German Model & Dive Master Julia Pretzl

In episode #30, host Brett Stanley is chatting with Underwater Model Julia Pretzl. Julia’s adventure began whilst living in Thailand working as a Dive Master, when one of her clients asked her to model underwater for them – and she was hooked.

They chat about what’s like modelling 60ft under the water, her techniques to get the best out of a shoot, and how being a dive master has given her some great skills to keep herself safe at depth.

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About Julia Pretzl – German Underwater Model & Dive Master

Julia Pretzl is an underwater model and dive master currently living in Germany. She spends her time modelling for photographers and teaching workshops about underwater portrait photography.



Podcast Transcript

Ep 30 – Julia Pretzl

Brett Stanley: [00:00:00] welcome back to the underwater podcast. And this week we’re passing off the mask and regulator and chatting with underwater model Julia pretzl. Julia is adventure began whilst living in Thailand, working as a dive master. When one of our clients asked her to model for him and she was hooked. We chat about what it’s like modeling at 60 feet under the water, her techniques to get the best out of a photo shoot. And how being a dive master has given us some great skills to keep herself safe at depth. All right. Let’s dive in.  Julie, I welcome to the underwater podcast.

Julia Pretzl: [00:00:33] Hey Brad. Thanks for having me. I’m really happy to be here.

Brett Stanley: [00:00:36] Well, it’s, it’s great to have you here. And so I’ve known about your, your modeling work for a little while now, just because we’re in the same sort of Facebook groups and, and we know some of the same people,  and it’s amazing, you, you kind of get these beautiful shots where you’re modeling and you’re out deep in the ocean, somewhere on a sh on a rec or on some sort of reef.

It looks like a tough sort of stuff. How did you get into being an underwater model?

Julia Pretzl: [00:00:58] Um, actually by accident, um, I was working in Thailand for, at that time as a dive master for a German dive school. And one of our customers was, um, an underwater photographer that I used to show her on the dive sites there. And. We did not get along at all in the beginning, I thought he was an arrogant guy and he thought I was incompetent.

And, but at some point we just started to like, get to know each other and his family. And, um, then he asked me if I wanted to shoot with him and the water. And I said, yeah, that sounds like a great idea. So we just went to like the shallow water right next to the dive school and realized it’s just not working like.

Buoyancy wise, I couldn’t stand the water. I couldn’t hold my breath. I couldn’t hold my eyes. So we agreed to meet the next day and I’m going to go practice in the pool. And then the next day we grabbed some friends of mine, um, who were dive instructors at that time and also working with me. And they were basically the first safety divers they had.

And we just went to like, let’s say 12 meters, 10 to 12 meters. And I was having a weight belt on and we were just trying to like lay me down flat on sand. Right in between corals and massive rocks. And that was basically the first shooting. And then I saw the pictures afterwards and I was like, Oh, I really need to practice a lot more.

It was terrible. Like, my dress was all over the place. My hair was all over the place. Actually my expression, like my facial expression was kind of fine, but like everything else just didn’t work. And, um, so we did another shooting which went a lot better and actually, um, was featured in a German. Oh, a website, like a newspaper website.

of all the pictures they could have taken. They used that one where you barely see my face and everything looks weird, but like I’m with my second shooting older, he made it on a website of a newspaper. So that’s cool. And, um, um, Yeah. I was quite surprised, so did not expect that. And then afterwards we just met every now and then in Germany and pools to practice.

And then uh, when I was living back in Thailand, again, I had some other friends of mine I was working with. And so that’s where the pictures, um, where we got the pictures from like the rec shooting and the one that had sailed rock with the white dress. So that was my. There was two shoots at sail rock, which is like an incredible dive site in Qatar talent and two shots at the wreck.

And, um, at this point we’ve already been so much better. Like we’ve watched videos from Benjamin phenomenon, which you also had on your podcast, right?

Brett Stanley: [00:03:14] Yeah. Yeah. Ben’s amazing.

Julia Pretzl: [00:03:16] Yeah, I like, I saw his videos of, uh, you made in Bali and Fiji with this underwater models. And that’s basically where we started to realize, like, that’s what we need to know.

That’s what we need to take care of. Like, we were all dive professionals and we were working a lot at this time. So we knew everything about diving, but we had no idea about like putting weights on a model and safety precautions. So we had to like meet a couple of times and make plans and try stuff out in the shallow waters.

And. It was just such an amazing time, like just trying different things. See what works, which doesn’t. And, um, Benjamin from Ron also said like in one of the videos that it’s not about getting like the best professionals in their area, it’s about like the most dedicated ones that are really involved in the pro in the, in the project.

And like, I feel we definitely had that, that we went on their boat. We had so much equipment. We had so much energy. We were laughing the whole boat ride and. Talked about everything we want to do and then went down. And the only thing we didn’t calculate in at the sail rock shooting was the amount of other divers in the water.

Like it was our full boat, which was like 40 people. And then we had like, at some point there was six boats. Behind hours. So that was like more than a hundred or 200 other divers. So we had bubbles everywhere. We had other divers in between me and the photographer that we had to maneuver out of the way, like to tell them stuff, filming in her face.

I know it’s weird seeing a girl at whatever it was. I think 24 meters at that point in a dress with no scuba gear, just like leaning on a piece of rock and. Smiling to a guy with a camera. Like, I know it’s weird seeing that, but don’t fill me in between. Like, we are on a schedule where we don’t have unlimited time at that depth.

Um,

Brett Stanley: [00:04:51] it was like an attraction, like they’d been put on for them to be able to see this thing underwater.

Julia Pretzl: [00:04:56] and like, it was funny because every time I had my mask on, like I could actually see what was going on. And every time I put my mask on, there was like more divers around us and all I could see, you know, what? I was like the big guys behind the mask, which is usually like, I think I had to look out when I was working as a dive master.

Like if guys have big eyes, they something wrong with them and you need to take care of them. And I was just seeing big one. Yeah. Right. And I was just seeing big as everyone. I was like, Oh, please guys. It’s fine. It’s fine. Just move along. We’re all good here. I’m not dying.

Brett Stanley: [00:05:27] So, how was that? How long were you sort of on that? Rockfall with all those people around you.

Julia Pretzl: [00:05:32] Um, I think the total dive was about 40 minutes the first time. And then the second time. About 35 maybe. Um, Um, cause for the first, uh, for the first day we had a ponytail, like an extra spare tank just for me. And the second time it was empty. So we had to share from one tank with one of the safety divers. So we had less time down there and

Brett Stanley: [00:05:51] So how did that work for you? So you’re basically holding onto this rock and you have your pony bottle, which is, you know, has its own little regulator. Did you hide that, that tank somewhere behind you so you can get rid of it? Or did you have a safety diver bringing it in for you?

Julia Pretzl: [00:06:06] Um, no, we didn’t have anywhere to place it and secure it. Um, so my safety diver brought it to me. Like in other locations that might be possible to just tie it to something beneath you and put it in the back of your dress so you can reach it every time. But I would use that more of like a backup, um, cause if there’s something wrong with it until the safety diver realizes I can’t grab a hold of it.

