Underwater Photography

Nov/Dec 2015

Issue 87

The magazine that doesnt have to say anything here

“Simply put, it doesn’t get any better than this! Everything is about service and maximizing your diving experience. The dives were amazing, and the dive and hotel staff are first class. They will accommodate any request, but you hardly need to make any since they have thought of essentially everything.”

Issue 87/2

Dr. Jim & Laurie Benjamin, May 2015

An experience without equal

At Wakatobi, we take great pride in providing the ultimate in exclusive and personalized service. Our dive staff and private guides ensure your in-water experiences are perfectly matched to your abilities and interests. While at the resort, or on board our luxury dive yacht

Pelagian, you need only ask and we will gladly provide any service or facility within our power. For all these reasons and more, Wakatobi takes top honors among discerning divers and snorkelers.

“Simply put, it doesn’t get any better than this! Everything is about service and maximizing your diving experience. The dives were amazing, and the dive and hotel staff are first class. They will accommodate any request, but you hardly need to make any since they have thought of essentially everything.”

Dr. Jim & Laurie Benjamin, May 2015

An experience without equal

At Wakatobi, we take great pride in providing the ultimate in exclusive and personalized service. Our dive staff and private guides ensure your in-water experiences are perfectly matched to your abilities and interests. While at the resort, or on board our luxury dive yacht

Pelagian, you need only ask and we will gladly provide any service or facility within our power. For all these reasons and more, Wakatobi takes top honors among discerning divers and snorkelers.





A web magazine

UwP87 Nov/Dec 2015


News Travel & Events


Nauticam WWL-1 review

by Peter Rowlands


Spawning aggregations

by Richard Barnden


Picking God’s Pocket

by Alex Tattersall


New Products


SoCal Shootout results

Cover shot by

Alex Tattersall



Shortfin Mako sharks

by Gregory Sweeney


Canon 5DSR thoughts

by Wade Hughes


Sea & Sea YS-D2 review

by Dan Bolt


The art of exploration

by Tony Myshlyaev


Why Wakatobi?

by Wade Hughes


Southwest Ramblings

by Mark Webster


Parting Shot

by Douglas David Seifert

Underwater Photography

2001 - 2015


PR Productions

Publisher/Editor Peter Rowlands

www.pr-productions.co.uk [email protected]

Issue 87/3

Horses for courses

Mr Mustard and I recently returned from a most enjoyable week’s diving the Santa Barbara area of California which includes kelp forests, sea lions and, believe it or not, diving under a working oil rig. Can you imagine getting permission to do that in the UK?!

But I digress. The point is we were both diving the magnificent kelp forests off Santa Barbara Island in near perfect conditions - he was shooting with strobes and I, as is usual, was shooting video using available light and a Magic Filter.

We were both having a great time photographically but Alex was finding that he was having to use much higher strobe powers to light up the wide scenery and the light absorbing kelp which was shrouded by a dense layer at the surface.

I on the other hand had the advantage of shooting video which, for some reason unknown to me, is capable of capturing moving images by available light much more effectively and without blur and this is especially true here in the UK with our much lower ambient light levels.

The added advantage I had was that the Original Magic filter, and this is true of all colour correcting filters, was able to capture colour

Issue 87/4


throughout the image and into the background where even the highest power strobes would not have been able to illuminate.

Don’t get me wrong - Mr

Mustard’s images were, as always, rather good but we both agreed that the use of available light and a filter were much more effective at capturing the atmosphere of our dives and sometimes it is the sensation of the scenery and the feeling of ‘space’ which is more effective especially when the subject matter, in this case the kelp, can stretch from the seabed at almost

30 metres and rise majestically to a profuse, golden, sun dappled canopy on the surface.

The final advantage of video is that it can capture the subtlety of movement which still images can never. Movement, even very slight, is very important in creating atmosphere and a feeling of being there.

Ecclectic UwP

This issue of UwP has been especially pleasing to compile because it contains very well illustrated articles about not just taking images underwater but also about the thought process of choosing a location to describing the thought process some contributors go through underwater. Alex

Tattersall makes the excellent point that when going to a new destination where the diving is much more physical, stick to the exquipment and techniques you know and can do well. Then there’s the excellent article on spawning aggregations where it all comes together in an instant to start new life. Fascinating stuff. Cousteau came up with the term

‘Silent World’ and he was so right but it is also such an apt description for we can, as underwater photographers, totally immerse ourselves in what we like doing - interacting with the marine life and capturing images which reflect its beauty and infinite variety. It is only by indulging in such

“me time” that we can return with images to justify our indulgence.


Peter Rowlands

[email protected]

The Dive Travel Experts



USA 1-888-333-3595 |


EU +44(0)800-096-7416 www.uwpmag.com

News, Travel & Events

Fiji Siren

Backscatter & Gates

Cinema Workshop

November 18-20th, 2015

It is not surprising to hear that

Fiji is the “Soft Coral Capital of the

World”. Indeed, its pristine waters hide more than 4000 square km of coral reefs that are home to more than

400 species of colorful soft and hard corals. Depending on the current, the coral change their colors. At the same time, it is home to an impressive macro life. Pygmy sea horses, imperial shrimps, ghost pipe fish and even the blue ribbon eel.

Underwater pelagic action can also be found. The most impressive are the sharks, with grey reef sharks, silvertip sharks, white tip sharks as well as the great hammerhead shark that can be spotted all over Fiji. The main dive sites where you can find the great hammerhead shark are the

Namena Reserve, around Wakaya

Island and the Bligh Waters.

A wide variety of turtles can also be found in Fiji. Five out of the seven different species of sea turtles in the world migrate to Fiji to lay their eggs: the Hawksbill, Green, Olive Ridley,

Leatherback and the Loggerhead turtle. The most common seen are the

Hawksbill and the Green. Many of these nests can be seen in Namena’s beaches.

The Fiji Siren, luxury phinisi liveaboard , gives you the opportunity to discover Fiji’s wonders in a variety of 7 or 10 night itineraries year around. Please contact us for further information or to book your next dive holidays in the Soft Coral Capital of the World!

Backscatter and Gates

Underwater Products are sponsoring a 3 day intensive workshop designed specifically for working professionals and new underwater cinema camera operators. We have combined the popular Gates STO Certification (Setup, Test, Operate) with a real world shooting technique workshop crafted by the professionals at Backscatter.

As well as the above dates there is an Optional Evening Social:

November 17th, 2015 and an Optional

Monterey Bay Diving: Sat November

21st. & Sun November 22nd. 2015

The location for the workshop is

Backscatter WEST. Monterey, CA

Workshop Fee: $495

(introductory price)

Class limit: 9 Students




Issue 87/5

Could You Be The Next

Underwater Photographer

Of The Year?

The search is on for the Underwater

Photographer of the Year 2016, with the return of the prestigious UPY competition, which opened for entries on 1st November. The deadline is 4th

January 2016 with the winners announced on stage at the London International Dive Show on 12th

February 2016.

The competition will be judged by Martin

Edge, Peter Rowlands and Alex Mustard. Major prizes come from APEKS, Fourth Element,

Nauticam and Scuba Travel.

The competition is divided into 8 categories

Wide Angle, Macro, Wrecks, Behaviour, Up

& Coming , British Waters Wide Angle, British

Waters Macro and British Waters Compacts and the competition will make four special awards:

The Underwater Photographer of the Year

British Underwater Photographer of Year

Up & Coming Underwater Photographer of the


Most Promising British Underwater

Photographer of the Year

Issue 87/6

Nuno Sá (Portugal) was named Underwater

Photographer of the Year 2015 for 50 Tons Of

Me (Algarve, Portugal).

Chair of the UPY judges, Alex Mustard said, “this is a competition run by photographers for photographers, to give our community the competition it deserves to celebrate excellence in all branches of underwater photography.”

Following the success of the inaugural UPY competition, which was immediately established as one of the largest annual events in our community’s calendar, UPY 2016 continues with the same format. Alex adding “we plan to evolve the

Matt Doggett (UK) was named British Underwater

Photographer of the Year 2015 for Gannets Feast (Shetland

Islands, UK)

Last year’s winning images can still be enjoyed here:


competition in the coming years, but we were so overwhelmed by the response in year one that it does not need reinventing.”

“We have tried to keep entry fees as low as possible, provide prizes that photographers really want to win and select the winners with a face to face judging process you can really believe in.”

“We are very grateful for the continued support of Apeks Regulators, Fourth Element, Nauticam,

Magic Filters, Scuba Travel, the National Marine

Aquarium, the London International Dive Show, the Telegraph Outdoor show, Diver Magazine,

Underwater Photography Magazine and the British

Society of Underwater Photographers, which makes this event possible.” www.underwaterphotographeroftheyear.com


Check out our special

Whale Sharks trips in


Download our online brochure

HERE www.uwpmag.com

Anilao Reef Photo & Video Workshop

April 9-16, 2016

This is a chance to learn and develop with professional instruction, unlimited support and a chance to be guided to striking imaging opportunities – every day.

Anilao is home to some of the finest Muck and Reef

Macro diving in the World.

The variety of species and environments that can be found within a 15 minute boat ride from the resort is simply staggering.

There are also world class wide angle opportunities for those who can pull themselves away from the small stuff.

It is not uncommon to hear first time visitors to the area exclaim they have photographed more unusual critters around Anilao a week, than years of international travel elsewhere. The exotic night diving options are second to none.

Kevin Palmer is an equipment specialist at Reef Photo and

Video with 25 years of underwater photography experience

Chris Parsons oversees all dealer and customer support for

Nauticam in the Americas and is a superb photographic technician.

Tanya Burnett is a well known professional underwater photographer who has been Field Editor for Sport Diver and currently freelances for many of the major US dive and travel magazines. http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=events&event_id=89

Issue 87/7

Cabilao Island, Bohol,


August 2016

Join downunderpix for an underwater photography focused dive trip to beautiful Cabilao Island in the

Bohol region of the Philippines on the 20th to 30th of August 2016. The estimated cost of $4,499 per person twin share includes:

- 5 days of Unlimited Diving with Sea Explorers – Cabilao

- 2 x day trips to dive with the

Whale Sharks in Oslob

- 9 nights’ accommodation with

Sea Explorers Cabilao including all meals

- 1 night Singapore stopover

- Return flights ex Adelaide with

Singapore Airlines

- Transfers and Sanctuary fees

www. downunderpix.com

Liquid Motion Academy

With over 30 years accreditation, awards and acclaim, Liquid Motion

Academy is a globally leading

Photography & Film School, which focuses on art and specializes in

Underwater Imaging.

The Academy provides private instruction and consultation to anybody interested in the field of professional photography, filmmaking, underwater photography, underwater filmmaking or editing.

All Instruction is private and personal, tailored to each client’s unique experience, interest and individual requirements.

Award-winning Photographers &

Filmmakers work with just one guest at a time.

Whether novice or professional, a personal passion or career goal,

The Academy is committed to your creative journey and guarantees exceptional, inspiring, visual results.

“I learnt more in 9 days than I have ever learned by myself in 50 years - and I did not even have to read a manual!. The opportunity to learn what I did with the people I did made the trip a once in a lifetime event”

(Steve Cohen)

Photography or film. Underwater or on land. Pursue your passion.

Follow your dream. Live it. Breathe it.

We will guide you on your journey.

We encourage you to talk with us to discuss your goals and the path to realizing your dream, in your time, at your speed.


Issue 87/8

Your advert could be here for just £50 and will be seen by over

10,000 underwater photographers worldwide.

No other publication has such a targeted audience.

For more details visit:

www.uwpmag.com/?p=advertise www.uwpmag.com

Sea Shepherd’s Operation Milagro II

Beneath the Sea 2016

1st - 3rd April 2015

New Jersey

Beneath the Sea 2016 is pleased to invite all Photographers and

Videographers from the international imaging community to enter this year’s open International Imaging


In addition to general prizes, the competition in each category will be for individual recognition from the

Grandmaster of that field:

Underwater Photographers will compete for the coveted David

Doubilet award for excellence in underwater photography.

Underwater Videographers will compete for the distinguished Stan

Waterman award for excellence in underwater video.

Underwater Photographic

Artists compete for the celebrated

Jim Church award for excellence in creative underwater photography.

Wherever you live in this wide world, accept the challenge, and www.uwpmag.com

submit your underwater photographic work to the Beneath The Sea

International Imaging Competition.

The contest deadline is December

31st, 2015.

The winners of the Beneath

The Sea International Imaging

Competition will be announced at the Saturday Night International

Film Festival on the weekend of

Beneath The Sea’s Ocean Adventure

Exposition And Dive Travel

Show, April 1, 2, 3, 2016, at the

Meadowlands Exposition Center in

Secaucus, New Jersey.

