Imaging

Nudis and Branchers

Ever see pictures of a critter that seems to have evolved from that box where all the holiday decorations are stored? Chances are you’re looking at a nudibranch.  Nudibranchs (sometimes affectionately called “nudis”) are members of the opisthobranchs, also known as sea slugs. The name nudibranch literally means “naked gill.” Their body shape ranges from oval to long and tapered. All have some form of rhinophores; think rabbit ears, on their front end. Projections of varying heights may be present on the back.  A group […]

Sea and Sea DX2G Sport Package Review

When I first switched to digital a few years back I had waited for SLR cameras to get to a minimum of 5 megapixels. They hit it and I bought a nice expensive SLR camera, wrapped it in an equally expensive housing and off I went underwater to shoot away. Needless to say, it was barely adequate but it did the job. And technology moved ahead at a blindingly rapid pace. Cameras became much cheaper, more versatile, and hosted far more megapixels than I could […]

Work Within the Limitations of Your Point-and-Shoot Camera

Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan once spoke the immortal words, “A man’s got to know his limitations…” These simple words can arouse insightful pondering to expose the heart of an issue. They also can be valuable to divers who use point-and-shoot cameras. Owners of high-end, digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera systems get great images from their superb and versatile lenses and sensitive sensors. They also must open their wallets wider than most of us would deem sensible to pay for it all, and travel […]

How to Photograph Moray Eels

Second only to sharks are our photos of sharp-fanged moray eels that most impress our non-diving friends on the “dangers” of the deep-sea realm. Of course, we know better but with the right techniques we can still capture these impressive creatures in all their various “moods” from “smiling” to a ferrous fanged grin. Various lighting techniques and camera angles will bring out the best in these funny guys. FINDING THEM The California moray eel is a temperate water creature only found from Santa Barbara southward, […]

The Underwater Photographer’s Mantra

Photography articles commonly focus on the technical side of photography–cameras, lenses, lighting, etc. While it is necessary to understand at some level how your camera works, I’ve have always believed that an understanding of composition, animal behavior, and how the photographer’s behavior influences the creation of an image are more important to understand. This is especially true when that once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity swims by, since it is natural to lose your concentration in the excitement of the moment. To maintain your focus, all you have […]

Capturing the Kelp Forest Sunburst

Though divers often dream of coral reefs, colorful fish, and warm tropical waters, California’s temperate and nutrient rich seas offer a different treat. Some of California’s most stunning diving takes place amid our signature kelp forests. Here, underwater photographers have a unique opportunity to capture beautiful “sunburst” images. Nothing can match the majesty of light cascading through a healthy kelp forest. With some practice, underwater photographers can capture beautiful kelp-sunburst images. Kelp-sunburst shots work best where giant kelp stalks stretch to the surface. Usually, underwater […]

The Value of a Diving Buddy… A Photographer’s Perspective

From our first scuba class, we learn that having a buddy is important. Divers are taught about increased safety, more enjoyment, and even the advantages of a second pair of hands hauling around heavy dive gear. Somewhere along the line, however, the question of solo-diving always comes up. I’m not here to preach to anyone. I was solo-diving back when divers only whispered about it in dive shops. The trend in solo-diving has become much more accepted in the last decade. Now, recognized agencies even […]

How to Photograph Lobster

Now that the fever of lobster hunting has died down as far as eating them goes, perhaps it is time we pick up our cameras and turn our attention to photographing them instead. These funny crustaceans that we just grab and head them off to the dinner table are actually quite interesting creatures, albeit on the simple side.  ABOUT LOBSTER The California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) is actually not a lobster, per se, but rather a crayfish. They lack the large front claws of their […]

How to Photograph Blue and Mako Sharks

While you may be lucky enough to stumble upon a naturally inquisitive blue or mako shark on the edge of one of California’s lush kelp forests, your best bet is to head out to blue water where the continental shelf steepens before plunging into the deep Pacific. The days of diving into a writhing ball of pelagic predators may be long gone, but with a little patience (and an enticing chum slick) you’ll probably see a fin or two snaking towards your boat. When the […]

How to Photograph Gorgonian Sea Fans

In Southern California waters we are blessed with temperate waters that encourage the growth of gorgonian sea fans. While they grow in branches that reach out from the reef, they are actually not a plant but rather a tightly grouped colony of tiny simple animals knows as polyps. The animals are a member of the Phylum Cnidaria animal group that also consists of anemones, jellies and corals. Much like their cousins they are very simple animals that consist of not much more than tentacles, a […]

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