Like no. I’d rather have a safety diver coming to me and they already know that everything’s working. And, um, yeah, it was a bit weird the first time to like, be down there without air, like as a diver, you always get told, like never stopped breathing, breathe continuously. Don’t hold your breath. Always make sure you have enough air.

And then once you’re down there modeling you have no air, you hold your breath. I mean, there’s safety precautions. You gotta take. Of course. Um, Like, um, I wasn’t just standing on the drug, like my leg was tied to the rug. Um, so I couldn’t accidentally, um, like with a full lung of air, which I didn’t do anyway.

I didn’t want to be completely inflated, but like with a big amount of air in your lungs, you always get positively buoyant. And as a girl with a bit more fat, At that point, like, um, more positively born than I am now. So we had to wait myself down as well with a weight belt and make sure I there’s absolutely no way I can accidentally get to the surface.

Um, because as every diver, now, if you descend from it quite a bit of depth to the surface, the air in your lungs expands and, um, Like ruptures in your lungs and walls and everything can happen. So that is for every shooting, the main, the main thing we take care of. And yeah, I always have a knife with me as well to cut the string in case of an absolute emergency.

So I can get to the surface, just not by accident.

Brett Stanley: [00:07:40] Yeah. And so I guess that’s the thing too. So if you’re, if you’re posing and you’re kind of lost in the pose and say, you’re not attached to something and you don’t have a mask on, you could because you can’t see very well, you could possibly be, be slowly ascending to the surface and not know about it.

Julia Pretzl: [00:07:57] Yeah, that was that’s what happened? Um, the first times, um, not when I was laying in sand, but when I was, standing on the drug, I did have a weight belt on, and I did have the leash tied to my leg, um, to make sure I couldn’t rise further than like 30 centimeters ish. Um, but I did, I did float to the surface, like quite awhile, um, like the whole 30 centimeters and would have definitely gone more.

Um, I just realized because the string got a bit painful. And that’s when I realized I’ve already written like 37 minutes. And if that’s like a 24 minute step, if that’s like, if you rise 10 meters, like that’s pretty bad. Um,

Um,

Brett Stanley: [00:08:30] your lungs are going to expand quite quickly in that depth.

Julia Pretzl: [00:08:33] Uh, Uh, Lang lungs is so delicate. Like it’s not like a balloon that you just inflate and deflate a couple of times until it explodes.

It’s just like always, especially with working in a water, like you want to be rather on the completely safe side than sorry, because. Like,

Brett Stanley: [00:08:48] yeah, you only get one chance at it.

Julia Pretzl: [00:08:49] yeah, it was really hard to solve problems underwater.

Brett Stanley: [00:08:52] So, so what was it like for you when you, when you did that first? Kind of modeling session when you gave that regulator away to your safety diver, was there like a bit of a moment of panic or were you, were you pretty prepared for holding your breath?

Julia Pretzl: [00:09:07] um, I would say I was. Definitely prepared to hold my breath. And I wasn’t worried at all. Like that’s when you work with like good friends of yours and you know, their qualifications, you’ve seen them out of work. You know, the buoyancy is on point they’re super reliable, like. I was not worried at all. I was the only thing I was worried was my own performance.

Like if I would get a ride, if I could do the poses and get some nice expressions and make it a nice shot, I was definitely more worried about my performance and that maybe I wouldn’t be able to hold my breath as long as would be. Um,

Brett Stanley: [00:09:40] Be

Julia Pretzl: [00:09:40] ideal. Yeah. So. But that’s what I have with every, like, that’s the only thoughts I have before any shooting I do.

It’s just, what am I going to do? How am I going to do it? Um, and then, yeah, just doing my best. And, um, but it’s usually my performance that, um, I’m thinking about and not about the safety divers or anything, because the way we pick them and we train them, like, They’re all professionals. They all, Dave, every day, they are responsible for teaching students and everything and newbie divers.

So I know they’re good at their job.

Brett Stanley: [00:10:10] Yeah. So that’s the thing. So you’ve got the diving side of it all dialed in because you know, you’ve, you’ve got such a good team and you’ve got so much confidence in that. So it’s just your actual modeling performance that is concerning. Yeah. Because everything else is so, so solid. Um, and so have you done modeling before, like have you done modeling on dry land?

Julia Pretzl: [00:10:30] Uh, yeah, every now and then in between. And, um, for example, when we do the Bali workshops that we do every year and this time in Croatia, I’m doing the above modeling as well, like, um, finance news. And we have like shootings on the beach. We are shooting for the forest in pools and everything. Um, and. I feel like I, I get really good at it by now, but I feel like I’m, the water is where my absolute strength is.

Brett Stanley: [00:10:53] right before you had done the underwater, had you done posing on land or was the underwater your first experience at like modeling for a photo?

Julia Pretzl: [00:11:02] Um, I’ve had a photo shooting before when I was like, um, maybe 18. That was like four years, five years before they’re on the water. Um, I was terrible. Like. I saw the pictures and I was like, this is not my thing. I’m not good at this.

Brett Stanley: [00:11:15] And

Julia Pretzl: [00:11:16] So they came up.

Brett Stanley: [00:11:16] did you find that when you went underwater, if you kind of clicked a little more, because you knew you knew how to move underwater and you knew what kind of looked good?

Julia Pretzl: [00:11:23] Yeah, definitely like above the water. Um, I’m quite clumsy. Like I keep falling over my own feeds and, um, I just kind of feel awkward. Like, I don’t know. I don’t have grace above the water at all when I’m underwater. Um, I don’t know what it is, but every time I’m underwater, I feel weightless. I feel elegant.

I feel graceful. And. Ours have this kind of soundtrack playing in my head, which is kind of like a dude kind of a ballerina

Brett Stanley: [00:11:49] Oh,

Julia Pretzl: [00:11:50] kind of song. And that’s like the soundtrack in my head that I moved to and everything just kind of works. Like I don’t know what it is, but I think that’s also a reason why I enjoy modeling underwater so much because that’s just a totally different side of me.

Brett Stanley: [00:12:03] I think, yeah, I think you’re totally right. Cause it’s, it’s, it’s that feeling of the water and that’s what the water does to you in terms of. You know, luxury is. So now you, you can only kind of hear your own thoughts and your own heartbeat and you’re down there by yourself. So that’s where the, you know, the theme song kind of comes in because it gives you something to move to.

But it’s also the water I think gives you, it gives you some structure. Like I’m a big guy, I’m a stocky guy, but I feel more graceful under the water than I do on land.

Julia Pretzl: [00:12:32] Yeah. It’s I dunno. It’s just comforting as well. Like, um, I think for me, like when I started diving, David became for me, what is meditation for others? Um, it’s just, when you’re underwater, there is nothing else to do. There is no worrying about your paycheck. There is no worrying about what you’re going to, what’s going to happen on the evening.

Um, it’s just you and the water doing your thing. And that kind of has been always the way so on land. Um, I’m over thinking sometimes and I’m stressed. Um, and underwater it’s gone. It’s like, it’s me. I’m underwater. There’s nothing I have to worry about. There’s nothing that needs to be done right now. All I have to do is move to the song in my head and that’s it.