In addition to the awards that the

Grand Prize winners of each category receive, there will also be prizes for all First, Second, and Third place winners.


Long before the end of Sea

Shepherd’s Operation Jairo was in sight, our team was already hard at work planning our next campaign: saving the vaquita through Operation

Milagro II in the Sea of Cortez.

In Operation Milagro II

(“miracle” in Spanish), Sea

Shepherd’s crew will defend the critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise, the world’s smallest and rarest cetacean. During the first

Operation Milagro in April, our crew proved the vaquita was not yet extinct contrary to local belief, but the population has diminished to an estimated less than 97 individuals due to their biggest threat: poachers.

There is hope, but we need your help for a miracle. Support Operation

Milagro II and bring the vaquita back from the brink of extinction. Your donation is urgently needed.

Your support ensures Sea

Shepherd can patrol the vaquita refuge in the Sea of Cortez, the vaquita’s only home. During the operation our team will take action to protect this critically endangered porpoise, enforce laws, collect data, and collaborate with the Mexican Navy, government and scientists.

Give now to ensure this operation is successful. The vaquita porpoises are depending on us all.



Issue 87/9

Shark Bytes

by John Bantin

Support Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian volunteers are now on the ground in

Taiji, Japan for Operation Henkaku.

The 2015-2016 season marks the sixth year of Sea Shepherd’s Dolphin

Defense campaign and our promise to the dolphins remains the same – we will not stop until the slaughter ends!

Japan has already attempted to hide the brutal actions of a handful of individuals that turn Taiji’s waters red with blood, shaming the entire nation of Japan. In recent days,

Cove Guardian Ground Leader,

Karen Hagen of Norway and Linda

Trapp of the USA were detained, interrogated and denied entry to

Japan and deported from the country, just as other returning Sea Shepherd volunteers have been denied before.

These obstacles will not stop us in our mission for the dolphins and more

Cove Guardians will arrive in Taiji.

Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians

Issue 87/10 will continue to document and live stream from Taiji, ensuring that no dolphin or pilot whale is captured or slaughtered unseen by the eyes of the world. This year’s campaign will also have an increased focus on raising crucial awareness of the inextricable link between the slaughter in Taiji and the global captive industry. It is the international demand for live cetaceans for captivity that is the economic fuel driving the hunting boats each day in search of pods to be taken forever from the sea. Just one trained captive dolphin can be sold by the Taiji hunters for $ 250,000

USD. The most effective way that you can help bring the slaughter to an end is to never patronize aquariums, marine parks or swim-with-dolphin operations that hold whales or dolphins captive.


There are few underwater experiences more exciting than diving with sharks, and in his new book, Shark Bytes: Tales of

Diving with the Bizarre and the

Beautiful, diving veteran and best selling author, John Bantin, has animated the experience like never before, making it a thrilling ‘must read’ for all dive enthusiasts.

During his exhilarating career as a dive journalist, Bantin has spent over two decades observing and interacting with many of the species of shark. Well known in the diving industry as an accomplished raconteur, Shark Bytes:

Tales of Diving with the Bizarre and the Beautiful collates Bantin’s favourite anecdotes of his inspiring, exciting and sometimes shocking encounters with sharks and other marine animals.

In this beautiful book, tales of outstanding natural beauty and mesmerising underwater serenity rub shoulders with dramatic accounts of razor-sharp teeth and voracious, deadly predators. Bantin’s detailed, affectionate and thrilling stories include his eventful first dive, when he met a shark and his boat sank; a heart-stopping confrontation with a tiger shark; and the many characters

– both marine and human – that have crossed Bantin’s path along the way.

This 224-page compilation of

Bantin’s incredible experiences is accompanied by over 80 stunning colour photographs, taken by the author himself during his exhilarating underwater career.

Published on 15 September

2015 in the UK by Fernhurst Books,

Shark Bytes is priced at £17.99, printed in flexibound format and will be available to buy from all good bookshops and book websites and direct from



Barry Brown


In 2004 Barry’s wife received an offer to work on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. They quickly sold off their house and cars, left their jobs and friends, and moved to this small desert island 30 miles off of the coast of Venezuela. Barry bought an Ikelite housing right before the move and got ready to transition from nature photography to underwater photography. Now Barry works for

Substation Curaçao, taking underwater photos of a 2.5 million dollar manned-submersible and photographing new finds discovered by visiting scientists.

In conjunction with the Curaçao-based submersible Curasub and the Smithsonian

Institution, Barry has spent the past 4 years searching depths up to 1000 feet (300 meters) for new fish and invertebrates. In addition to major contributions to scientific research, this dedicated effort has resulted in a magnificent series of 10

Curaçao postage stamps! The results heighten awareness of our profound responsibility to protect the planet’s oceans and exemplify the benefits of the people-to-people ties that intertwine Curaçao and the United States.

Follow Your Vision...

Find an Authorized Ikelite Dealer at Ikelite.com.

New Products

Ikelite Samsung NX1 housing


Samsung’s NX1 camera is great for action and water sports photography thanks to its 28 megapixel sensor and advanced autofocus engine. And 4K video isn’t too shabby either thanks to great low light performance.

Special polycarbonate blends allow us to create an extremely strong yet clear and lightweight enclosure.

We believe there’s no substitute for inspecting the actual o-ring seal once your housing is closed. Our signature clear construction lets you see that the housing is watertight and dry before you enter the water, and provides full view of the camera while you’re diving. Polycarbonate is fundamentally corrosion-resistant for easy maintenance year after year.

Issue 87/12

An over-sized knob smoothly engages our unique system of universal zoom gears. We provide two zoom sets with each housing, one for use with most popular larger diameter zoom lenses and a second designed for use with smaller diameter zoom lenses. Both sets are lightweight and easy to install with no modification to the lens required. A variety of dome and flat ports attach with four locking latches for maximum security and quick changes between dives.

The included magnified viewfinder is optimized for viewing in the water when wearing a dive mask.

It removes easily for the attachment of our optional Straight or 45° Magnified


This housing includes a balanced aluminum tray with our signature quick release handles for easy attachment and removal of external lighting. An aluminum

1/4-20 threaded top mount provides an additional attachment point for lightweight accessories.

Like every Ikelite product, our housings are designed, built, and tested in the USA. We use locally sourced, top-grade materials. Our housings are built by hand and individually tested for fit, function and waterproof integrity. The average assembly technician is a certified scuba diver and has over 16 years of experience building Ikelite products.

We back our products with over 50 years of experience and the most accessible and responsive customer service staff in the dive industry.

This housing requires the addition of a compatible lens port for waterproof operation. Lens port not included.



(General purpose)

M10 Ball Joint

(Short / Medium) www.uwpmag.com

FIX Aquavolt 5000 mini Sealux HDFS7 housing for Sony PXW-FS7


FIX Neo announces the Aquavolt

Mini 5000, a video light that strikes the perfect balance between power, size, and cost. A single CREE

CX2540 LED fueled by a Quad-Liion power pack produces 5000 lumen punch is a tiny 565g package.

Built for the wide-angle videographer, the new Aquavolt more than meets the creative demands of today’s shooter. The Mini 5000 arcs its 5000 lumens in a 100° beam angle and yields an eye warming 5000


The Mini 5000 keeps you shooting with its interchangeable battery system. Add to that, the Mini

5000 can use the FR1 Remote Control unit and your lighting control is just a thumb press away that keeps your hands on your housing and not swatting for lighting controls.

The SEALUX HDFS7 is a safe, tailor-made housing for the professional PXW-FS7 4K 4:2:2

10 bit camcorder made by Sony.

This means it is one of the smallest and lightest aluminium underwater housings on the market for the

PXW-FS7. With this housing our main focus has been on operational versatility.

An optional display case for the on-top-of-camera display supplied by

Sony allows comfortable viewing of images from a swimming position.

If an external monitor/recorder is to be used (such as the Odyssey 7Q), a cover plate will be fitted to it.




Underwater Housing for the Sony ILCE-7M2/7RM2

Issue 87/13








Visit us Online at: OpticalOceanSales.com


Your Vision

Dealers for Nauticam, Sea & Sea,

Aquatica, Gates, Seacam, Olympus,

Ikelite, Fix, Zen, Light & Motion, 10Bar,

Big Blue, Keldan, i-Torch/i-DAS,

Seahorse, Fantasea Line, and more.

We dive what we sell!

[email protected]

+1 206-284-1142 or 800-359-1295

Nauticam NA-GX8 for the Panasonic GX8

Nauticam is pleased to introduce the latest in it’s acclaimed line of underwater camera housings, the

NA-GX8, designed specifically for the Panasonic GX8. Nauticam’s unparalleled experience with taking mirrorless cameras underwater is evident in this exceptional housing.

Nauticam supports more mirrorless cameras, and specifically more micro

4/3’s cameras and lenses than any other manufacturer.

The pioneering features of the earlier Nauticam housings are apparent with the simple but secure rotating housing latch and superb progressive shutter release providing optimal “feel”. The NA-GX8 also sports some of Nauticam’s latest technology with the port locking latch that replicates the famous Nauticam

DSLR port latch – making housing port changes easier than ever.

The new housing takes full advantage of the Panasonic’s many features and allows easy one handed operation of key controls like the three command dials and the video record button. The NA-GX8 supports 7 programmable buttons on this camera, easily accessible from the housing.

The sculpted shutter release makes

“half-press” focus incredibly easy.

For fans of “thumb focus” (moving the autofocus from half-press of the shutter to a button operated by the right thumb), this is fully supported with the AF/AEL button.

Attention to detail is everywhere, from the comfortable thumb rest on the right to the large knurled command wheels and zoom/focus knob. Video is easily accessed; the video button is given special treatment, being larger, concave and red in color. For tripod use, the housing features two standard 1/4” 20 tripod holes, or is also tripod ready when using the Flexitray W camera tray.


Issue 87/14

Nauticam NA-RX100IV for Sony RX100 IV

“Amazing 4K Compact”

With the ability to shoot stunning

4K video and 20mp stills, this camera and housing package offers image quality approaching that of an SLR system with the size and convenience of a compact. Controls are simple, but well thought out with easy to access push buttons. Dual command dials immediately access frequently used manual settings like Manual Focus,

F-Stop, and Shutter Speed. The addition of excellent wet lens options make for one versatile, powerful, compact package.



HERO4 Session




Nauticam NA-EM10

Package Special for

Olympus OM-D E-M10


50 + FT (15 + M)


20 - 50 FT (6 - 15 M)

Free Lifetime Tech Support

Worldwide Shipping


+1 831-645-1082



5 - 20 FT (1.5 - 6 M)

USA East

+1 603-432-1997


HERO4 Session packs the power of GoPro into our smallest, lightest, most convenient camera yet, featuring a rugged and waterproof design, easy one-button control, 1080p60 video and 8MP photos.

50% smaller and 40% lighter than other HERO4 cameras,1 HERO4

Session is the most wearable and mountable GoPro ever. With a sleek, versatile design, it’s at home anywhere— from the surf to the snow, to hanging with friends.

HERO4 Session comes with specially designed mounts and accessories that work seamlessly with other GoPro gear to give you more mounting options than ever.

HERO4 Session delivers stunning video quality. Capture highresolution 1440p30 and 1080p60 video that’s sharp and lifelike. High frame rate 720p100 video enables exceptionally smooth slow-motion playback of your best moments.

Nail the shot with a variety of photo modes. Capture 8MP single photos, Time Lapse photos at set intervals from 0.5 to 60 seconds, and

Burst photos at 10 frames per second.

When it comes to versatile photo capture, HERO4

HERO4 Session captures Time

Lapse photos at 0.5 second intervals right out of the box. You can also access most of the modes of other

HERO4 cameras using the GoPro App or Smart Remote. From single photos to Time Lapse photos, Burst photos to Looping Video—HERO4 Session does it all. You can also use the app or remote to easily adjust settings like video resolution, frame rate, field of view and more.



“Ready to Dive”

It’s never been easier to start shooting great underwater images than with this ready-to-dive package from Reef

Photo & Video. This package includes: Olympus O-MD E-M10 with 14-42mm lens, Nauticam

NA-EM10 housing and Macro Port

56, Easitray, Inon S-2000 strobe, fiber optic cable, mounting hardware, 16GB memory card and rechargeable batteries. This is the perfect opportunity to ‘dive’ into a mirrorless system! Enjoy quality imaging in an easy-to-use, travel-friendly, package. www.reefphoto.com

Issue 87/15

Issue 87/16

Deepshots Tentacle Snoot

Deepshots is happy to announce the latest addition to its product range: A flexible underwater snoot for the

Inon-S2000 and the Sea & Sea

YS-D1 underwater strobes, also known as the Deepshots


The Deepshots Tentacle snoot is a unique fibre optic snoot currently on the market as it utilities a 10mm thick solid core fibre optic cable as its light conveying material.

