Under the Ocean Blue

The alien-looking southern calamari squid is native to Australian and New Zealand coastlines. Its dot painting-like skin patterns are reminiscent of ancient Aboriginal paintings. It took me several weeks of night dives and patience to achieve this unique portrait: when I shot this frame I was elated!!Every professional and amateur photographer’s dream is to get that shot that is so alive and spontaneous, clear and concise in its story that there is no mistaking it for anything other than genius. Aspiring for that moment could take a lifetime and never be met. On the other hand, if you place yourself in an environment that is magical to begin with, you up your chances.

That’s exactly what underwater photographers do. Submersed in an other-worldly atmosphere that supplies the non-ordinary at every turn, presents opportunities that are unimaginable. To capture the unimaginable on film, results in a wildlife photographer’s dream come true.

It’s crucial to delve in to our underwater world and capture the wonders on film before the exterminators of pollution, global warming and unconscious humans denigrate them any farther.

In the opinion of many, this face-to-face photo of a young calamari squid immortalized by National Geographic Wildlife photographer Matthew Smith says ‘here I am, come and find me’. Aptly named Celestial Terrestrial, this is just one magnificent piece of the Whole.

It is a fact that underwater exploration, in relative terms, has just begun. With the on-going erosion of the great barrier reefs which anchor the stability of oceans on both sides of the world we may find ourselves up against a deadline. To record oceanic wildlife today could be widely different, even a mere 50 years from now.

Yet there are still secrets to be discovered. Along with the fragility of our oceans, seas and lakes comes the unstoppable innate drive to evolve and propagate. In sharing another of Matthew Smith’s photographs entitled Brooding Dragon,(original photo unavailable) Smith explains that the shot was taken in Botany Bay just off-shore to the Sydney International Airport and a busy shipping port. Despite the drone of heavy engines and commercial passage 24/7 this delicate, beautiful creature survives and thrives.

seahorse-v2With the invention of safe, deep sea submersion, creatures have been discovered that humans had no clue existed. Oceanographers and wildlife photographers from all over the world wanted to see more and indeed they did.

In the mid-1960s technology gave scientist the ability to photograph sea creatures miles below the water’s surface. For the first time, animals were captured on film that were never known of before. Beautiful and ugly, incredibly adaptable forms of life became the study of researchers, explorers, scientists and photographers wanting to learn more. Rare sightings became the norm once equipment such as the Plexiglas acrylic observation dome developed by Evonik Industries AG made the deep more accessible.

However, for a wildlife photographer to capture the art of nature, one doesn’t need to go to the deepest parts of our oceans. A true eye for beauty can be exercised wherever there is light, natural or artificial. Seeing the world through the lens of a skilled artist is the gift that is brought to all of us by these talented men and women who display patience, ingenuity and passion to get the right shot. I also applaud National Geographic for being a strong supporter in telling the story of planet earth through pictures.

I’ve included a video with some basic tips for those who wish to explore the realm of wildlife photography. They video isn’t about marine photography, but gives tips that can be applied no matter where you take your camera. Please enjoy.

Leave a comment below with your insights and experiences I enjoy hearing from you.