Brett Stanley: [00:13:11] Yeah. I mean, I think it keeps you very present, right? There’s no thinking about the future or the past. It’s just now

Julia Pretzl: [00:13:16] Yeah,

Brett Stanley: [00:13:17] that’s beautiful. Yeah. And it’s, it’s so interesting that that’s where you prefer to model. I mean, I hear that a lot with, with, with people who are models underwater, that it’s much easier down there for them than on land.

Whereas if you, if like, so I, I work with. Models and clients all the time. And if I work with someone who’s a quite an experienced land model and I take them under water to them, a lot of the time it’s so foreign and they feel very awkward and, and sort of uncoordinated

Julia Pretzl: [00:13:49] Yeah. I mean, it’s just a total different way of posing as well. Like you have. On land. You’ve got gravity and especially models know how to move their bodies, but on the water with almost no gravity. And, um, if you have too much in your lungs to keep floating to the surface, the water might sting in your eyes.

Your hair is all over the place. Like there’s a lot of things that might be very distracting. And especially opening your eyes. Cause like on land, you see clearly if you don’t use glasses or contact lenses, but underwater, if you open your eyes, like, it feels like there’s a hand covering your eyes. I feel, um, cause everything is just completely unsure, but it feels like there’s something on your eye, I mean is, but like the way the water breaks

Brett Stanley: [00:14:29] the water on your eyes.

Julia Pretzl: [00:14:31] now it’s more the way it’s, um, everything’s disoriented.

Um,

Brett Stanley: [00:14:34] Yeah. Like you’ve got a cloth over your eyes or something. Yeah. So you’re looking through something and it’s making it distorted and, and disorientating,

Julia Pretzl: [00:14:42] Like if it’s super bright on the surface and I go under water and shallow water, for example, in the pool and the , the water is just so bright. Like I’m opening my eyes and I’m like, Ugh, it’s so bright down here. My feature is fine, but like, that was actually one of the things that took me awhile to get used to like, especially in.

In chlorinated pools. Like my eyes would burn would be red all the time in the ocean, the first one or two shootings as well. Like I would put eyedrops in afterwards and wash them out. Um, but over time, like I’m doing it for five years now. Like I don’t feel it at all anymore. I’m so surprised. Um, like I just opened my eyes on the water and there’s no burning, there’s no stinging.

It’s just the weird disoriented vision, but everything else just completely adjusted to it. And. I think that’s really funny how our bodies to a degree can really adapt to the environment.

Brett Stanley: [00:15:28] Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s the salty water. I mean, it’s so my, my studio pool here is salt water, but it’s a very low salinity. It’s pretty close to the tears that come out of your own eyes. So your eyes don’t tend to feel it, but in the ocean and I’ve done this myself is when I’ve opened my eyes. There’s a real kind of shock.

Cause the salt. Hitting your eye, hitting your eyes, those kind of sting a little bit, but you’re, you’re getting used to that.

Julia Pretzl: [00:15:52] Yeah, completely. Like I don’t feel it anymore. and I think that also comes with like, our bodies are able to adapt so much as long as we relax and let it do its own thing. Like. The thing I’ve done the first time was I was rubbing my eyes. I was putting water in, I was trying to get the salt out, but then I realized our eyes have tears.

Like if I relaxed and just let my eyes handle it, they just started to produce so much tears and it just

Brett Stanley: [00:16:15] It would flush it away.

Julia Pretzl: [00:16:16] yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:16:16] Yeah. So what about water up the nose? Did you, do you have a problem with that initially or do you still have a problem with that?

Julia Pretzl: [00:16:24] I still have a problem with that. I mean, it comes with the job. It’s a. It’s as soon as you put your head backwards a bit and the air is escaping your nose, it just floods with water completely. Um, it’s uncomfortable still. Um, but I’m completely used to it. And, um, the only thing is like, Don’t try to swallow it underwater.

As long as you don’t have a regulator in, I’ve done that once. Like I was getting water up and it flipped my mouth and then I opened my mouth and the other water came in. Then I closed my mouth and tried to swallow it. And I almost choked. I was like, coughing, already signaling their safety. They have a come here now and he gave me the regulator and with a regulator you can cough.

And then that was sorted, but that was like a one experience on me. And I’ve never tried falling water underwater

again.

Brett Stanley: [00:17:05] but that’s a tough one too. And I get this a lot with clients, so they’ll, they’ll go onto the water and they’ll put their head back and their sinuses will fill with water. And then when they come up, their first instinct is to breathe in through their nose. And suddenly they’re choking on water and it took me a couple of years to work out why this was happening.

I thought, are you, are you sucking in water through your mouth somehow? And then I realized after I actually did, because I like to kind of not model in front of the camera, but I like to do the things that I asked my models to do so that I understand what it’s like. And I did an upside down thing, got water in my sinuses, came up and I had to wait for all that water to drain out of my nose before I could breathe in.

Julia Pretzl: [00:17:44] Yeah,

Brett Stanley: [00:17:45] And it made total sense, but it took me so long to understand that

Julia Pretzl: [00:17:47] it’s just, I’ve been getting it up my nose and then like having it run out with them on the surface, that’s totally fine. But what sometimes happens is like two or three hours later, I would look down to tie my shoes. I would look down to pick up my handbag and there is just a flood of water exiting my sinuses and tripping out of my nose.

And I’m just like, where did that come from? How is that much water in my head? Like

Brett Stanley: [00:18:10] Still hours later. Yeah. Where was it? Yeah, it was interesting if, if we, if we’ve done a photo shoot or something and we’ll go out for lunch or something afterwards and, you know, be looking at the menu and then it all just comes out onto the menu or something, it’s all, it’s quite embarrassing, but, but that’s, that’s interesting.

So, so when you’re under the water and your, you know, you’ve, you’ve filled your sinuses full of it, full of water because you’ve done a move and then you’re going back to the regulator. I guess you need to be able to have enough air in your lungs to be able to blow all that water out again.

Julia Pretzl: [00:18:40] I don’t blow it out. I just leave it there. I just breathe through my mouth.

Brett Stanley: [00:18:43] Right. So you just, the whole time you’re doing your session under the water, when you’re like, you know, 10, 20 meters down, you’re just leaving your sinuses full of water.

Julia Pretzl: [00:18:52] Yeah, cause there’s no point. Cause as soon as I look up, it’s gonna fill again and then I have the uncomfortable feeling again. So I just rather leave it there and yeah, I mean, it’s not bothering me. It’s just like the first minute when it happens, because it feels so weird and then I don’t recognize it anymore and it’s just gone.

Brett Stanley: [00:19:08] So what’s your process for, let’s say, going to a dive site, getting out to where you’re going to be posing and posing. Can you talk us through kind of the workflow you have for, for actually doing a photo shoot?

Julia Pretzl: [00:19:21] Sure. Um, so usually we go to the dive site the day before the shooting already just to like check conditions, check for Koreans, check the temperature. Um, When I’m working with my favorite photographer that I’m doing all the workshops with, um, we dive together and, uh, like together, we check for beautiful spots of possible locations.