The new solid core fibre optics pass amazing amount of light through while still being surprisingly flexible.

The Deepshots Tentacle snoot sits tightly around the strobe unit and its 27cm loc-line trunk can be bent to almost 180 degree angle. The Tentacle will ship with two different size exchangeable nozzles for different sizes of light beam. In comparison with the other snoots on the market the

Deepshots solid core snoot is a bargain.






We Dive, Shoot and Service Everything We Sell

Free Lifetime Tech Support!


+1 831-645-1082


USA East

+1 603-432-1997





Zen Underwater DP-230-N120 replaced by


Now Shooting In RAW



+1 831-645-1082


USA East

+1 603-432-1997


The original DP-230-N120 for

Nauticam has been discontinued and replaced by the new DP-

230-N120-1124. The MSRP of the

DP-230-N120-1124 has also been reduced to $1899. As mentioned in the original product release, this newly designed DP-230 has a larger inner diameter to accommodate larger lenses like the Canon 11-24mm f/4.

The new dome is compatible with the

Nauticam Extension Ring 70 for the

Canon 11-24mm and also includes a user installable locking tab for all existing extension rings.

The left photo shows the DP-

230-N120-1124 on the Nauticam housing for Canon 5D Mark III. The right photo shows the locking tab installed on the DP-230-N120-1124.

To use the Nauticam Extension

Ring 70 for the Canon 11-24mm f/4 (21271) the locking tab must be removed.

Nauticam USA is the exclusive wholesale distributor of Zen

Underwater products in the North

American Market. Nauticam USA’s warehouse and service center is located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Our staff of underwater photography experts strives to provide the best customer support and after sale service available. Dealer inquiries are welcome!




Issue 87/17














Order handling by UWCameraStore.com

i-Torch v25 FishLite

i-Torch with their sub-brands

Venom and FishLite, has been making lights for many years now. Located in Hong Kong and distributed through i-Torch Canada, owner Kelvin

Lee has produced innovatively designed lights that are a good value with their quality design, output and beam strength.

This year they brought out the

I-Torch v25 FishLite. At first we thought it was an update to their older and popular V24 light, but in actuality if was a new product somewhere between their more expensive Pro6+ light and the V24. With the same 2800 lumen output, and adjustable white and red output, it also has the same size as the Pro6+, only lacking the purple color used for fluorescence photos. Most divers don’t miss this and they don’t miss the higher $450 price of the Pro6+ either.

The V25 FishLite has 4 steps of white, and two of red light, along with an SOS flashing mode. It’s switch has a built-in “airline” safety mode that requires 5 quick pushes to activate it, then a longer push to turn the light on and switch between it’s modes. It utilizes the now-familiar colored light bezel for relative remaining battery strength that changes from green to white to red as the battery runs down.

All of the iTorch lights come with a YS-mount and the V25 comes with two batteries and a separate charger. Changing the light to a ball mount is not currently possible, so a short YS-Ball arm must be used with a ball mount.


Issue 87/18 www.uwpmag.com


Ikelite TTL Converter for Nikon DSLR

For over 10 years, our Nikon

TTL conversion circuitry has remained the most accurate and fastest TTL exposure available for an underwater strobe. Let the camera adjust your Ikelite strobes while you focus on composition and enjoy the confidence of perfect exposure. This updated adapter provides accurate

TTL exposure with all current model

Nikon DSLR cameras released as of

October 2015.

The TTL Converter is equipped with a simple rotating switch that allows toggling between TTL and manual exposure. When in TTL mode, exposure compensation may be accessed via the camera’s built-in menus. Proper operation and TTL exposure requires use of a current-model Ikelite DS strobe, see compatibility by serial number below.

Use of this TTL Converter requires a Ikelite ICS-5 electrical bulkhead strobe connector and

TTL hotshoe. If you are unsure whether your housing meets these requirements, please contact the housing manufacturer. Wiring diagrams for our Ikelite and Nikonosstyle connectors can be found here.

One or two strobes may be connected to the Converter using an

Ikelite-to-Ikelite single or dual sync cord. Use of two strobes requires a dual sync cord. Two strobes cannot be controlled by individual Converters even if the housing is equipped with two bulkhead connectors.


INON Dome Port

Olympus EP01

INON INC. is pleased to announce official release of a dedicated dome port for the Olympus

EP01 and 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO lens to use withE-M5 Mark II/PT-

EP13, E-PL7/PT-EP12, E-PL6/PT-

EP10 or E-PL5/PT-EP10.


Issue 87/19

Nauticam NA-EOSM3 housing for the Canon EOS M3

Not a Digital SLR, not a film SLR, but with a picture quality that exceed the two!


Nauticam NA-5DSR for Canon 5D Mark III,

5DS & 5DS R

Nauticam is pleased to announce the release of the NA-EOSM3, the newest offering in the largest lineup of precision aluminum underwater camera housings available today.

The Canon EOS M3 is a high performance 24 megapixel APS-C mirrorless body that signals Canon’s new commitment to the mirrorless segment.

The Nauticam NA-EOSM3 housing delivers ergonomic control access, complete functionality, and a comprehensive lens port lineup.

Nauticam leads the underwater housing market in mirrorless interchangeable lens camera support, and the expertise gained from dozens of previous models is fully integrated into the NA-EOSM3 design.

Essential functions are placed for fingertip access at the sculpted right grip. Key controls, such as f-stop, shutter speed, exposure compensation, focus point, and the star button (*) are all easily accessed from the housing grip. The highly refined Nauticam shutter release lever provides tactile feel of half press, critical for accurate pre-focus.

Camera setup is designed to be simple, and fool proof. The slides into the housing with all controls perfectly aligned, and nothing needing to be pre set. A robust cam lever lock ensures perfect alignment. It is impossible to close the housing back door with the camera incorrectly installed, or the camera tray unlocked.

NA-EOSM3 ergonomics are perfectly engineered for a “right hand on the grip” shooting style. Some users, especially those diving in cold water with dry gloves, need alternate ways to hold and operate the camera.


“Truly Refined”

At 50mp, the Canon EOS 5DS (R) is the highest resolution SLR to date. This extraordinary camera demands an equally impressive housing, and the renowned

Nauticam design team has left no detail overlooked in refining the solid design of the NA-5DMKIII to complement the shooting experience of the 5DS (R). In a marriage of form and function, the NA-5DSR features (among many thoughtful improvements)

Nauticam’s patent pending multi-controller, yielding a user interface that is nothing short of elegant in its ergonomics.



Issue 87/20

FIX Neo Premium 2200 DX Video Light




Store owner Marco Heesbeen won a Golden medal at the

CMAS World Championship of Underwater photography.


+31165553944 / [email protected]


The “Premium” label is new for the FIX Neo lighting series designating the high CRI95 out of this

FIX Neo Premium 2200 DX video light.

CRI has been defined as,

“The effect of a light on the color appearance of objects by comparison of the object under a reference light.”

The CRI index reference light holds a score of 100, meaning the higher

CRI for real lights the better. For underwater videographers, this means the Neo Premium 2200 reveals even more brilliant colors from underwater reefs scenes and magnificent animals.

The FIX Neo Premium 2200 is still packed with the signature

Neo features that has made the FIX

Neo’s the must have lights for serious shooters. The Neo Premium 2200 yields an beautiful 100° arcing beam, easy to read blue LCD data screen, and recharges through the light body or by swapping batteries.

The FIX Neo Premium 2200

DX keeps you shooting with its interchangeable battery system.

Meaning swapping batteries between dives keep you in the water and not waiting. Add to that, the Neo Premium

2200 can use the FR1 Remote Control unit and your lighting control is just a thumb press away that keeps your hands on your housing and not swatting for lighting controls.


Your advert could be here for just £50 and will be seen by over 9,000 underwater photographers worldwide. No other publication has such a targeted audience. For more details visit: www.


Issue 87/21

Sea & Sea MDX-EM5 MK II Housing








SEA&SEA announces the upcoming release of the newest addition to SEA&SEA’s mirrorless class family: the MDX-EM5 MK ll housing for the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Mark ll Mirrorless Digital Camera.

To manage the essential controls of the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark ll, this precision engineered housing has

SEA&SEA Housing’s fundamental features including ergonomically redesigned levers, a corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy body, and a movable focus and zoom gear.

Ergo Grip ver.2 can be fitted to the housing using standard accessories, Grip Brackets L/R.

In addition, Grip-Stay L II or SA8

Camera Tray + Grip can also be attached to the housing using the tripod screw holes (x3) on the underside of the housing.

Major controls, including levers and buttons, will glow in dark conditions. Equipped with movable

Focus/Zoom gearWhen the focus/ zoom dial is pulled out, the gear inside the housing moves outward and allows large diameter lenses to be easily mounted. Designed, engineered, and manufactured in Japan, the MDX-

EM5 MK II is Available Now.





July 25-Aug 1


Offered year-round









INTENSIVE www.reefphoto.com


Ikelite Gamma II Flashlights



NEO Premium 2200 DX

Excellent and clear color


RX100 IV






B O T H W O R L D S .

Special Offer - Click Here www.fantasea.com | www.sonydive.com


The essence of form + function now 60% brighter thanks to the latest LEDs and special light concentrating optics.

Each Gamma starts with aircraft grade aluminum, precision-machined into a supremely ergonomic, no-slip contour grip. We purposefully avoided unnecessary grooves and texturing on the light body to allow it to slide in and out of your pocket without snagging.

Military-grade anodizing and a double o-ring seal provide corrosion-proof and waterproof operation up to 400ft

(120m). A heavy duty mechanical tail switch provides either continuous or momentary lighting at the touch of a button.

Like every Ikelite product,

Gamma is built by hand in the USA and individually tested for function and waterproof integrity. We back our products with over 50 years of experience and service within the dive industry.

400 ft (120m) depth rating

350 lumen concentrated 10° beam

Color temperature 6500K

Over 10 hours run time

Accepts 2 CR123 batteries

Dimensions 5.6 x 1.4 in (142 x 36 mm)

Weighs only 4 oz (113 g)


NEO 3000 DX

A massive 3000 lumens in your palm

Wide, spot and red light all-in-one

Switchable wide and spot by thumb only

FixNeoDxLightSystem www.fixneo.com

Issue 87/23

Aquatica A7r II housing for Sony A7r II & A7s II


Glow In the Dark Knobs

This new Aquatica A7r II housing is designed specifically for the Sony a7R II camera, with 42mp still image and 4K video possibilities, an unequalled level of low light performance and a newly release set of high performance optics, this camera is one, if not the best, cameras to bring underwater for imaging purpose.

The Aquatica A7r II comes standard with our own Surveyor moisture and vacuum monitoring sensor circuit installed at the factory, the housing can be ordered with the optional pressure extracting valve and pump installed at the factory.


A must-have upgrade for every underwater photographer using an

INON Z-240 strobe.

This special control knob introduces a long wanted start and end-position on the INON Z240

EV controller switch. Now you can easily determine the power setting without looking at the strobe.

This extra large control knob is very comfortable to operate even when wearing thick diving gloves.

Because of the speciale shape you can even feel the direction of the knob!

Shine your dive light on the knob and it will glow for minutes!

This knob can be used on the

Main Mode Switch and on the EV

Controller switch.


Issue 87/24

Flip adapter Pro

The Flip Adapter Pro enables

Underwater Photographers to quickly switch between normal and macro shots. The Flip Adapter Pro replaces both a regular adapter and a lensholder, so it’s not only convenient but also very cost-effective!

The Flip Adapter Pro is very sturdy and features a minimized distance to the glass of the lens port for optimum performance and image quality. The adapter has a 67mm threaded mount compatible with all popular macro lenses, diopter lenses and filters.

Most Flipadapters are also available as DUO version featuring dual flipping hinges.


Swappable Battery

Swap the battery to allow continuous shooting while a spare battery charges.


Charge the Neo through the back to never break a water tight seal.

Purpose Built

Underwater Photo & Video Lights



Light Heads

Modern LCD Screen

Remote Controller

Attach the optional FR1

Remote Controller to your housing and have full light control just a thumb's reach away.

Output level Remaining run time

SOS mode Blink mode

FixNeoDxLightSystem www.uwpmag.com

New Ultralight products

AC-CSF-28 New clamp AD-SK “Sidekick” Light

Canon, Olympus, Inon, Sea & Sea, Hugyfot, Nauticam, Light & Motion, FIX, i-Divesite, GoPro, etc...

Crazy about underwater photography?

The Ultralight AC-CSF-28 New clamp is made with a finer thread bolt, which allows more precise tension on the ball.

