occasional specific intervention in Photoshop, where I still have a lot to learn.
I started Wantok Photography in 2017 in Solomon Islands. “Wantok” is a Melanesian pidgin word derived from the English “One Talk”. In the local culture, it refers to a close friendship based on a common language.
In a world that is increasingly inter-connected, I feel photography is the universal language (our wantok) and it is a powerful vector of emotions and ideas.
My rationale is to promote environmental conservation and help preserve the beauty of our natural capital from the challenges of climate change and human activity. This is a non-profit effort; any profits, for example from print sales, are directed to selected charities with a focus on ocean conservation.