Um, we also look for hazards, like if there’s, if that’s a place where a lot of boats made anchor at some point, um, if there’s lots of waves, if there’s like one thing I really don’t like is surgeons. Cause if there’s a lot of them, you just don’t know where to put your hands and feet

Brett Stanley: [00:19:52] Oh, yeah. Yep. Can you see them? If you’re, if you’ve got your mask off, can you see that they’re there or do you need to know beforehand?

Julia Pretzl: [00:19:59] I need to know beforehand.

Um, so have you checked out everything and then we go back and we talk with the whole team, like with the captain. So he knows exactly where he needs to anchor the boat. We talk with all the safety divers. If it’s a workshop, we already talk with all the photographers that are going to be participating on that shoot.

And, um, so the next day we do a briefing and we talk about the depth, um, Um, what else are we talking about? The depth, the dive time, the conditions, um, the visibility and, um, well, like I always prepare my outfits the day before, sometimes like until 2:00 AM, if it’s like something random and, um, and then we just head on the boat, get to the dive side, everyone sets up their equipment.

Um, if I have my own equipment, I’ll set that up and get ready. If not, I just share it with my safety diver. It depends on the location and the conditions really. And, um, once everyone’s good to go, everyone feels comfortable. Everyone has checked the camera. Um, cause if you realize on the shooting, when we already at 20 meters, that your camera’s not working properly, like batteries done, you forgot your memory card or whatever, like that shooting is done for you.

And it happened,

Brett Stanley: [00:21:01] right.

Julia Pretzl: [00:21:01] it happened before a couple of times with participants

Brett Stanley: [00:21:04] It’s happened to me before, when I’ve, I’ve gotten down there and realized that like I’ve said, one of my switches wrong was wrong. I was on manual focus instead of auto focus. And that was like, okay, that the whole dives down. Yeah.

Julia Pretzl: [00:21:14] yeah. Yeah. All check the cameras before we get on the boat so we can grab something. And then we check it again on the boat. If it’s everything’s working. And then, um, everyone just gets in the water and everyone teams up with their buddy, like every foot, like safe diving rules, you always stay for the buddy.

So all photographers are grouped into, and I’m grouped with my safety diver and the second safety divers group of the main photographer with the Christian. Um, and in case anything goes wrong. One safety diver. Yeah, it’s taken care of for the other safety diver and Christian’s going to drop his camera and take care of me.

Um, we never had to do that. Um, but it’s always good to have a plan B cause like if the safety diver has a problem, then I have a problem. Cause then there’s two people with a problem and then you need two people to solve it.

Brett Stanley: [00:21:58] Yeah. And you can never be too prepared with this sort of stuff, you know, and what’s the saying is what is it and hope for the best prepare for the worst.

Julia Pretzl: [00:22:04] Absolutely. Absolutely like stuff did go wrong. Not for me, but like for other underwater models. And sometimes it’s just like being unprepared or being unconscious. Uh, how do you say in English if you’re not careful enough

Brett Stanley: [00:22:20] like on a way, um,

Julia Pretzl: [00:22:21] Yeah. And for one girl, like a thing, she had a cramp in her, her voice vocal chords.

Like, um, she died because she couldn’t breathe on the water and until they got to have something like, it’s terrible, but that’s something you can’t really prepare for

Brett Stanley: [00:22:35] Yeah, so she had a, like a, her, uh, her windpipe closed. Is that what you’re saying? And she said she couldn’t breathe, even if she was on a regulator.

Julia Pretzl: [00:22:42] As far as I gathered, yeah. Um, And apparently she was like, exhausted. Uh, she’d done too many dives a day. I don’t, I don’t know. She was probably, she should have taken a break or something. So, um, after I heard that I’m always like, I’m even more careful now and keep listening to my body. And if it tells me something’s wrong, I give it a second or two.

And then if it’s just getting worse, I’m like, no, like no guys let’s pack up. Let’s get to the surface. And we can try again later.

Brett Stanley: [00:23:07] something that I, that I’ve definitely found with, with professional underwater models or a very experienced underwater models, is that they know how to listen to their body. They know when their body’s telling them that this is not a good thing to be doing. Whereas I find people who are just starting will push their limits too far and maybe ignore the warning signs of their own body, whether they’re too tired or they’re too cold or they’re out of breath, that they will push things harder.

Cause they’re, they’re, they’re not as experienced as in what can happen.

Julia Pretzl: [00:23:37] Yeah. I mean, your body is your biggest ally. Like if it tells you something, you got to listen to it. And the thing is when you’re like overexcited and over hyped up for the shooting, um, your rush was so much adrenaline and everything like you might not, you might not realize what your body’s trying to tell you.

And. So, what I usually do before I dive is I just let the photographers talk about their stuff and just give myself a minute or two, listen to some music, relax, do some breathing, and just trying to feel inside me. If I’m like. My buddy never told me, Oh my God, you’re not okay. It’s always like, yeah, we grade, we get this, we feel good.

We are prepared. Um, I only had one shooting that I had to, like, I couldn’t even start because I just could not equalize. I don’t know what it wasn’t that day, but I woke up tired and then. Didn’t feel well. And then we were heading towards the shoot. We were already in the water and I just could not get down.

So I tried a couple of times, and then I was like, guys, this is not happening today. I don’t want to like ruptured eardrum. And if I’m already not able to descend, um, I shouldn’t be down there anyway on that day.

Brett Stanley: [00:24:39] Yeah.

Julia Pretzl: [00:24:39] And. We had, that was during a workshop in Bali and we already trained the backup model.

So they just took her and then I got to relax for that hour, but yeah, I’m all for pushing my limits. Um, but I need to know my limits before I can push them.

Brett Stanley: [00:24:54] yeah,

Julia Pretzl: [00:24:54] for beginners, I feel it’s, they want to go too fast, too quickly to heart, and then things can go wrong and. I mean, as for safety stuff, like I could hold my breath for longer than, um, I’m using that underwater.

So when I’m already feeling like, um, my body signaled me, I have too much carbon dioxide in my lungs. I should breathe. Then I can push it for another minute, maybe. Um, but then it’s already getting hard, keeping my facial expression under check and, um, I’m always signaling my safety diver early enough. So I know I have at least like 30 seconds to a minute.

Um, of extra air that I can hold comfortably. Um, in case there’s something happening, like it’s just, when you signaling you’re completely out of air, if you’re signaling your safety diver, then, and he looks away for a second or two, or it looks at a fish,

Brett Stanley: [00:25:39] it’s too late.

Julia Pretzl: [00:25:40] I mean, it’s not too late. You can hold your breath for way longer than it’s comfortable, but it’s just, I I’ve had one girl.

Um, And she just panicked then, like she was holding her breath for the maximum and the safety, David, I don’t know what happened. Like he was swimming, but he wasn’t swimming fast enough. Cause he didn’t realize she’s completely out, out, out. And she just panicked and was like, Oh my, and then everything was fine and sorted.