The Ultralight AD-MOD adapter comes with correct bolts for the Light and Motion Sidekick light.


SeaLife AquaPod Mini

This compact and travelfriendly AquaPod Mini offers an anodized aluminum body, stainless steel hardware and rubberized grip, providing users with a rugged, ergonomically designed product for land and sea that captures both video and still images from various perspectives. Extending from 15.5 inches out to a maximum of 38 www.uwpmag.com

inches, the AquaPod Mini is the ideal travel companion to capture all those memories.


So are we...

London’s premier underwater camera store

Ocean Leisure Cameras is the one-stop central London underwater photography specialist store.




11-14 Northumberland Ave

London, WC2N 5AQ

Underground: Embankment



Phone: 020 7930 5051 [email protected]


Open 7 days a week



Issue 87/25

Acquapazza DEMA products

Japanese underwater housing manufacturer Acquapazza will be exhibiting the following equipment at the DEMA Show 2015:

Also on display will be the LSS2 for LED triggering of external strobes.

-The APSO-A72 is an aluminium prototype housing for the Sony A7

II which can be used down to 656 ft (200 m) together with a 150mm

Macro port and an experimental

180mmMacro port.

The APSG-dpQ is an aluminium prototype housing for the Sigma DPQ cameras and there will be four kinds of ports.

Finally there will be M10 ball joints L60 and L80 and the optimal

ADJ grip for a small to medium-sized housing.

Your advert could be here for just £100 and will be seen by over 9,000 underwater photographers worldwide. No other publication has such a targeted audience. For more details visit: www.uwpmag.


The new APSO-RX100M4 housing for the Sony RX100 1V is available in 15 different colors.

Then there will be an aluminium prototype of a M67 Flip lens adapter and there will also be a version to attach to the Acquapazza phi 90 ports.

Issue 87/26



We manufacture trays for your digital camera & video housings and arms to add a strobe or light.


GoPro mounts

18 years in business.

100% customer satisfaction guaranteed.

“Do not be fooled by all the copy cat brands that look like ours. Ask for genuine

ULCS parts made in the USA”

The original arms with the O-ring in the ball.





Made in the USA



“Often copied, never equaled”

Issue 87/27

2015 SoCal Shootout winners

We are excited to announce the winners of the 5th Annual SoCal


With excellent conditions, our highest number of participants and overall great photographers this year we had an intense competition with some really fantastic entries.

Our new categories for this year,

Mirrorless Wide Angle and Mirrorless

Macro were extremely successful with many entries showcasing the beauty of the California waters.

In addition we continued to have a strong video competition with Todd

Kortte taking first place in our edited video category with his stunning edit of bait-fish schooling among the oil rigs.

The 5th Annual SoCal Shootout weekend took place September

18th-20th, 2015 with participants shooting all over the Southern

California waters. Entries were judged by professional underwater photographers Mark Strickland, Andy

Sallmon and Bluewater Photo owner

Scott Gietler.


Issue 87/28 www.uwpmag.com

We’ve got you covered!

We’ve got you covered!

Magic filters are now available in 3 options.

Original Magic for use in blue water with DSLR and compact cameras with Manual White Balance, Auto-

Magic for compact cameras in automatic point and shoot mode. GreenWater Magic for use in green water with DSLR and compact cameras with Manual White

Balance. Prices start at just £19.


The Auto-Magic formula is now available in a Plexiglass filter that can be added or removed underwater.


Issue 87/29

Nauticam WWL-1 lens review

by Peter Rowlands

Unless you are just out from a 6 stretch or have just got back from Mars you will know that

Nauticam have revolutionised the production and design of underwater housings beyond all measure.

Their speed to market and eye for innovative design has been keeping up with the camera world’s ability to come up with newer models designed to tempt our wallets.

They started as a one product (white balance dome port) company in the underwater world and have gone on to produce housings for most of the popular cameras but a couple of

Issue 87/30

The Nauticam WWL-1 supplementary wide angle lens is designed to increase the angle of coverage of a 28mm lens to 130° with excellent resolution, corner sharpnemm without exaggerated barrel distortion of a full frame fisheye lens.

years ago they introduced the SMC and then the

CMC supplementary close up lenses. As a result they had entered the “optical” game. A logical progression would then be to produce a wide angle supplementary lens to complete the set and so the

WWL-1 came to be.

Wide angle optics underwater is a complicated business and the wider you try to go the more compromises must be accepted in terms of overall resolution, edge sharpness and flare. Nauticam have taken wide angle correction as far as is possible without accepting significant compromises and so the WWL-1 was designed for use with 28mm camera lenses to increase their angle of coverage to 130° and still produce high resolution images with tight corner sharpness even at wide apertures.

There are other supplementary wide angle lenses on www.uwpmag.com

the market which offer a wider angle of coverage but at the expense of edge sharpness and overall resolution.

The WWL-1, consisting of an aluminium housing and glass optics is a chunky lens but at

1.5kg it is no heavier that the established INON

UWL-100 with the optional low profile dome but is slightly smaller. It is available in 67mm screw thread or bayonet mount fitting and unless you already have a screw thread I would recommend the bayonet mount which is much easier to fit and remove underwater - you should always do this to dislodge any small air bubbles which might cling to the glass surfaces on water entry.

I was using the WWL-1 with the Panasonic

14-42 (28-84)mm 4/3rds lens and Nauticam have produced have produced a matched flat port which keeps the WWL-1 perfectly positioned for optimum optical performance.

The other benefit which the WWL-1 offers is much improved close focus capability. With my www.uwpmag.com

Even in extreme lighting the WWL-1 produce very little flair which was very impressive indeed.

previous INON lens I had to use a +2 dioptre close up lens to give increased close up performance but even with that it was nowhere near as good as the

WWL-100. In addition the lens coatings and design have produced a lens which is flare free in all but the most extreme of lighting and the final icing on the cake is full zoom capability

I received my review lens and port just before going on a trip with Mr Mustard to California to sample kelp forest, sea lion and oil rig diving. At

1.5kg on land the WWL-1 made my Panasonic G7

Nauticam outfit very nose heavy so I had to make a

The WWL-1 behind a Panasonic 14-42mm lens has a very useful zoom range and excellent close focus capabilities.

Issue 87/31

jury rig of Stix floats to level the balance and make the lens only very slightly negative underwater. This is important, especially when shooting video. Nauticam have told me that they are working on a buoyancy collar which, to my mind, will be a must have accessory.

Speaking of accessories

I have for a long time had a gripe with almost all glass dome port manufacturers in that they go to the ends of the optical earth to produce amazing coated curves and surfaces and then think that a cheap stretchy neoprene cover is sufficient to protect the front dome port. I agree it provides protection from all but the roughest of handling but taking them on and off underwater usually requires the arms of an octopus. No - I think a lens of this quality deserves better protection which a solid lens cover would provide. Sure it can be an expensive optional extra but I think it would be worth it.

With these slight, rectifiable, niggles aside I can tell you that this is an excellent ‘piece of glass’.

The straight legs of an oil rig platform show that the WWL-1 doesn’t not produce the exaggerated barrel distortion normally associated with full frame fisheye lenses.

A lens is a very personal piece of equipment - it is the eye in front of the camera’s mechanical engine and as such there is a much more human relationship between it and the photographer. I can’t say that it is either a male or female relationship but just one of admiration which creates a desire to show it the best possible lighting and location and let it do its magic for the sensor to capture. I got on very well with this lens and the results are better than I have been used to all this time. The differences are subtle in terms of resolution but there is a crispness and improved contrast that I have not seen before and then when I look at the corner sharpness of my results it just makes me feel good.

I shoot video almost exclusively and this lens is perfect for me. 130° wide without exaggerated barrel distortion, full zoom and excellent close focus make this the perfect all rounder which could only be beaten in angle by a dedicated fisheye lens or in close up by a dedicated macro lens, both of which you need to commit to before the dive. I put the

Issue 87/32

(Top) Nauticam Panasonic GX7 housing, 14-42mm lens at

14mm, Nauticam WWL-1 wide lens, available light, Original

Magic filter. (Above) with the 14-42mm lens zoomed in to 42mm.

This makes the housing/lens combination a very versatile set up.

WWL-1 lens on knowing that there is very little I will not be able to capture and that to me is very liberating. There is enough thinking going on without having to worry “Did

I put the right lens on”?

For stills photographers the same could well be true

- this lens combo could give you the flexibility to not change lenses again and that’s www.uwpmag.com


Industry Leading Innovations

Vacuum testing system

Light mounting system

Housings - Cinema Camera

Housings - DSLR

Housings - Mirrorless

Housings - Compact

Carbon Fibre arms





Zen underwater



Sea and Sea


Light and Motion

Glowdive iDivesite

This Harbor Seal was so taken by the pin sharp reflection of him in the dome of my WWL-1 lens that he kept coming back time and again for another look! Photo by Alex Mustard.

Advanced Lighting Technology a very liberating thought.

A bit like looking at 4k footage then going back to 2k I looked at my

Californian kelp forest footage and couldn’t face the thought of giving up the WWL-1 lens so I bought it rather than return it and it will become the mainstay lens for me for some time to come.

Peter Rowlands

[email protected]


Nauticam were so pleased with my

Californian footage that they produced a showreel clip at


and I have added my initial videos at

https://youtu.be/hY3_CUN0bhA https://youtu.be/r6D2jVHRnz4 https://youtu.be/rLKjH3w3hz8


Keldan Video 4X

6000 lumen

5000 kelvin

5 power settings

Rated to 200 meters

110° beam in water

+44 (0)1202 256241

[email protected]

where passion meets expertise


Issue 87/33

Some initial thoughts on the Canon 5DSR

by Wade Hughes

Canon’s release of the

50 megapixel twins, the 5DS and the 5DSR has made high resolution digital photography far more accessible, although at $3500, still not cheap. For underwater photographers, there is an added bonus in the fact that

Canon installed this added grunt into camera bodies identical to the current 5D Mk 111 and so, the new camera slipped right in to my

Nauticam Mk 111 housing. After so many upgrades requiring the additional expense of a new housing this was good news indeed!

Auto focus in the water appears at least as good, if not a little better, than the Mk111 but, as always, is assisted significantly by the addition of a focusing light. Using the super macro SMC wet diopter, I lock the focus at the closest focusing distance and rock the camera back and forth to achieve something resembling focus.

The 5DSR is unforgiving when it comes to sharpness. Images that are sharply focused are breathtakingly sharp. Those that are slightly off, appear disproportionately soft.

To appreciate the 5DSR’s amazing resolution, though, look at the 100mm shot of the exposed reef-top and the fishing camp erected beyond it, and then compare it with the centre-frame crop. Similarly,

Issue 87/34 www.uwpmag.com

with the 8-15 mm reefscape and the centre frame crop of the damsels and lurking red bass. Downside is, of course, what appears to be backscatter throughout the frame. In fact, this is simply the camera seeing and recording the finest suspended particulates in the water. The monochrome of the sponge, with the camera securely settled on the sand, and the scene carefully lit with twin Inon Z240 strobes, resulted in a delightfully sharp still life; and an hour or so of removal of pin-sharp, www.uwpmag.com

pin-pricks of white specks in the negative space.

The dynamic range appears to be very good, but underexposure quickly generates murkiness and noise in the shadows. The sensor seems far happier with 1 to 2 thirds of a stop overexposure.

So the 5DSR strikes me as being a specialized tool, better suited to specific shots where definition really counts, and adequate lighting is available, rather than being a general purpose camera. It appears to be unforgiving of imprecise focus, of camera shake, and underexposure. But, within those boundaries, it seems to be a tool with enormous potential.

Wade Hughes

Issue 87/35

Sea & Sea YS-D2 review

by Dan Bolt

For the past couple of months I have been putting the new Sea & Sea

YS-D2 (apparently no relation to R2-

D2) strobe through its paces around the UK coastline. Since its launch it is already proving to be a popular choice amongst my underwater photographer buddies; with some upgrading to the new model from older Sea & Sea strobes and others switching over from Inon units. I’m going to have a look at what’s on offer from the YS-

D2 and explore why my friends are parting with their hard earned cash.

The YS-D2’s headlines are pretty impressive; although it has the same maximum Guide Number as its predecessor of 32, the recycle time between full-power flashes has been trimmed down to 1.5 seconds from 1.9 previously. We’ll see what this this means for you later. At the other end of the power scale the DS-

TTLII mode is now able to turn all the way down to a Guide Number of

1, where the previous low was 3.7.

Additionally, the EV compensation you can dial in has been increased from +/- 1.5EV to +/-2.0EV giving you total control over the output. For compact camera shooters, there is now a Custom Mode that means you can program the strobe to cope with the different pre-flash systems used on a huge array of compacts. There are 5 different custom mode settings and the user manual lists the current cameras covered by the modes – I think it is safe to say that you will struggle to find a camera that this strobe won’t work with!

all too prevalent on the YS-D1. I’ll discuss more about the control panel later.

