Wreck Photos

The allure of sunken ships for divers is unmistakable. I am not entirely sure why, but if I were to guess it is our awe and fascination for the power of the sea to break (and sink) our feeble human attempts to dominate the sea. And then the sea reclaims them in wonderful, colorful ways with marine life. Wrecks make for great photos. A few tips will maximize the effectiveness of your underwater pix of sunken ships. USE DIVERS You simply have to add the […]

Kelp Photography

Kelp is what makes diving in California truly special. California divers get the unique experience of floating through a magical forest full of enchanting creatures. This is something you simply must bring home to friends and family in photos to share. And you will want them for yourself to remind you of where you have been and will want to go again. There are a myriad of photo opportunities in this unique environment. There are almost as many challenges. Capturing the special images available here […]

Photo Secrets Revealed: Lenses

There are some fundamental decisions you need to make in order to give yourself the best possible chance of getting a good photo, and a lot of those choices are about equipment. Although I normally shoot with a top-of-the-line SLR, a variety of lenses, and dual flashes, one of my favorite photos (of a squid forming an egg sac and burying it in a pile of other eggs) I took with a borrowed disposable one-time use camera in an inexpensive housing and single strobe. Don’t […]

Underwater Photo-Speak

Step into any specialty area, diving or non, business or pleasure, and you will come across buzz-words, acronyms, abbreviations, and other odd terminology. Underwater photography is no different. If you are going to get into underwater photography, it is helpful to know some of these terms and buzz words before you venture forth shopping or in conversation with aficionados that have been at it for awhile. For sake of space, I will not spend a lot of time on terminology common to photography, but to […]

Tips for Better California Underwater Photography

Underwater photography in California waters can be a bit more challenging, to be sure, but definitely worth the rewards. Adjustments in techniques must be taken to compensate for darker, less clear waters, marine life with muted colors, and even for the cold. Below are a few tips that will make your excursion into California seas with a camera more productive and enjoyable. SHOOT A FASTER FILM A higher speed film (or adjustment on the digital camera) will give you the added edge needed for exposures […]

Film – Good-bye, Old Friend

No doubt, by now you’ve heard all the ballyhoo about digital cameras. The wonders, the ease, the enjoyment. After shooting the same film camera systems for over 20 years, I finally switched to digital. While I love my new puppy, my old dog is dying, and I am really going to miss him. Film was something very tangible, images that I could actually hold in my hand. Although I have worked with them for years in publishing, electronic images seem as mysterious and unreal to […]

How to Photograph Blue-Banded Gobies

California underwater photographers are always looking for bright colors to shoot against the muted greens, blues, grays, and browns of the reef and water. The striking contrasts make for excellent images. In Southern California waters one of the most brightly colored fish is the blue-banded goby (sometimes called the Catalina goby because it is so prolific at Catalina Island). These small fish (1 to 2.5″ in length) dot rocky reefs in 20 to 80 feet of water. They are brightly colored reddish-orange with neon blue […]

Effective Dual-Strobe Lighting Techniques For Macro Photography

There’s a well-known saying, “Photographers are artists who paint with light.” Effective lighting techniques for photographing people work the same in underwater nature photography. Highlights and shadows show the contours, character and textures of an animal. Sharply angled lighting can create a tactile effect — make it so you can almost feel the animal’s skin. I’m a big fan of showing a wide dynamic range in photographs — dark-black to bright-white, and every shade in between. It’s not always possible, but if you can surround […]

Skin Tones and Exposures

Involving divers in your underwater photography is a big plus. By putting a diver in your photo, the viewer of the photo is able to vicariously put themselves in the underwater scene. The connection is direct and powerful. But putting divers in your underwater photos carries a multitude of challenges. First you have to have a cooperative model. That model has to understand at least the basics of taking direction and posing underwater. Lighting angles are critical to properly illuminate the face and eyes. Even […]

How to Approach Animals for Great Underwater Photos

Good nature photographers are careful observers. Try to study the creatures you encounter when you dive. Watch how your subjects behave. Knowing how a critter acts (and responds to your presence) will help in capturing good images. Observing an animal provides clues on what to show in your photographs and how to position yourself to show it. The best nature photography shows animals doing and living—it’s “animated.” Place a creature in its world, living its life, and your underwater photography will come alive because it […]

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