But um, that’s why you shouldn’t push your limits too hard in the beginning.

Brett Stanley: [00:26:05] No. Exactly.

And then you should, he keeps something in reserve, right? You need to have like a plan B. Yeah. So, so, so kind of, if you’ve got a two minute breath hold, then maybe posing for a minute, a minute and a half is enough.

Julia Pretzl: [00:26:17] Yeah. I mean, you always got to put your mass spec on any way in between to, um, um, talk to the divers and see if they’re happy with the pose. If they want to adjust the fabric. If like at some point we had like the coolest shooting ever in Bali and there was like just fish swimming between me and the photographer.

Which I didn’t see. Cause I had my mask off and I was posing and I felt like this is probably the best pose I’ve ever done. And the hair was great and I felt the dress floating around. And then, then we had to repeat it all over again. Cause there was just too many fish

Brett Stanley: [00:26:45] Oh,

Julia Pretzl: [00:26:45] the covering my face.

Brett Stanley: [00:26:47] and too much wildlife is not usually a big problem for these sorts of shoots, but that’s a problem to have.

Julia Pretzl: [00:26:53] If like the whole face is covered by a fish that it’s just hard editing the fish out, I guess. yeah, it’s just so funny quotes, like when I’m holding my breath and I don’t have a mask on, like, I can kind of guess where the photographers are. Cause they’re like black dots with weird arms hanging off them.

So the camera housing. Um, but I can’t see what they look like. I can’t see what, like they, they wouldn’t be able to tell me anything I should do better or

Brett Stanley: [00:27:15] no hand signals or anything,

or,

Julia Pretzl: [00:27:18] I wouldn’t see it. So, um, we do a couple of shots. They get the time and I get my regulator back, put my mask on and then we, we see how it goes, how it went.

Brett Stanley: [00:27:26] so how are you communicating if you’re doing it? If you say you’ve done one session and then you’re communicating with the photographers and the divers, how are they letting you know what you’re doing and what needs to change?

Julia Pretzl: [00:27:37] Um, they’re the points to their face. So I know it’s my expression or they, they move their arms around their head. So I know it’s the hair. Um, sometimes the photographer would swim towards me and adjust the dress because. Like dresses are temperamental underwater. You think they just like slowly sink down and move a bit and are super elegant and in place, but they just keep moving upwards, especially if you’re shooting, like on the top of the dive side, like let’s say, they’ve said it’s 20 meters and you’re shooting at 10 meters and there’s just in that moment, I have a swimming beneath you then for the next five minutes, your dress has got to pop up all the time because of the bubbles, the divers leave.

Brett Stanley: [00:28:10] And the current, I guess as well, like a year, you kind of getting caught in currents and stuff. Are you fighting currents while you’re down there?

Julia Pretzl: [00:28:16] No, I’m just moving with them. Um, we had almost no currency in Thailand, but in Bali at some point we had a bit more and then. For that shooting. I was tied with my leg. Um, the leash was probably like five meters long and I was tied in between this massive rocks to my left and right. And, um, the leash was security.

Like I think it was 12 kilograms of, of lead on the bottom. So I could not go up. I was safe like that, but I kept being pushed into the rocks and left and right. And I’m on the video. You can see moving like two meters to the left, two meters to the right. I felt like a balloon in the wind. And then I got, uh, attached to Carla something.

And I had like this massive rash on my knee,

Brett Stanley: [00:28:56] Oh,

Julia Pretzl: [00:28:57] but lasted for a good week. Something like that. Must’ve been there,

Brett Stanley: [00:29:00] So was that like a constant current where it’s, it’s just pushing you one direction or was it like swell where it’s kind of throwing you around?

Julia Pretzl: [00:29:06] swell to the left and to the right. I mean, it’s kind of funny cause like your dress moves in a way. It wouldn’t otherwise and you hair as well, which you can use to your advantage. Um, You just gotta be careful not to bump into stuff. Actually, actually it did fall off something like we did this amazing shooting, um, at, um, a dive site called Sancton temple in Bali, which is like a lot of statutes that are just on the bottom of the ocean and they slowly start to grow coral on them.

And they’re beautiful. And so Christian had the idea of, um, uh, for fine art nude photo, um, where I was sitting on one of these, um, Next to the statues. And the current was so strong. He kept pushing me off it. So I kept falling in the sand. And the only thing that was holding me down, there was some weights that were placed on my lap because I couldn’t use a weight belt.

They would have been way too visible. So I’ve just placed it on my lap. And I was clinging onto the, to the side of the rock with like my right hand and tried to move my left hand. Um, for the photographers and that just kept dragging my fingernails into this, this stone. And it just kept falling off, like there’s pictures of movie, I’m just lying behind the statute and I’m like,

Brett Stanley: [00:30:07] Oh, there’s some great, like, like outtakes, like behind the scenes shots of you kind of falling off.

Julia Pretzl: [00:30:11] yeah, but as it’s the final nutrient, nobody will see that

Brett Stanley: [00:30:14] Yeah, no, cause she probably see everything.

Well, that’s interesting. And that brings up another question is if you are doing like dresses or if you’re doing nude stuff and you need weights, um, where are you putting them?

I know for that when you had it in your lap, but I guess you had to pose in a certain way to make that work.

Julia Pretzl: [00:30:30] Yeah. Um, well, that’s, uh, it’s a good way to like, think about positions and, um, that in advance. So you already know what or which bits you use them. Um, And for some shoots, I just pulled away the ramp, my leg, or one of the legs, if it’s like, um, like for the parachute shooting where I’m wearing this massive parachute dress, then the, just the broad top.

Um, I wake up, we’ll just squeeze the skin around my belly too much. And, um, it wouldn’t be covered. And for that, I just put weights on my leg. Um, so I can stay

Brett Stanley: [00:30:57] a weight belt around your leg.

Julia Pretzl: [00:30:58] so basically it’s, um, weights place on the sand with the leash and then the leash gets attached to my leg. So this way I can move up and down, depending on how much air I have in my lungs.

Um, and for other shoots I use, um, how do you call these metal things they around flat and have a hole in the middle and you use them in between screws and wood.

Brett Stanley: [00:31:16] Oh, a washer.

Julia Pretzl: [00:31:17] Yeah, this one’s so went to my local handy store and like two kilograms worth of fees. Cause they’re like really flat and heavy. And depending on the shootings at that location, I can put these on a really slim belt.

Brett Stanley: [00:31:30] Okay. And then you can put that belt wherever you want.

Julia Pretzl: [00:31:32] Yeah. So, um, um, for some dresses you could even Sue pockets in and put these in there. Um, But yeah, cause I feel like the white belts you get in dive schools, they are just like, they’re made for quick release and they are super sturdy and heavy and the whites are super big.

So I can’t really use that for anything with a skin tight dress. So that wouldn’t, I mean, you could edit it out, but it’s just easier the other way

Brett Stanley: [00:31:54] Yeah, I think the more you do it practically before the shoot, the easier it is after the shoes.