The headline figures are what most people judge their flash-units by, but there are other more subtle and aesthetic reasons that go into selecting which is the right strobe for you. So the other changes that Sea & Sea have introduced might not grab the headlines, but are equally important to assessing the overall usefulness of the YS-D2. Top amongst these changes is the newly designed control panel on the rear, not only are the dials chunkier but the rotary magnetic system has a very positive feel and will all but eliminate the accidentalmode-switching annoyance that was

YS-D1 (r) & YS-D2 (r) side by side

(front view)

Issue 87/36 www.uwpmag.com

Rear controls of the YS-D2 Rear controls of the YS-D1

Other subtle changes come in the form of a more powerful targeting light which now has two power outputs of 100 & 300 lumens, an audible beep when the unit is ready for action (initially

I thought that this was a bit of a gimmick, but in use I’ve found it surprisingly reassuring and will miss it when I gives the strobe back!), an improved mounting base and fixing bolt and a nice red-filter to cover the targeting light that can be placed into either of the two supplied diffusers. The battery compartment has also been tweaked to make inserting the batteries (in the right order!) easer too.

Sometimes it can be the things that DON’T change that can also make a difference, for example going from the YS-D1 to the YS-D2; you can still use the same fibre-optic cables, you can still use the same electronic synch cords, the battery cover www.uwpmag.com

(and hence the o-ring) is the same, the diffusers use the same mount, and most importantly all your expensive snoots will fit perfectly onto the unit too.

So, back to those changes and what they actually mean in real terms. What difference does

4/10th’s of a second really make on the recycle time? For the majority of your underwater time probably none at all, but on those occasions when you are shooting on high-power settings in a rapidly evolving scene it can make all the difference.

Imagine shooting sea lions playing in the bright sunlit waters of Mexico, you’ll need high-power from your strobes to freeze the action and fill in the light… not a place you want to be waiting around for your strobes to catch up with you. In the UK shooting grey seals can offer the same problem, but I chose a static upturned anchor to explain my

Dahlia anemone. Olympus E-M1, Aquatica AE-M1,

Panasonic 8mm fisheye, 1/40th, f/6.3, iso640

point. Here I have a YS-D1 on the left and YS-D2 on the right, and I was shooting rapidly into the sun off a shallow beach. It didn’t take long for the D1 to fall behind the ‘action’… the difference in speeds between the old and new strobes is clear and very welcome.

At the other end of the scale, the lower minimum power coupled with the finer control

Issue 87/37

over the output means you can be a lot more subtle with your lighting. I’m a big fan of my old snoot and I love the challenge of using it for macro – the

YS-D2 and an Onderwaterhuis.NL flip snoot are a perfect partnership for the job. This nudibranch and ascidian were both shot with the YS-D2 in DS-

TTLII mode with -2.0EV. The effects are different but the method/approach to lighting the same

In use, one of the flaws of the YS-D1 design was that it was all too easy to accidentally knock the camera into the wrong mode or inadvertently change your power adjustment. Simply repositioning the strobe was sometimes enough to move these controls meaning that you lost a shot.

I’ve grown used to it and now always doublecheck my YS-D1’s but on the YS-D2 this issue has been solved totally. The completely redesigned rear control panel now uses very positive-feeling switches and a multi-coloured LED back-light system that tells you what mode you are using.

The backlighting is surprisingly effective, but the central mode light it is actually almost too bright on a night-dive!

TTL performance is in-line with the YS-D1,

Issue 87/38

Plumose anemones on anchor. Olympus E-M1,

Aquatica AE-M1, Panasonic 8mm, 1/250th, f/16, iso200

but you now have more control over it with the amount of compensation you can dial in. Optically controlled ‘TTL’ has truly come of age in the past few years but actual results will vary between camera models and manufacturers. Once you’ve learned how best to marry your camera to your

YS-D2 (by that I mean camera metering modes, on-camera flash output adjustment or strobe output adjustment) then you’re all set for productive

Snakelocks anemones. Olympus E-M1, Aquatica AE-

M1, Panasonic 8mm, 1/320th, f/18, iso320

shooting. Personally, I never use TTL (apart from shooting for a review!) and can only say that I was satisfied, but not impressed with, the YS-D2 in DS-

TTLII mode and my Olympus E-M1. The blame for that should lie with me rather than the strobe because my friends are all very happy with their success-rates from their YS-D2’s.

Ultimately, strobe choice is very personal; what might be important to me will be ignored by www.uwpmag.com

The leading online resource for underwater photographers and videographers

Jewel anemone. Olympus E-M1, Aquatica AE-M1, Panasonic 45mm, subsee +10, 1/30th, f/9, iso1250

someone else. I’m a big Sea & Sea strobe fan, mostly because of their simplicity, effective control functions and a design that allows me to use them effectively with 7mm mittens on

– I have owed Inon strobes but found myself reaching for the Sea & Sea units almost every dive so they soon ended up on ebay. Whether the YS-D2 will be you next strobe is your choice, but it gets a big ‘thumbs up!’ from me

Dan Bolt




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Issue 87/39

Spawning Aggregations

by Richard Barnden

A Spawning aggregation is a group of fish that temporarily gather at higher than normal densities for the sole purpose of reproducing.

In the mid 70’s Robert

E. Johannes a tropical marine ecologist came to the islands of

Palau and pioneered the idea of integrating local knowledge from fishermen with Western concepts of management and applying it directly to resource conservation and fisheries management.

Local knowledge of lunar cycles and spawning aggregations is invaluable for the protection of breeding grounds which would rarely be discovered without knowledge from local fishermen. Johannes pioneering work and the help of local communities later went on setting up fishing ‘closures’ of particular species of fish around their spawning aggregation cycles. These are still in force today.

Not only locally enforced policies make Palau such a unique and special place for spawning aggregations. It has Marine lakes, rock islands , mangroves and a large lagoon making it a perfect

Issue 87/40 place for young juveniles to grow and survive away from the dangers of bigger reef dwelling predators.

Where they too can one day join others in a spawning aggregation.

Palau’s regular southern lagoon dive sites are in a relatively small area compared to other diving spots where hundred’s of miles are covered in a single week live aboard trip. As a dive guide this has it’s advantages. Diving

After Spawning the huge school of Blue Lined Sea Bream (Symphorichthys spilurus) moves up the reef wall together,where they will aggregate and rest waiting for the following days spawning time. Nikon D800, Nauticam Housing, 16mm Lens, ambient light, f8.0

1/160, ISO 200

the same sites day in, day out, month in, month out you get to familiarize yourself with each dive site. By keeping strict logbooks each day and having an eye to notice large aggregations of fish turning up on regular occasions you start to notice patterns emerging and can start building up a database of possible spawning events happening around moon cycles each year.

Only a few dedicated dive shops so far have the knowledge of lunar cycles and tidal times to be able to practically guarantee such events.

Unique Dive Expeditions, a product of Sam’s Tours, offers educational expeditions targeting spawning aggregations around lunar phases, a new kind of style of diving. After spending the last five years studying these aggregations there are so far three regular spawning dives achievable, other aggregations are being studied but the combination of spawning at night or beyond recreational limits makes it logistically hard.

Each species of fish has its own spawning patterns and styles and follows its own spawning lunar phases. Some aggregations will spawn every month like the Twin spot snapper (Lutjanus bohar) and the

Bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometepon muricatum). Other aggregations will only spawn once or twice each year like the Blue lined sea bream

(Symphorichthys spilurus).


As the school prepares to spawn color changes (sexual dimorphism) can be seen between males and females. Darkish black colors and a lighter whitish colors are displayed. It is unknown at this stage which is male and female color changes.

Nikon D800, Nauticam Housing, 16mm Lens, Sea & Sea YS-250 Strobes, f8.0,1/80, ISO 400

The Blue Lined Sea Bream -

(Symphorichthys spilurus)

During the months of March,

April and sometimes May these strange but beautiful looking fish form one of Palau’s largest recorded spawning aggregations to date. A rarely seen fish on the reef these normally solitary fish hide inside the lagoon or on deep sandy drop off’s, feeding on crustaceans hidden in the sand and normally away from the eyes www.uwpmag.com

of divers.

As their spawning season approaches individuals start gathering in two main areas of Palau. One in the North West side called Tailtop and one in the South, around the island of


This aggregation can reach up to 50,000 fish and just seeing the size of the school when its together can be more impressive than the actual spawning event itself.

When the correct formula of

A group of divers descend just above the huge school of Twin Spot Snappers

(Lutjanus bohar). This school can have more than 5000 individuals each month returning to spawn. Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, Ambient light,Nikon 16mm lens, f8.0, 1/125, ISO640.

month, day, tide and time come together the Sea Bream are ready to spawn. The school moves from its aggregation area to an area with current, taking their gametes to safety.

From 60m to 15m the school becomes a tight mass of yellow fusion and the fish begin spawning. Bullsharks,

Blacktip sharks and often lemon sharks are seen slowly swimming through the school waiting for a tired fish to pick off.

The Twin Spot Snapper -

(Lutjanus bohar)

Also found in Peleliu and on other outer promertries in Palau, these fish aggregate around full moon.

Schooling in mid water in the day, this impressive school looks like a dark cloud as you approach it. Between

5000 and 10,000 fish depending on the month can be seen schooling and spawning here.

Just as the sun rises you enter

Issue 87/41

After aggregating for a while, the school of Twin Spot Snapper (Lutjanus bohar) rises close to the surface in a rubbing type of ritual, moments away from spawning. Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, Sea & Sea YS - 250 strobes,17mm lens, f8.0, 1/125, ISO640

one of Palau’s notoriously strong current dive sites. The reef is barely visible as the dark cloud of snappers appears in the distance. Waiting on the reef for the exact moment you watch as bullsharks and blacktip sharks parade around its outskirts.

Suddenly the spawning erupts, all hell breaks loose as multiple females shoot to the surface, with males on the chase releasing their milky gametes into the water column as what seems to be aggressive reproduction.

Issue 87/42

Visibility goes from 30m to 3m near the surface and hungry black snappers are crazily feeding on the newly born youngsters. Drifting in the blue water doing your safety stop with the lucky snapper survivors you realize you just witnessed one of natures magic moments.

The Bumphead Parrotfish -

(Bolbometepon muricatum)

One of the most recent spawning

Spawning begins as a group of Twin Spot Snappers (Lutjanus bohar) breaks off and releases its gametes (sperm and eggs) into the water to carry on the continuation of their species. Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, YS - 250 Sea & Sea

Strobes,Nikon 16mm lens, f8.0, 1/125, ISO640.

aggregation discoveries is that of the

Bumphead Parrotfish.

Hidden on the West side of

Palau lies a sandy slope perfect for the continuation of one of the oceans friendliest green giants.

Scientists and divers knew little about there reproductive behavior until Blue Marlin divers found the ground breaking site. This is the biggest bumphead aggregation so far discovered on the planet. Most divers would be lucky to have witnessed a school of a hundred feeding around the reef, here you can see more than a thousand displaying color changes, males banging heads and a thousand fish spawning, truly a magical site.

Early in the morning the school starts to form on the shallow reef top.

One by one following each other from the shallows out onto the reef top like a waterfall, the aggregation begins to form. Hundreds turn into a thousand and the reef starts buzzing ready for a show.


A group of Bumpheads (Bolbometepon muricatum) begin to spawn leaving a trail of white, milky gametes (Sperm & Eggs) in the blue water. Normally only one female will be clustered by a group of eager males. As both male and female look very similar it is quite hard to establish which is which Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, 10.5mm lens,ambient light, f8.0, 1/125, ISO640


As the school of Bumphead Parrotfish (Bolbometepon muricatum) swims off the reef into the blue a small school breaks off high and begins to spawn. Nikon D800,

Nauticam housing, 10.5mm lens,ambient light, f8.0, 1/125, ISO640

As a function of light and tide start to collide so do the bumpheads.

Each green fish now starts displaying sexual dimorphism (colour changes).

Bands and bars start appearing on the bodies and all heads are now white, the show is about to unfold.

The huge school spills into the blue water and the fish begin schooling deeper and swimming at a faster rate . The mating dance begins, males and females swim backwards and forewords in some kind of untimely dance, white heads bobbing around in the deeper bluish water.

You wait patiently for the first female to make her move, once this happens the whole school will rise and a mass spawn will happen in front of your eyes.

Spawning for only a few intense minutes at first the school darts back into the deep and the mating dance continues, the females seeming to want to make the males work a little harder.

