Underwater photography takes us to amazing places to photograph amazing animals. But there’s often one animal that goes overlooked – the human. From stand-up paddleboard yoga off the Hawaiian coast to free-diving with blue sharks in the Azores and kayaking through blue water mangroves in Raja Ampat, there are countless water-sport photography opportunities at our favourite dive spots. You just have to know where to look
There’s perhaps no better destination than Australia for having amazing nature to photograph both above and below water. The big, the small, the weird, and the wonderful – Down Under has it all! Australia has the largest reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, but the diving does not end there. Amazing diving can be found all around this huge continent.
From the giant, friendly cod fish that love a good cuddle in the northeast and surprise visits from curious minke whales, to leafy and weedy sea dragons in the south and almost-guaranteed
whale shark encounters in the east, there are plenty of reasons why every diver has Australia on their dive wish list. And it’s not just the big stuff: there are hundreds of different fish species, colourful anemones with clownfish, nudibranchs, and much more.
Equipment & Exposure: Nikon D90, 60mm lens, Ikelite housing, dual Ikelite DS161 strobes, f/7.1, 1/200s, ISO200
By Brandi Mueller Kite Surfing, Australia
For Aussies, scuba diving is just one of many ways to get your adrenaline pumping off the spectacular coastlines of this sportobsessed country. Kitesurfing is another, and Western Australia is a great place to find loads of top-class locations. There are spots for all levels of rider, from beginner flat-water sites like Shoal Water Bay to expert-only waves like Margaret River. Kitesurfing is best in the summer months, from November to February, when the winds are the most consistent.
As a photographer, staying well positioned with respect to the rider, yet out of the way is a balance. But being prepared, anticipating the moves of the athletes, while keeping an eye on the roll of the waves is vital to getting the shot. And as always, in Australia, keeping an eye on Mother Nature is not a bad idea as well.
Equipment & Exposure: Canon EOS-1D Mark II, 17–35mm lens at 18mm, custom housing, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO320
By Stephen Whitesell Surfing, Bali
Big wave surf photography is all about calculating risks and rewards. Swim close enough to the action and you’ll capture the emotion of surfers doing their magic on an Indian Ocean canvas. Swim too close and a five-metre wall of that same canvas is going to take you to Davy Jones’ locker. You’re keeping an eye on the complicated chess game that’s playing out in the lineup, as surfers, stand-up-paddle riders, and boogie boarders jockey for pole position before the next set darkens the horizon line.
It’s not like this every day. Bali surfers wait for huge storm systems in the Antarctic to generate powerful swells that can take seven to ten days to finally arrive at the island’s famous surf spots. Conversations revolve around when the next one is going to hit and which surf break is going to be firing. It’s the nerdy side of surfing that I never knew existed before I picked up a board in Bali and dived into the game. Who would have guessed that a surfer dude has to be an amateur oceanographer to catch the best waves?
Equipment & Exposure: Canon EOS-5D Mark II, 70–200mm lens at 109mm, LiquidEye water housing, telephoto zoom port, f/8,
By Tommy Schultz
For the rest of this article (Scuba Diver Issue 6/2013, TTL No.8) and other stories, check out our past issues here or download digital copy here.