Julia Pretzl: [00:31:59] Yeah. And also, um, Like these massive weight belts are made for quick release, but if I’m wearing them beneath a dress, I wouldn’t be able to release them anyway.

So there’s no point of dealing with all the shapes that they’re making. I can just tie a, a regular belt around it. And as I said, I usually wear a dive knife, so I can just cut through the fabric in the back and cut the weight belt off

Brett Stanley: [00:32:17] And so where are you hiding the, the, the, the knife, especially if you’re doing an art nude, I guess you’re not.

Julia Pretzl: [00:32:22] Um, at that shoot, the knife was hidden behind the rock.

Brett Stanley: [00:32:25] Okay. It’s always within your reach so that if you need to cut something or release yourself from something. Yeah,

Julia Pretzl: [00:32:31] Yeah. Also the photographers always have one and I’m like, if it’s a long dress, I put it around my leg or my ankle, or I put it in the, in my shirt. Um, like where the arm is in the sleeve. That’s what it’s called.

Brett Stanley: [00:32:44] Have you ever had to cut yourself out of something?

Julia Pretzl: [00:32:46] Yeah, but, um, it was not like, cause we had like a safety issue. It was more that we, um, we just couldn’t release the leash. Like that was the first shooting. Yeah. Cause I was, I kept, um, floating to the surface. So with every bump to the surface, then not get tighter and tighter. And that was the only time we actually used a rope around my leg.

And then from then on we learned and we used Velcro straps.

Brett Stanley: [00:33:08] Okay. So now you have like a, like a surfboard leash kind of

thing.

Yeah. So it’s easy release and it doesn’t get tighter as you, as you pull

Julia Pretzl: [00:33:15] Yeah. And it’s also wider. So there’s not as much pressure on a single spot around your skin.

Brett Stanley: [00:33:21] that’s a bit more comfortable.

Julia Pretzl: [00:33:22] Oh yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:33:23] Yeah. And it gets with the whites as well that you don’t want to not have the weights on because otherwise you’re gonna shoot to the surface. Right.

Julia Pretzl: [00:33:30] Yeah. Um, Like, I feel like men don’t really have these problems because men are usually a bit more muscular. Like if I look at my boyfriend in the pool, all he has to do is stop swimming and he just completely sinks all the way to five meters. If I stopped swimming, like my nose is underwater and the rest of her face is visible and I’m not sinking.

I just have like a different way to volume ratio as a girl. So if I would descend. Let’s say you’re sharing with a safety diver without weights. Like he would have to drag me down. Cause I would just flip back to the surface.

So with weights, like I usually use a kilogram these days, if, for anything like between Sierra aminos and Tammy the step and was one kilogram, I’m just completely neutrally buying.

So all I have to do is wrap my arm around my safety diver, or we hold hands and it just takes me down. Like he doesn’t have to drag me. He doesn’t have to keep me from sinking. It’s just, it’s just easiest option.  Yeah.

Brett Stanley: [00:34:24] Do you ever, um, Do any underwater modeling where you’re not using weights where you’re just breathing out the air that’s in your lungs to help you to sync.

Julia Pretzl: [00:34:31] Oh, yeah. If you’re shooting in just a swimming pool or something, then I’m just completely exhaling and then nursing, but in the ocean, it’s a bit harder because of the, um,

Brett Stanley: [00:34:39] So water buoyancy.

Julia Pretzl: [00:34:41] yeah, that one.

Brett Stanley: [00:34:41] Yeah. Um, that’s amazing. And so what sort of depths are you, are you generally at, are you generally at sort of the 15 to 20 meter depth?

Julia Pretzl: [00:34:49] I’d love to be. Um, but usually when we’re shooting, um, cause I’ve like most photographers, I’ve worked with love shooting with natural light and, um, that’s just best about 15 meters I feel. And so a lot of shootings are between seven and 15 meters. Um, But like my favorite shoots are anything below that like increase show.

We had some shoots at 20 meters and 22 meters. And the deepest of being was in Thailand on actually one of my first shootings, uh, which was 27 meter step. And I don’t know what it is, but like the deep I am, um, the better I look at the pictures as well. Cause like the pressure just pushes your body, like makes it more compact.

Brett Stanley: [00:35:25] Yep. So it’s making you look a little slimmer anyway,

Julia Pretzl: [00:35:28] Yeah. And more muscular.

Brett Stanley: [00:35:30] Yeah. And just for the listeners. So 27 meters is 88 feet. So you’ll, you’ll definitely down there.

Julia Pretzl: [00:35:36] Yeah. so when we were in shooting at the shipwreck at 27 meters, and I was just like mimicking a figurehead above the boat, um, my safety diver came, give me my mask. And then I looked up and I saw how far I actually was away from the surface. Like. That was probably the only time I actually felt like, Oh God, what am I doing?

Like that was like, just for a second, the thought, like, my mom’s gonna hate me. If my, if I die now, my mom is gonna hate me cause I’ve done this stupid thing. And then I realized we’ve planned this for days. Everything’s fine. And I remember my training. I remember my practice. I remembered who I was diving with.

And then I was like, Oh, well actually it’s fine. It’s only 27 meters could be so much worse.

Brett Stanley: [00:36:17] Well, exactly.

And I, and I think, I guess, you know, with that whole diving sort of thing in mind is that it’s not the distance from you to the surface. That’s the problem. It’s the distance of you to your nearest air source, which is your safety diver. And it doesn’t matter what depth you’re at so long as you are at one breath away from your safety diver, then everything’s fine.

Julia Pretzl: [00:36:34] Yeah. I mean, safety divers is, um, It’s a fun thing. Cause like most photographers tell them like some, some of the photographers I work with tell them it’s just swim completely out of the picture. But if you’re shooting like a massive angle, your safety diver can’t swim or wait 10 minutes, like that’s just not enough time to react.

Exactly. So, um, when we were down there, we already checking out like where the safety diver can be in front of like a pretty uni uni background. So it’s easy to Photoshop them out, but usually the safety divers are at least four to five meters away from me. Um, just cause like, even as well with current, like if I’m drifting around a little bit, then I’m always like tubing as much of the left or I meet them through the ride and I just want to have enough space to move.

And yeah, so four to five meters for me is it’s ideal because I see the lemon I’m out of air and it takes them less than five seconds to be. Just next to me.

Brett Stanley: [00:37:23] Cause it’s, there’s, there’s one shot of yours that I saw recently where it is on a shipwreck and you are, and I know with, with underwater and wide angle lenses, you can make things look way smaller than they actually are, and distance is greater, but there’s this shot of you above this shipwreck. And you’re, you’re just kind of floating in front and maybe this is the one you’re talking about, but I’m looking at it.

I’m like, there’s no safety divers. Where is the safety diver? And I know that you’re being safe.

Julia Pretzl: [00:37:49] Then

Brett Stanley: [00:37:50] or photo-shopped out. Exactly. Yeah. So it’s then it’s like that game of like where’s Wally of trying to find the hidden person in the picture somewhere. But for me that was like, Oh man, that is impressive.

Even if those divers were, as you say, like four to five meters away from you, that image was, was totally worth all that effort.

