Why does the same expensive camera equipment produce
stunning images of marine life for some, yet unrewarding, unimpressive
pictures for others? Yes, it's undoubtedly the person behind the lens
who makes the difference. But there are obvious rules rather than secrets
which can provide the key. Acclaimed British photographer and lecturer,
Martin Edge, demonstrates his own successful approach in his new book,
The Underwater Photographer. Here, in an exclusive look at the book,
Colin Doeg selects key aspects to consider before you press the shutter
release. Photographs from The Underwater Photographer, by Martin Edge.
Selection: Selecting the right subject is one
of the most important aspects of good underwater photography.
Your subject must be one which will photograph well and which
can be approached with relative ease - boulders or wreckage might
get in your way, and you must be able to get your camera and flashgun
in the best position. Lionfish are always photogenic. Edge can't
resist photographing them. He took this shot at The Pinnacles,
Eilat, showing the relationship between predator (the lionfish)
and prey (the glass sweepers), shooting upwards to isolate them
against the blue sea. He shot four rolls of film to secure this
magic moment when everything came right.
Light: Consider the position of the sun in the sky.
Time of day, water clarity and depth will have different effects
on your results. At dawn or dusk the quality of the sun's light
changes because of the angle at which its rays enter the water.
Here, towards the end of the day, the depth at which the sunbeams
are most dramatic is usually between 1m and 5m. This shoal of batfish
were soaking up the last few minutes of light in a pleasing composition.
But you must work quickly because the sun sets quickly in the tropics.
Other natural light shots are silhouettes - divers, turtles, and
boats against the sun.
||Approach: When you
see something that will make a good picture, you must learn to make
a slow, methodical, tidy approach with as little disturbance to
the surrounding area as possible. That means getting your buoyancy
right, deciding onthe best angle of approach, the direction of any
current, the effect of any backscatter you might cause, whether
you will be taking your flashgun off the camera and hand-holding
it, and whether you wish to take a portrait or landscape picture.
It took Edge 10 minutes to gradually approach this stingray without
spooking it. He felt the potential of obtaining a good picture was
so great he shot a complete roll of film focusing on the ray's eye,
deciding on a horizontal format, but introducing a strong diagonal
with the positioning of the eyes.