Again another female breaks off from the huge school and rises closer

Issue 87/43

A Bullshark (Carcharhinus leucas) swims through the Twin Spot Snappers

(Lutjanus bohar) school looking to target a weak or injured fish as they are preparing to spawn. Nikon D800, Nauticam housing, 16mm lens, f8.0, 1/125,


to the surface, with eager males close behind. Again and again spawning rushes are happening all around you.

This firework precision can last as long as thirty minutes or more in which time the school and spawning will slowly start to decrease as the tired bump heads begin to leave the site. A thousand soon dwindles down to less than a hundred and the vibing site soon returns back to its original feeling as all the bumpheads leave ready to return next month .

I feel privileged to be able to work and study these aggregations in a place like Palau. A country that has protected its very heritage and fish aggregations early on in tradition and culture, realizing there vunribility and high importance to their oceans.

Spawning aggregations are vital for our fisheries and our oceans survival, the more we can learn about them the more we can help protect them.

Richard Barnden

Unique Dive Expeditions

Sam’s Tours, Palau

[email protected]

Issue 87/44

Upcoming Trip that Sam’s Tour will collaborate with Nauticam

Package 1:

17-29 April 2016 USD3,950

18-21 April: bohar snapper spawning

22-28 April: target spilurus sea bream spawning, manta aggregations, possibility of 1-2 other species

Package 2:

30 April - 7 May 2016 USD2,550 (Bumpheads spawning)

Trip includes:

Hotel is Centrol Hotel with roundtrip airport transfer and complimentary breakfast.

3 tanks/day except 2 tanks for blackwater dive, Jellyfish

Lake permit USD100 extra

Unlimited diving at Sam’s Macro Wall

Professional guide, tanks, weights, and free Nitrox up to

32% (with proof of certification)

Hotel transfers, lunch and refreshments on tour days, Free

Sam’s Tours water bottle

Contact email for this trip: [email protected]


The Art of


by Tony Myshlyaev

Having fallen in love with underwater photography, I am fortunate enough to be in the water almost every day. You hope that all your preparation will produce some results. With each success you begin to gain more confidence in your abilities and push yourself to produce even better images. As the stakes raise you hit plateaus on your progress. Favorable subjects become increasingly harder to find as your standards rise.

When I reached this point, I felt I was losing my inspiration. It may have been time to take out the credit card and book a trip to Indonesia. Instead

I began to explore more of the island I already knew. I realized it is almost impossible to see the entire underwater landscape and always being limited to dive sites you are familiar with can take away from the inspiration you need to produce great images. What lurks beyond visible range? It is a fact that, if you look, sooner or later you are always going to find something. As long as you are smart about it.

Beginning at a dive site and working your way outwards in a direction you are unfamiliar with is the most basic way to begin. Staying within the bounds of safe waters should be the most important factor. Speaking to experienced divers can help you avoid something dangerous like a powerful current.

Although current prone areas are often the most promising locations, proceed with caution. However if the conditions are favorable, it is always worth it www.uwpmag.com

Pelagic Jellyfish - Thysanostoma Thysanuran

Despite being in a new environment floating in mid-water was a pelagic jellyfish that was the star of the dive.

Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 16mm f/2.8D, 2 x Inon Z40

to explore. Fish and critters flee from popular dive sites to avoid the harassment of countless divers and often lie beyond the reach of the common route.

Whether it’s all the noises of scuba diving or boat pollution, they have good reason to leave.

If you are passionate about being in the water as much as possible then it will also be worth adding a self-reliant diver certification to your credentials. This way there is no compromise of your goals. It would be a pragmatic investment and you will find yourself benefiting greatly from the new skill. This will allow you to pause and look around at your own pace as well as avoid scaring away fish by approaching with an army of bubbles. The ideal pony tank is also a key factor to consider. To avoid exerting yourself, invest in

Issue 87/45


Having the spare tank on my back allowed for a head-on angle of this cuttlefish. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL

ND700 housing 105mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon Z40

a light aluminium tank. It is important to keep the counter weighting to a minimum. A lighter kit will allow for effortless swimming, keeping you relaxed and making efficient use of the air in your tank.

Especially in the case of shooting macro, it is wise to have your pony tank mounted on your back by a tank bracket. When it is clipped onto the front you risk making contact with the reef or sea floor.

Issue 87/46

Kitting Up - Preparing for a solo dive. Making sure everything is clipped on and tucked away to avoid any distractions from exploration. I like to keep my back up regulator tied to a bungee around my neck. Nikon

D700 50mm f/1.8D

This not only damages the environment but also disturbs the creature during your cautious approach.

By having the pony tank out of harms way you can also gain a unique perspective by getting closer to eye level with your subject. Have your back up second stage clipped on in the most accessible and streamline position and you are ready to go.

It is common to stare at an area of high potential and find nothing for a long period of time when, out of nowhere, you spot movement and zero in on a camouflaged subject. Train your eyes for the macro shots. With time your eyes become paranoid to the shapes of fish and critters. Try to question every shape. Here is where a torch and pointer can www.uwpmag.com

Miracle Triplefin Blenny – enneapterygius mirabilis

This miracle triplefin blenny was motionless in front of my eyes for more than five minutes before I was able to spot it. Patience can pay off. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL

ND700 housing 105mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon Z40

help. Avoid harassing life or damaging any growth but if you are unsure about a shape you have found, you can bring your pointer near the subject in question and see if it has a reaction. If it does, it will reveal itself to you. The more you make of this habit, the more success you will have. This is the best way to find unique photographs.

In most cases, the greatest challenge is locating the critter rather than taking its photograph. As I began to try this myself, I had varying levels of success. One day, after searching www.uwpmag.com

on a number of walls for the course of 45 minutes, a little cavern held a

Miracle Fin Blenny. I had never heard of anyone seeing in this area before.

Taking that picture home with me was more rewarding than the past ten previous dives combined.

If you are able to gather a group of divers with the same mind set, you could take it to a more ambitious level. Pooling together money to rent a boat or sonar can allow you to explore entirely new areas. During preparation it is wise


Whether it is the bubbles of the intimidation of a big group of divers, fish tend to move away from common areas. This grouper was on the outskirts of the dive site.

Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 16mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon Z40

to ask around for promising leads.

Fishermen and sailors may know about a thriving fish locations or interesting rock formations (ones they probably avoid). These could prove to be photogenic areas: caverns with cathedral lighting or formations worthy of your shutter. If you are fortunate to have marine biologists nearby your location, they are an excellent source of information. With the help of a local expert such as this you can stumble on a gold mine.

Often the exchange of information for photographic proof of your findings will help them as much as they helped you. You never know when you might find an undocumented species in your area. Be wary of diving in extremely strong currents that might take you off course. All the same, avoid areas with fishing boats at all costs. There is no need for anyone to end up on a hook or in a net. Avoid risks at all costs.

In my experience, dendronepthya is not a common coral in Koh Tao, however with some great advice and motivation, a group of us were led to a

Issue 87/47

Strapweed Filefish – pseudomonacanthus elongates

Hiding in dendronepthya coral was a juvenile strapweed filefish. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing

105mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon Z40

whole garden of it. It harboured countless symbiotic critters I was so unused to seeing. This was all within clear view of a common dive site.

Scouting with a snorkel is another indispensable way of finding your own promising leads. This way you can economically locate your next exploration dive. With it you can also be confronted by sea life that would usually flee

Issue 87/48 at the first hint of bubbles. It may seem like a chore. Especially in cold water environments but it can bring a refreshing perspective to your portfolio. Green turtles, like sharks, are never seen at my local dive sites however can often be sighted by snorkeling. Avoiding the noise of divers they relocate to quiet areas where they find themselves much more comfortable. This allows for unique

Xeno Crab

A friend tipped me off about the location of a xeno crab. Sometimes you can have your work cut out for you. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 105mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon Z40


Pink Anenome Fish

Observing this pink anemonefish I spent a bit of time to get perfect the shot before moving on at my own pace. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 105mm f/2.8D. 2 x

Inon Z40

Pink Anenome Fish

Observing this pink anemonefish I spent a bit of time to get perfect the shot before moving on at my own pace. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 16mm f/2.8D. 2 x

Inon Z40

photo opportunities that let you utilize the surface in ways your dive gear cannot. Rarely do you have the time to delay a dive while waiting for a turtle to surface for a breath!

Lastly, it is important to never give up. Every last bar counts and it could be at any point that you find just what you were looking for. Just because a day of exploring brought you minimal success does not mean it was all in vain. Perhaps you were unaware of the type of creatures that could be found in the area. Brush up on your knowledge of the environment. Research bottom feeders, reef dwellers, pelagic life, and whatever types of environments you find yourself confronted by. www.uwpmag.com

Issue 87/49

Caloria Indica

Meticulous searching is crucial. At the end of my dive I came upon two caloria indica mating. Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 105mm f/2.8D. 2 x Inon


Green Turtle

Green turtles are certainly around the island but often shy away from dive sites.

Nikon D700 w/ SUBAL ND700 housing 16mm f/2.8D. Magic Filter.

This will narrow your search and allow you to become more efficient at locating subjects. After 65 minutes of searching I was ready to call it a dive.

It was clear that every crevice brought me no success. I was running low on air but I was not deterred to keep scanning every rock during my swim.

Right before launching my safety marker I spotted two Caloria Indicas in the final moments of mating.

Photography has never been as simple as clicking the shutter and getting pretty pictures. It takes a lot more to find the right moments and angles to live up to professional standards. And diving does not need to be as simple as waking up, going to your dive centre and getting on a boat just to be led around for your dives.

Taking the next step will help you gain confidence and vital skills as a scuba diver as well as a photographer and amateur biologist. All of it works hand in hand to improve your images and opens you to a perspective of infinite possibilities where you thought they were already exhausted.

With each mounting success your knowledge and awareness grows, facilitating the rate at which you add new locations and creatures to your knowledge.

Tony Myshlyaev


Issue 87/50 www.uwpmag.com

Underwater Photography

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99p per issue or buy the complete set of 84 issues for just £19.95 (That’s about 25p per issue!) Yours to keep forever.

As you know, the current issue of Underwater Photography is free to download but all of the previous issues, going right back to Issue 1, are still available to download for just 99p per issue. It’s a fantastic reference library chronicling all that has happened in underwater photography over the past 14 years.


Buy back issues here

Issue 87/51

Why Wakatobi?

by Wade Hughes

“Why do you come back, again?”

Wakatobi management asked that question of Robyn, my wife, and me just a few days ago. It’s a routine enough question, part of their ongoing efforts to inform their marketing and promotion programs. And there are a number of simple one-word answers; logistics; reliability; consistency; flexibility. But there’s more to it than that, and perhaps enough to interest readers of UWP as they weigh their options for a future dive trip. I only discuss the land-based resort as I have not dived the liveaboard,

Pelagian. I haven’t been paid for this article and have no personal interests in the business of Wakatobi.

Wakatobi is evolving. When we first visited, almost all the other guests were more or less serious divers, ranging from technical deep-diving rebreathers through professional underwater photographers and film-makers, to keen amateurs, and happy crowds of social divers . On this three-week visit we’ve seen wider range of guests. To the full complement of divers, has been added individuals and families seemingly as intent on relaxing in the sun, as getting out and exploring the reefs.

According to the resort management, this broadening shift in interest has been a noticeable trend for some time and underpins the resort’s offering additional water-based activities such as kite-surfing. Whatever the reasons for the trend, it is feedstock for the maintenance and continuing growth of the resort. But it raises an immediate question: can growth and diversification remain compatible with the isolation and exclusivity that established Wakatobi as a world-class diving destination?

One former Red Sea dive guide, recounting his time in Egypt, told me that, in the early days, “it was necessary to push the fish out of the way to see the reef. Today, you have to push the divers out of the way to see a fish.”

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon

8-15mm f4L fisheye zoom; Kenko 1.4x teleconverter, Inon Z240 strobes

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon

5DSR; Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS.

Inon Z240 strobes

Issue 87/52 www.uwpmag.com

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon

100mm f2.8L Macro IS. Inon Z240 strobes

More and more, this is becoming the case with many well known dive destinations. Market forces, rightly, drive this. If more people want to dive, and more of them are either happy to, or want to, dive in groups, want to bring their families, and enjoy a range of water-based activities, then dive resorts need to cater to them, or go under.

But where does that leave the other end of www.uwpmag.com

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon

100mm f2.8L Macro IS; Nauticam; SMC wet diopter,

Inon Z240 strobes

the spectrum? Divers who want to plonk along alone, and in quietude. Experience and observe life in the sea at their own pace. Perhaps expend multiple tanks of air at a single dive site, waiting to see and perhaps photograph an unusual species or behaviour? Unless such divers have the means and logistics to mount their own expeditions into the unknown, or can work from a home-base close

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon

100mm f2.8L Macro IS. Inon Z240 strobes

to their areas of interest, there is only one other alternative; established dive centres. Wakatobi does cater for this, perhaps dwindling, category of diver. Private guides are available as an option.