Julia Pretzl: [00:38:09] Thanks.

Brett Stanley: [00:38:10] It’s amazing. Do you have tips for photographers who want to work with, with, someone like yourself? Um, what are the best things they can be doing to make your job easier on these kinds of shoots?

Julia Pretzl: [00:38:22] they should let me plan the dive and me instruct the safety divers. Um, cause like I know what I need and I know what the safety divers need to do and the photographers know what they have to do. So it’s best to let me coordinate and. Like it was so funny and courageous Christian was like, now you’re going to need two kilograms.

And I was like, no, I’m going to use one. And he’s like, no, you bring two. And I was like, dude, you’ve never been a mother before. Like, why are you telling me what to use? so it’s just easier if I do my thing. And then we just cooperate and coordinate, um, the photographer, actually, they don’t like, they don’t need to do too much.

Like they just need to be. Um, making sure that they get cool pictures.

Brett Stanley: [00:39:00] So I guess what you’re saying is that you’re the one experienced with the safety of yourself. So your job. Is to look after yourself and you know exactly what needs to happen there. And with the photographer, they just need to be able to look after themselves and take, take the photos.

Julia Pretzl: [00:39:16] Exactly. Cause like, um, As soon as someone else takes over responsibility for your safety, then if they make a mistake, you have to pay for it. So I made it my mission to figure out everything that could go wrong, everything that I need, everything that, um, would be relevant for shooting. And then I always check, check, check, check, if that’s, um, if that’s fulfilled and then I know I’m good, but if I’d let someone else plan the dive, like obviously they choose the dive sides.

They choose the depth. And I work with that. But, um, like I need to be able to communicate with my safety Dave, and he needs to know my signals. So it does make sense to, for a photographer to tell the safety diver, if she does that, if he does that, um, cause like they are not, they’re not really communicating and the water with each other, but with me,

Brett Stanley: [00:39:56] Otherwise it’s Chinese whispers. Like it’s, it’s you, you are the one who’s going to be communicating with this diverse. So you’re the one that needs to set the signals.

what are you going through with your safety diver? Like what, what sort of signals are you setting out? What sort of, um, precautions are you getting them?

Are you training them with.

Julia Pretzl: [00:40:12] Um, so first there’s like the regular DYFS, uh, dive hand signals, like amount of air come closer, move away. I have a problem with my ears. I have a problem with my mask. I have a problem with my nose. I’m cold. I’m okay. How much air do you have left? Like that’s what I’m asking the safety damask. They do always check, but I want to know how much time I have left. Um, so that’s the basic stuff. And then just like, I tell them how to move my dress. So if I’m pointing towards my dress, they already know where and how to move it. Cause sometimes when I’m tied up and the dress is super long and then I can’t reach to the bottom

Brett Stanley: [00:40:43] And so are you before you’re going under or before you get on the boat, are you showing them some pictures of things and saying, this is what I want the dress to look like.

Julia Pretzl: [00:40:50] Yeah. If I haven’t worked with them before, I’ll do that. Um, in Bali, for example, we always work with the same day of school and from there always with the safe, same safety diver. Um, so he already knows, like, I don’t. With him. I signaled I’m out of here. He’s there. He swims out, takes my masks. Like don’t Omni to say anything.

I don’t need to point at anything unless I have like a problem with my ears, maybe. Um, but he knows how to move the dress. He knows how to float. He knows how to push other divers out of the way in case they want to try to come between me and the photographer. Like he knows

Brett Stanley: [00:41:17] Yeah. Is he pushing, pushing wildlife out of the way as well? So they’re not looking at your face

Julia Pretzl: [00:41:21] no. Well, she would push her well, dive into, uh,

into the picture. Oh, oil shock and that a real dive.

Brett Stanley: [00:41:27] yeah, exactly.

Julia Pretzl: [00:41:28] That’s the only thing he hasn’t accomplished yet. I wanted shocks and the shootings.

Brett Stanley: [00:41:33] There you go. You’ve got to have some goals.

So have you worked with sharks and wildlife, large animals underwater before?

Julia Pretzl: [00:41:39] Um, just the stuff I saw when I was working as a dive master. So in Thailand, we didn’t really have any big shocks. Like we had the odd reef, shark, maybe a meter every now and then we have like, Two times throughout the year that Israel Shaq season. And I must be one of the only people working there. Who’s never managed to see a whale shark there.

Like I was, I was jumping in the ocean and Panama from a boat and almost jumped on a whale shark, but in Thailand where there’s regular wheel trucks everywhere, it’s an a, and they were found one,

Brett Stanley: [00:42:07] yeah. Right. It’s because she wants it so badly. You need to, you need to let go. Yeah. uh, with that in, you know, talking about that, the animals and the wildlife,  are there things you need to prepare to be able to do that properly or correctly?

Julia Pretzl: [00:42:20] Um, well, as I’m planning to shoot with sharks, like I’m already doing a lot of research in like what their body language means, how they could wreck to my body language. Um, just signals that the animals give you that you need to, where we are off in order to like, translate them into your action. Um, Otherwise, like for the shootings I’ve done so far, I wasn’t necessary.

Cause there was no big Marine wildlife. Um, but yeah, we planning to do some shoots with manta rays in new subpoena in Bali next year and with some sharks and that’s definitely, um, a field that I’m so excited about. Like I almost studied, um, Marine biology in school.

Um, I realize it’s not making as much money as I thought.

And that was more important for me at that point. So I didn’t do it, but like that’s always been a passion and like how animals behave and stuff. And one thing I’ve realized from a lot of other videos online, like ocean Ramsey is one of my idols and some watching a lot of her videos in order to prepare.

And I just feel like shooting with shocks, like. As their predators, they’re like really sensitive to what you’re signaling. So if I go in the water and I’m like, Oh my God, Oh my God. Oh my God. It’s like either overexcited or scared. Like, I feel like it’s gonna,

it’s going to change the way.

Brett Stanley: [00:43:29] Yeah. They like dogs. They can kind of smell that change in emotion, which is, you know, which is not a good thing.

Julia Pretzl: [00:43:35] I mean, I can already practice with my dog if I’m hyper excited, like my Duck’s acting weird. And I’m like, Oh, I need to calm myself down. And then my dotcoms down. So just seeing that mirrored, um, is what I’m going to prepare for, for the shock shooting. Definitely. Cause like, I just want to be another fish down there.

I don’t want them to realize there’s something weird or, Oh, that smells like beta or anything.

Brett Stanley: [00:43:56] Yeah, you just want to blend in. You just want to be yeah. Camouflage to a certain point.

Julia Pretzl: [00:44:01] exactly. And I feel like you can, you can really do that with the vibe you’re sending out and. I mean, that’s a part of taken for a while now, like meditation as well, and being checked with your body and your feelings. So this is just another, another addition to that. What I’m already doing.

Brett Stanley: [00:44:16]    Yeah, exactly. To, to get that kind of the, the whole, the holistic experience of it to be, to be very calm and relaxed and, and like, there’s nothing to see here.

