Imaging

How to Successfully Photograph Sand Critters

A pair of playful, bright-orange garibaldi frolic in the foreground before the silhouette of a diver hovering in the midst of a thick, rich kelp forest as the beams of sunlight pierce through the canopy of kelp gathered at the water’s surface. To many, myself included, this is the definitive image of what diving in California is all about. However, if the kelp forest’s edge is the final boundary for the exploration of beautiful images while diving in California, one may well be missing many […]

How to Photograph the California Spiny Lobster

As the clock struck twelve, thousands of hard-core lobster-hunting divers invaded many popular California dive sites on the night lobster season opened, either by crashing through the surf or by jumping off boats in search of that oh-so-delicious crustacean, the California spiny lobster. For some, this invasion proved rewarding, but for many others, myself included, we returned home holding an empty game bag and perhaps the memory of the big one that got away. In my days of a wannabe lobster hunter, I unfortunately came […]

Camera Maintenance

A good preventative maintenance routine will not only save you money, but also give you that peace of mind that your camera system will perform. Begin by assembling your system in a clean, dry, lint free area. Gather all your system components and visually check that you have everything. Checklists are handy in this case. The area you will use to get your system ready should be free of household dust and animal hair. O-rings are a magnet for your animal’s hair. O-rings and O-ring […]

Making Your Underwater Photos Look Their Best in the Digital Darkroom

Anyone who has attempted “serious” underwater photography eventually finds themselves on a road that leads from the film in the camera, to the film on the light table, to the film in the trash can because of some flaw that appears more obvious than the teeth of a great white shark. It seems that the more pictures we take the more of a self-critic we become and the more often we make that journey — a journey that’s frustrating and expensive. One way to change […]

How to Photograph Elephant Seals

There are several “rules” in big animal photography. You must be where the animals are, and when they are there, you must find cooperative animals in clear water. And, most important of all, you got to have a lot of luck. Elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) are a good example of this. These pinnipeds belong to the family phocidae, the true seals. Males may grow as long as 16.5 feet and weigh in excess of 5000 pounds, while females may only weigh 2000 pounds. Only the […]

Successful Underwater Night Macro Photography

If you have ever been night diving, you know that a myriad of new and unusual creatures come out in the darkness that are normally hidden or invisible during the day. Octopus, squid, shrimp, and other invertebrates venture forth from holes and move freely about. Many kinds of fish show markedly different behaviors often allowing dramatic close up shots not possible during the day. For the macro photographer, this is whole new realm of abundant underwater photographic opportunities. THE ANIMALS Nocturnal (active at night) animals […]

Photograph Giant Sea Bass

In the year 2000, I had the good fortune to make over 25 dives with one of the largest fish found off our Southern California coast, the giant sea bass. This wouldn’t have been much to write about 40 years ago, but today, after years of overfishing by commercial and private fishermen, and being a much sought-after trophy by many spearfishers, the number of these gentle giants has dropped dramatically. However, since a moratorium on landing these fish has been in place, this species has […]

Errors in Composition and How to Correct Them

In becoming a good underwater photographer, your first hurtle to overcome is technical. You’ll want to first get your subject properly exposed and in focus. After that, composition is the next challenge. Composition is a bit more difficult because it is a creative process. And at the same time you’re trying to compose your shots in effective ways, you don’t want to lose the proper elements of focus and exposure. There many common errors new (and many experienced) underwater photographers make when it comes to […]

The Joys of Point and Shoot Digital Underwater

I’d have no photos at all if my expensive digital SLR malfunctioned during a trip to Alaska last year so I bought a tiny point and shoot digital camera. It was only to be used as a backup for surface shots until I discovered it had an underwater setting and an optional underwater housing. I was intrigued. The camera was $350, the housing, only $169. The tiny camera has automatic settings that allow almost anyone to get good photos right out of the box. However, […]

How To Survive a Dive With an Underwater Photographer

While diving with a photographer you need to communicate everything, above the water and below. Nothing makes a photographer buddy crazier than that look on your face that says, “Huh? What do you want me to do.?” Before you get in the water, make sure you discuss what your plan is. You may not know how to take a picture, but you should have a general idea of the equipment and how it works. First and foremost, is your buddy going to shoot macro or […]

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