They are outstanding at finding marine life. They are knowledgeable, and without exception, always extremely helpful. These guides will still take you out on the boats with the larger groups, but you’ll

Issue 87/53

(Above & right) Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS; Nauticam; SMC wet diopter, Inon Z240 strobes

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 8-15mm f4L fisheye zoom; Kenko 1.4x teleconverter, Inon Z240 strobes

drop onto the reefs at different times and places and you’ll enjoy most of the dives in peace.

One too-frequent exception to this is the night-diving. Even with a private guide many of the night dive sites become crowded. Most of the sites are in protected bays and lagoons

–excellent sites for night diving by most measures. But, after five or six pairs of divers have toured the attractions, the sand is stirred up, and the prevalence of scything white light beams spooks the marine life, and distracts from the overall experience of being in the sea at night.

But, if you really want to avoid all this, and dive to your own agenda, as an additional option,

Wakatobi offers the use of a private boat. Complete with private guide, dedicated crew, and during the day,

Issue 87/54 www.uwpmag.com

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS.

Inon Z240 strobes

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 5DSR; Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS;

Nauticam; SMC wet diopter, Inon Z240 strobes

even a personal waiter. On one hand this is pampering, but on the other, it is an effective way to provide uninterrupted time on the reef.

A final word about those reefs. These are not “pristine” as is commonly claimed. I doubt there are now many, if any, coral reefs in the world that are in their original condition, unaffected by human activity. These are reefs that have been fished and exploited for www.uwpmag.com

centuries. Neither are they complete eco-systems. Sharks, for example, are rarely seen, thanks to the ongoing mindless demand for shark fins in some parts of the world. But they are very well managed reefs in good and, thanks to Wakatobi’s conservation program, improving health. The resort’s own website frankly summarises the delicate balance that must be attained in order to sustain these reefs.

Issue 87/55

“Prior to the program, the locals were largely dependant (sic) on working with foreign, illegal fishing boats to make a living. In the area around

Wakatobi, this kind of fishing still occurs (limited however by our patrols) by boats from other areas of Indonesia or other countries. These boats are owned and crewed by people who don’t consider the pressure they are putting on the marine-life.

The owners don’t pay local taxes, the crew doesn’t care where they throw anchor or deplete marine resources. In the end, locals get very little gain from this kind of activity.

But there is no way that anyone with a sustainability agenda could have marched in and simply told the locals to not walk on the reefs and stop supporting the foreign fishermen, as these activities provided part of their living. Instead, what was needed was an alternative source of income whereby people could choose whether they wished to preserve or destroy. We believed, and still do, that the best and most sustainable alternative is to create employment and education opportunities through responsible, conservation-linked tourism”.

The main reason we have, and will again return to Wakatobi, can be found in these two paragraphs.

The ease of getting here on the resort’s chartered plane is great. The quality of the friendly staff is world-class. The diving is consistently good.

But, in a world where the lottery of birth means that some people have to scavenge the reeftops at low tide for food, while others cruise past on holiday, with camera systems worth more than a local house, it is additionally satisfying to be supporting a sustainable conservation program such as Wakatobi’s. Individually, it might only be a drop in the ocean, but each guest coming here to explore the reefs or just to relax, is part of that program.

Nauticam 5DMK111 housing, Canon 8-15mm f4L fisheye zoom; Kenko 1.4x teleconverter, Inon Z240 strobes

The incoming revenues are creating opportunity and choice for the locals. The locals are protecting the reefs. The reefs are attracting the revenues. Drop by drop, it is making a difference.

Wade Hughes

Wade Hughes is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Explorers Club.

Photo Robyn Hughes

Issue 87/56 www.uwpmag.com

Don’t settle for 2nd best

Film - No Filter No

White Balance

Digital - No Filter Manual

White Balance

Magic Filter Manual

White Balance

Digital cameras have opened up new possibilities to underwater photographers. For available light photography manual white balance is an invaluable tool for restoring colours. But when you use it without a filter you are not making the most of the technique. You’re doing all the hard work without reaping the full rewards. These three photos are all taken of the same wreck in the Red Sea. The left hand image was taken on slide film, which rendered the scene completely blue. The middle image is taken with a digital SLR without a filter, using manual white balance.

The white balance has brought out some of the colour of the wreck, but it has also sucked all the blue out of the water behind the wreck, making it almost grey. The right hand image is taken with the same digital camera and lens, but this time using an original Magic Filter. The filter attenuates blue light meaning that the colours of the wreck are brought out and it stands out from the background water, which is recorded as an accurate blue. www.uwpmag.com


Issue 87/57


God’s Pocket

by Alex Tattersall

Cold water diving, no thanks! Eight degree water, don’t be silly! Dry suit, hood, thick gloves, and having to hold your bladder (!), you must be joking!

Wall to wall critters as far as the eye can see, yes please! A riot of colour, of patterns, of textures, I’d love to! As many unusual photographic opportunities as anywhere you’ve ever dreamed of, where do I sign up!

About three years ago, I attended a British

Society of UW Photographers meeting where

Canadian photographer Rob Bailey presented diving on Vancouver Island. In seeing his photography and excitement about the area, I knew I had to go one day. The opportunity arose for a trip a year down the line and I signed up straight away, promising my wife I’d lose 10 kilos before the trip as the physical demands of cold water diving should not be underestimated. Suddenly, I was on a plane to

Vancouver, my promise sadly broken but my D7200 packed and ready.

We stayed at God’s Pocket resort on Hurst

Island in the God’s Pocket Marine Reserve, some

40 minutes out of Port Hardy to the North of

Vancouver Island. The journey was a mission across some immensely beautiful terrain. The resort itself, run by Bill and Annie was perfect, everything we needed, and the diving, just spectacular. We were unfortunate with the visibility as our trip fell at the

Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, F11, 1/100, ISO 320, 2x INON Z240

end of one of the longest crisis drought periods in memory, the plankton was thick and particulate abundant, most sites having water clarity in the region of around 5 metres. Others in our group who had been to the region previously lamenting the poor visibility but this was quickly tempered by the fabulous wildlife encounters to which we were soon treated.

It had been my intention to use the fisheye lens a lot more than I actually did on this trip and if I have the opportunity to return in more favourable visibility, I’d happily spend 10 days with the wide lens. I took the D7200 and its Nauticam housing, the 105mm VR, the 60mm AF-S macro lenses and the Tokina 10-17 fisheye plus Kenko 1.4x teleconverter. I never leave the house now without my Nauticam Super Macro Convertor in my pocket but as I was confronted with a whole new array of wildlife shooting opportunities, I did not really consider the kind of creative, experimental shooting

Issue 87/58 www.uwpmag.com

I have been trying in the tropics. I noticed also that the cold conditions, the thick gloves and resultant loss of dexterity, and the relatively brief dive times contributed to me reverting to photographic equipment and camera settings well within my comfort zone. I also took the Canon G7X compact camera with Nauticam housing and the final prototype Nauticam Wet Wide Lens (WWL) which is slowly gathering the renown it well deserves.

The first thing to strike me was the emerald green of the water, rather like we have in the UK, but the diversity of colours and subjects to place in front of this green water was astounding. Our first dive was a site like most others within 10 minutes of the resort, called ‘Hooded Nudi Bay’.

It was teeming with the curious Melibe Leonina nudibranch, much larger than I’d expected (like many things in Canada). I took the opportunity to test the dynamic range of the D7200 with some sunburst shots with some pleasing results. Attractive sunbursts with this camera are certainly a reality, no nasty cyan ring to be seen.

We tried some sites further along from the resort, Seven Tree Island, Barry Island, Hunt Rock, and whilst we were treated to an enormity of marine wildlife, we were informed that the visibility throughout the region was considerably less than usual. Poor visibility though I thought could be used to our advantage in producing atmospheric shots with a more mysterious feel than those created in gin clear water. The schooling Black Rock fish in the bull kelp fronds made a perfect example of this.

At Hunt Rock we saw pink and red brooding anemones colonising the stipes of the bull kelp, their vibrant colours contrasting beautifully with the emerald green of the water as Black Rock fish moved lazily through the fronds.


Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, F22, 1/320, ISO

100, 2x INON Z240 full power

I developed a strange fascination with the bull kelp over the first few days and decided I wanted to work a few kelp shots. We went to a stellar sealion colony one day, a beautiful trip out on the boat where we encountered humpback whales, orca pods and thousands of resident birds feeding from surface baitballs. As the sealions weren’t playing

Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, F11, 1/80, ISO

320, 2x INON Z240

on that occasion, I spent a happy half an hour with a kelp bladder I tried different lighting and found that a soft top lighting produced a nice glow on the circular form. I eventually found a nice specimen which even had a partner shrimp living on its surface.

Over the first two days, I noticed that the words

Issue 87/59

Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, Kenko 1.4x, F13, 1/100, ISO 320, 2x INON Z240

of Rob Bailey during that initial talk “Canada is like the UK but on steroids, everything is massive” were not an understatement. I was particularly impressed by the size and density of the nudibranch and immediately fell in love with the iridescent nudibranch. As the visibility was a struggle, the decision was made to move to close focus wide photography, using the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and the Kenko 1.4x teleconvertor with a Nauticam

140mm glass minidome.

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This CFWA technique was good for photographing one of the area’s common subjects, the Red Irish Lord, a goliath of a scorpionfish but very docile.alongside some rarer subjects such as the Rock Greenling, a fascinating fish with a glowing aquamarine blue mouth which it presents when threatened.

On day three, Bill told us we had an opportunity to dive a local gem, Naquakto Rapids or

Tremble Rock as it is otherwise known. The site is a

Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, Kenko 1.4x,

F13, 1/80, ISO 500, 2x INON Z240

small outcrop in the middle of a narrow rivulet type channel. Tidal flows during spring tides can create some of the strongest currents recorded worldwide, to such an extent that the trees on the rock can be seen to shake, hence the name ‘Tremble Rock’.

Currents were in our favour and the tidal range not too high for the next morning so we decided to www.uwpmag.com

Nauticam NA-D7200, Tokina 10-17, Kenko 1.4x, F13, 1/80, ISO 500, 2x INON


Canon G7X, Nauticam housing, WWL, F8, 1/125, ISO 200, 2x INON Z240

take the 90 minute trip, knowing that if there was any fog at the site, we would not be able to dive and would need to turn back. As we arrived, we saw whirlpools and surface current as I’ve never seen, but there was no fog, so in we jumped, if not a little cautiously.

The peculiarity of this particular site is its red lipped goose necked barnacles. As the water is so rich in oxygen, the blood haemoglobin in these incredible animals is intensified www.uwpmag.com

to such an extent that they glow with a crimson red. Not many species can reside in such current but the goose necked barnacle is perfectly adapted with a flexible neck but hugely strong grip. I decided to take the compact camera with the Nauticam WWL attached on this dive, and took a range of shots through the useable zoom range of the camera. The sharpness of the lens is obvious, even to the corners, two INON Z240s providing lighting.

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Nauticam NA-D7200, 105mm VR, F22, 1/200, ISO


The last few days, having seen so many new and interesting animals, I decided to use the macro lens, the 105mm VR mostly. The technique used in tropical waters was very similar in temperate waters, AF-C 3D focusing mode with back button focus on the thumb lever. I stuck to the settings with which I am comfortable to give me enough depth of field as a buffer and went to work.

The first subject on the hit-list was the Grunt

Sculpin, a unique little fish similar to a devilfish in that it uses its spiny pectoral fins to crawl over the sandy bottom. It has an odd appearance and anyone interested in marine life should read up on its very idiosyncratic defensive behaviour of using its transparent tail to mimic a feeding barnacle.

I had the amazing Decorated Warbonnet high on my critter hit list as our UK offerings, the Tompot and Yarrell’s blennies are distinctly less glamourous. I’m sad to say that I left without seeing one of these charismatic critters, as good an excuse as any to return. However, Bill and Annie told us about the Mosshead Warbonnets living in numerous discarded glass bottles directly under the God’s Pocket pier. A couple of night dives and we had discovered them and made the most of photographing them whilst trying not to kick up the fine silty bottom.

Macro subjects were just falling over themselves to be photographed, the real challenge was to limit oneself to three or four per dive.

A favourite site by far was the world famous

Browning Wall, just 5 minutes from God’s Pocket resort. This is a long wall forming part of the

Browning Pass but one particular length some 100m

Nauticam NA-D7200, 105mm VR, F22, 1/200, ISO


in length undulates vertically creating current eddies and feeding some of the richest and most colourful soft coral and sponge life I have seen. At either end of this 100m section of the wall, the colourful life suddenly falls off into white, orange and pink plumose anemones but the Browning Wall stretch is an absolute treat to the senses. Photographically though it is an advanced site with a near vertical drop heading to the depths below but every single inch of wall is covered and encrusted with life.