Julia Pretzl: [00:44:27] Yeah. I mean, have you seen fish people. It’s like a documentary on six lives changed by the sea. It’s on YouTube. And I think I must’ve watched it like 10 times now because like, I’m not living close to the sea at the moment as I moved back to Germany for, um, to start my own business. And, um, it’s just easier here.

Um, but every time I watched this documentary, I F I. I feel so connected to the ocean because the way the documentary shows what other people are doing, like there’s a girl, spear fishing, and she tells about how she learned it. And there’s some other guys that surf and like everything they say and do is just with so much passion.

And I feel like I have the same passion for the ocean and it’s just

Brett Stanley: [00:45:03] Oh, absolutely. This is what a, what I get from doing this podcast is, is meeting all these people that love the water, whether it’s the ocean, whether it’s, uh, whether it’s a swimming pool, whether it’s a bath, everyone just has this attraction to the water. And it’s such a respect for it. It’s it’s, it’s amazing.

It’s this beautiful community.

Julia Pretzl: [00:45:21] I mean, I did not realize any of this until I started diving myself. Like I used to like, just jump in the water, try surfing, do a bit of snorkeling, but then I moved to Qatar Thailand and started my whole like underwater career. And. It took me a while to get used to it. Like everyone around me was talking about how much they loved the day of lifestyle and diving every day and getting in the water, getting wet, seeing this, doing that on the water.

And I wanted to experience that for myself, but it was so hard for me. Like, especially if you’re overthinking a lot, like you you’re prone to overthink everything about diving, because there’s so much safety stuff you need to take care of. And especially with you try something new for the first time.

Like the first couple of times you’re going to be, it’s going to be hard to keep everything in mind that needs to take care of. So it took me at least 30 days to like fully acknowledge this beautiful world down there.

Brett Stanley: [00:46:13] right. 30 days seeds to relax and just to live it.

Julia Pretzl: [00:46:17] Yeah, it took me quite a while. Other people were a lot faster, but then again, um, I’m so happy I found it like that completely changed my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do before that. I was just traveling, trying to fight my way in life. And then I knew I want to work as a dive master and just did everything I could to get there as fast as possible.

And. It’s just like, that is one like watching a documentary about diving or coral reefs is one thing, but like the first time you actually down there and experience everything for yourself and it feels like flying. Like for me, diving is the closest thing to flying. Cause you, you decide how far or close to the bottom you want to be

Brett Stanley: [00:46:53] Absolutely. And that’s what I feel like when I’m, when I was talking about being graceful under, there is a lot of the times I either feel like I’m flying or I’m in space. And if I’m underwater and I’m setting up a set or something, you know, you can have that control of, I just want to go. I was going to go and meet her over there.

And I just, you know, just, you know, exactly how much pressure to push to get there. And then you stop so slowly and it’s like a point of pride for me to be able to, you know, Hava gracefully and not touch anything and, you know, to have complete control over where I am in the water by just using my own lungs and my own arms and legs.

It’s incredible.

Julia Pretzl: [00:47:29] And it’s, it’s so funny, like seeing like once you’re really good at your buoyancy and hovering and everything, and then you have time to not worry about your own buoyancy, but start watching others and there’s as just, Oh my, I love it.

Brett Stanley: [00:47:43] Yeah, it’s interesting watching people learn that after you know how to do it. And you know, if, if you’ve been diving for years, you just, it’s, it’s just part of you now, but watching other people kind of struggle with their buoyancy and slowly learn it. And when it clicks for them, you’re like, yeah, that’s, that’s a beautiful moment.

Julia Pretzl: [00:48:01] I mean, in creation, my boyfriend and his son started diving for the first time. So kind of got them into diving and now they’re hooked as well. So we’ve, we’re managing to get a dive together, just the two of them and me and one of the instructors because of the brand satisfied yet a certified yet.

And I just, I was trying to film them, you know, and they were just all over the place. They were up and down behind me. At one point he was landing on my head and didn’t, didn’t even realize until he was pushing me down. And it’s just, Oh my God, that was me like five years ago. They’re going to get so good soon.

Brett Stanley: [00:48:31] Oh, exactly. I always enjoy that kind of when it’s not in a dangerous situation, I enjoy watching people kind of losing their mind because they’re like, what am I, there’s so many things to think about. It’s like, they’re trying to fly a plane for the first time, without any training, you know, it’s, they’re all over the place.

They’re losing their balance. Um, they’re getting amazed by what they’re seeing. It’s it’s such a, it’s an experience. I love it,

Julia Pretzl: [00:48:51] Sure.

seeing my boyfriend and his son’s eyes on the water and they were just witnessing everything in the big structures, the big fish, the caves, the rocks, just the ocean in general. And just looking at me with like these big guys and being like, this is amazing.

Brett Stanley: [00:49:03] Yeah,

Julia Pretzl: [00:49:04] That was just, that was just amazing.

Brett Stanley: [00:49:07] The thing when I fished out a diving. And the thing that was frustrating for me was I’m, I’m a reasonably vocal person in terms of expressing my wonderment about things and being underwater where you can’t communicate except for hand signals. Um, I think I was, you know, throwing, throwing up hand signals all the time, just to kind of get someone’s attention, to acknowledge that they were seeing what I was saying. it’s such a weird experience, you know?

Julia Pretzl: [00:49:29] I know that’s, that’s another thing. What I really like about diving. It’s just quiet. Like nobody’s talking, it’s all you and your experience. like we’re living in such a busy world, like with jobs and hobbies and seeing friends and making money and hustling and working on our career and doing enough sport, eating healthy, like there’s so many things that can distract us from like, The really important questions like who am I?

What’s my goals. Why am I here? What do I like doing? Because like, even I got into this job for a long time, like I have to do this, I have to do that. If I want to get there, have to do that. And with diving, it was just like, no, I want to do that. I want to get there. And I want to do that to get there. So that’s just changed my perspective a lot as well.

And it’s, there’s no distractions down there. Like. as you said, it’s you and the ocean and you can just, I dunno,

Brett Stanley: [00:50:20] You just exist. Yeah. It is the place that I feel the calmest and I have a brain that’s like a hummingbird. Um, and so when I go under the water, everything calms down and I focus so much better. It’s, it’s one of the reasons that I love to shoot underwater is because that’s, that’s my happy place. That’s where I want to be.

Uh, if I could spend all my life down there, that’s what I would do, but it’s not possible.

Julia Pretzl: [00:50:43] Yeah, I’m still waiting for myself to grow gills, but it’s just, I’ve given up on that one that is just not happening.

Brett Stanley: [00:50:49] It’s a slow process. Yeah. I have quite a big beard and people think that I have gills underneath there. Um, but I think it’s just food.  Julia. It’s been such an awesome experience, listening to your stories. You’ve got such a great. Uh, kind of experience with underwater modeling. Um, and thanks for sharing so much of it with us.

Julia Pretzl: [00:51:08] Oh, you’re very welcome. It was fun. So I can see you

Brett Stanley: [00:51:11] You too. We’ll speak to you soon.

Julia Pretzl: [00:51:12] Speak to you soon. Bye.

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