My final love affair in our brief trip to this

Canadian wonderland was with the plentiful medusae, and in particular, the amphipod life living symbiotically on their surfaces. They have this fascinating behaviour of burrowing a small dent in the jellyfish’s surface and then sitting in there with their legs in the air, wiggling them about presumably to catch passing plankton for

Issue 87/62 www.uwpmag.com

Nauticam NA-D7200, 105mm VR, F22, 1/200, ISO 320

Nauticam NA-D7200, 105mm VR, F22, 1/200, ISO 320

their lunch. Some of the jellyfish had many of these little bug visitors, very fascinating to watch. If only I’d had more time!!

As I’m sure you can tell, I fell in love with Vancouver Island’s underwater paradise. Having not done much cold water diving, I fear the chilly depths may have a lot to live up to in the future to equal or surpass what we saw during these 10 days.

Photographically, you can also see from my settings that I curbed any real creative experimentation, in part because these were all new subjects to me, in part because we were limited to short dives, quite quickly because cold and somewhat demotivated, and perhaps I was already task laden with the strenuous nature of the diving. I also cannot stress the importance of knowing your camera and housing system inside out before taking on serious cold water photography. In my position now, I’m fortunate to test and play with many different cameras, lighting options, and underwater

‘toys’, each with different menu systems and ergonomics peculiarities.

The temptation was there to try and test new products but

I’m pleased that I limited myself to the very familiar. I feel the results may have been very different had I not.

A final word which seems appropriate is that you need to put

God’s Pocket on your bucket list, I am still in awe just reliving the experience in writing this article and reediting the images. Oh, and the beer and the people are great too!

Alex Tattersall



Issue 87/63

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Issue 87/64

Shortfin Mako Sharks

by Gregory Sweeney

Northeast off the coast of Cancun on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico lies the small island of Isla Mujeres.

The island is approximately five miles long and one half mile at is widest point. Just a short ferry ride from

Cancun, the island offers beaches, scuba diving, and a relaxing place to shop and dine. In the summer months the island plays host to guests drawn in by the whale shark ecotourism trips. Guests travel out into the Gulf of Mexico and snorkel with the gentle giants. If they are lucky they also may encounter giant manta rays.

Isla Mujeres is best known for wintertime fishing and game fishing of sailfish. The sailfish attract many fishermen, but also underwater photographers. Watching the great coordinated predation of the bait balls is a thrill and photographing it underwater is challenging but rewarding. The sailfish work together as a fast moving team to keep the baitfish tightly packed in the bait ball.

Being in the water to witness during this action is as exciting as catching a sailfish on the rod.

Adding to the adventure of Isla

Mujeres is the chance to see shortfin mako sharks up close. Captain www.uwpmag.com

Anthony Mendillo is now offering this opportunity to photographers and shark fans during the winter season.

Captain Anthony was the pioneer of the sailfish freediving experience.

Also he was involved in early efforts too preserve the sailfishing industry.

The fishermen of Isla Mujeres all agreed to a Code of Conduct that only allows traditional fishing methods.

The same spirit of sustainability and responsible tourism extends to the whale shark trip and to the mako cage dives.

Capt Anthony and crew have worked with Guy Harvey Research

Institute to catch, tag, and release

Makos, which are then tracked to add valuable and previously unknown

Using one of the two ports in the cage, you can get a clear water shot as the mako circles around me

Nikon D300 with a 12.0 – 24.0 mm f4.0 lens ISO400 1/125sec at f/13

The Keen M is a powerful and fast fishboat usually used for sailfish but it has been modified to carry the mako shark cage

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The cage fits 2 people with a hooka air supply located in the boat. It has Lexan polycarbinate panels on the sides and one large one in the front with 2 open ports facing front.

Canon EOS 5D MKIII in a Nexus housing with EF15mm f2.8 fisheye lens at

ISO 400 1/400 at f/10 – 1/3ev

The mako charges toward me and I take cover behind the bullet proof acrylic panel while he devours the bait

Nikon D300 with a 12.0 – 24.0 mm f4.0 lens ISO 220 1/250sec at f/13

details about the timing and long distance migratory movements of this vulnerable species. This experience has added greatly to the knowledge of the Mexico shortfin mako population and their overlap with other populations tracked by the Guy Harvey Research Institute.

Close interaction with the makos has also taught the crew the secrets of location, behaviors, bait preference, and seasonality. This know-how leads to a 70% success rate for attracting makos to the boat.

The makos in this area of the

Caribbean are large compared to those in some other locations. Average sizes for shortfin makos are 3.2 m

(10ft) in length and 60 – 135 kg (132

– 298lb). The Isla Mujeres population averages in the top of that range at

114 kg (250lb). Shortfin makos are a beautiful and photogenic fish in brilliant metallic blue and a white underside. They inhabit offshore temperate and tropical seas worldwide and this pelagic species can be found from the surface to depths of 150m

(490ft) normally far from land, though occasionally around islands or inlets.

Makos are seldom found in waters colder than 16’c (61’F)

Makos are curious and feel and taste everything with their mouth including the cages, floats, transom, and midwater bait or other targets.

Their prey is cephalopods and bony fish including bonitos and swordfish.

They hunt by lunging vertically up and tearing off chunks of flank or fins. Makos swim below their prey and have a high probability of reaching prey before it is alerted due to their high velocity. Makos are the fastest species of shark. This speed and hunting method makes Makos one of only a few shark species to accomplish a full breach out of the water as part of its predatory attack.

Captain Anthony has observed makos of all sizes doing this full breach behavior and he has developed

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A mako shark takes the bait.

Nikon D300 with a 12.0 – 24.0 mm f4.0 lens ISO400 1/125sec at f/13

methods to allow guests to see and photograph the breaches.

Our boat is the very comfortable Keen M , a

41 ft custom Michael Fitz Sportfish with a 580 hp diesel. We leave the dock on Isla Mujeres in the early morning and head to the waters North of the island. The cage is mounted on the back. Once we reached the deep 400 ft water, the trolling lines are baited. No hooks are used so as not to hurt the shark. It did not take long to attract a shark. www.uwpmag.com

When it hit the bait its whole body launched out of the water like a rocket and with tail flapping did a nearly complete flip smacking back into the water on its side with it prize in mouth.

I have my camera set to burst mode with a fast shutter of 1/1250 sec. I will only get a few frames per leap and it happens with little warning. A shout comes from a crewmember and I press my shutter capturing the full breach.

With a confirmed shark in the area, bait crates

A mako makes a dramatic strike on the trolling bait lifting it out of the water in a full breach.

Canon EOS-1Dx with EF70-200mm F2.8L USM at

1/1250 , f8.0, -2/3EV, ISO 250

are set around the boat and scum scent slick started behind the boat. Now it is time to deploy cage in the water.

The cage adds a safety factor for the guests and piece of mind for the captain. This area is subject

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The mako circles the cage then comes close to investigate a few of the floats

Nikon D300 with a 12.0 – 24.0 mm f4.0 lens ISO400

1/125sec at f/13

to wind, current and the boat is constantly drifting.

Using the cage eliminates the worry that guests will drift too far from the boat or let go of the line drifting quickly out of sight of the boat and crew.

Without the worry of where the guests are, the crew can concentrate on keeping the makos close to the boat and interested; coaxing them into the best position for observation and photos.

Engineered to be similar to the cages used in

South Africa for great white shark encounters, this one has room enough for 2 people. It sports bars of

Issue 87/68 stainless steel and aluminum with a solid floor and a top protected with bars. The cage floats a bit above the surface of the water to enable communication with the boat if needed. At eye level on the sides and front are clear panels made of Lexan polycarbonate sheet. The front has two open ports for cameras.

Captain Mendillo has experimented with different ways to rig the air supply to the cage:

They tried bottles in the cage, but now opt to leave the bottles in the boat and run hookah lines to the people in the cage. This allows monitoring of the air supply and leaves more room in the cage for the guests.

Using a tether, the cage is floated 2m away from boat so the shark can do a complete 360’ around the cage.

In the cage I am able to see the makos up close and swimming very calm and curious right in front of me. They come to the bait floating nearby first to investigate then to strike. They even investigate the cage on a few passes. As the large eye connects with me I feel secure in this strong cage.

The makos will stay with the boat and cage for extended periods. Some encounters have been

3 hours long with the same shark staying with the boat feeding and circling. Our mako stayed for almost an hour doing many passes by the cage and boat. I am able to get great shots of the full shark passing by either the side or the front of the cage.

As the mako comes close to check out the cage I get some close up and front opportunities. Later back on the boat it is still circling and I get some topside shots of attacks on the bait to add to my breaching shot. Capt Anthony has seen guests achieve great images with everything from professional cameras and video rigs to GoPros on a stick.

Hunting for and photographing shortfin mako was a fun and productive day. I returned with great underwater images from the cage and spectacular breaching shots from the boat. The cage experience is exciting: the sharks come close and stay close www.uwpmag.com

making many passes and allowing time to get a variety of images and angles. The encounters are very engaging and guests can get a great experience even if they stay in the boat and forego the cage. It is a good feeling to know that a sustainable tourism activity is being built around this vulnerable sport fish. Since the season overlaps with sailfish season it is possible to get both of these exciting large fish on the same holiday using the same crew. It is thrilling enough to appeal to both photographers and fishermen.

Gregory Sweeney














SouthWest Ramblings 16

by Mark Webster

I have mentioned in a previous ramble that this year has certainly been the year of the jelly fish and the most recent personal jelly fish event for me has been a Highly Commended placing in the British Wildlife

Photography Awards with an image of a barrel jellyfish. So I thought it is a good time to reflect on this subject and how to take advantage of this abundance photographically and produce some satisfying images.

Historically the first jelly fish begin to appear in late spring (May/

June) as the water temperature rises and the first plankton blooms arrive to spoil the visibility! But this year we have seen unusually high concentrations which began to appear in early March, when the water temperature was still very low, and they have remained with us throughout summer and into


Despite the green water and backscatter issues the arrival plankton is actually good news as it is the harbinger of a new marine season and will soon be followed by increased fish activity, the prospect of basking sharks and of course the Cnidarians and Ctenophores. But this year they

(Top) A classic composition with the large Rhyzostoma jellyfish is to place it directly in front of the sun and use your flash on high power to balance the light. A fast shutter speed will freeze the sun’s rays.

Nikon D7100, Subal ND7100, 10-

17mm FE zoom, Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f14 1/160.

(Right) In their adult stage compass jellyfish are quite spectacular with four long arms in addition to the stinging tentacles.

Shooting them in slightly deeper water allows more even lighting with flash and it is easier to control your buoyancy as you move around the subject. Nikon

D300, Subal ND20, 10-17mm FE zoom, Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO

200 f10 1/250.

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have appeared

During the season we normally see four species of jellyfish –

Rhyzostoma pulmo (barrel jellyfish),

Chrysaora hysoscella (compass jellyfish), Aurelia aurita (moon jellyfish), Cyanea capillata (lions mane jellyfish) – and also numerous

Ctenophores (comb jellies or sea gooseberries) which come in various shapes and sizes.

This year there have been fewer lions mane jellyfish seen and the most abundant species has been the

Rhyzostoma, which is also the largest with some examples reaching a meter in diameter across the bell.

All species generally drift with the tide although they also swim whilst drifting and can move surprisingly quickly. So you may see large concentrations of a species on a flood tide at a certain location and none at all on the ebb and vice versa.

The tides will also carry the jellyfish into coves and gullies where they may become trapped temporarily until the reverse flow commences, or permanently until they expire.

The trick of course is working out where the hot spots will be and what period of the tidal flow you should target for the best chance of good encounters.

Some may say there are only so many ways that you can photograph a jellyfish and, whilst that may be so, www.uwpmag.com

the ever changing conditions in the water column and changes in depth and light do offer a variety of options to keep us engaged.

Occasionally a jellyfish will present itself in a more unusual location or negative space offering the opportunity to be a little more creative. Jellyfish appear in various sizes of course, but unless you are chasing comb jellies specifically then a wide angle zoom or a fish eye zoom will be the most flexible lens choice.

Although I own a couple of wide angle zooms I find that I rarely use them in preference to my 10-17mm fish eye zoom as the minimum focus distance of the wide zooms just cannot compete. Even with a smallish subject the fish eye zoom at 17mm can focus almost onto the dome and so you can generally fill most of the frame. You might consider a 60mm macro lens for comb jellies, jellyfish detail or perhaps the juvenile fish which are sometimes seen within the canopy of the larger jellyfish.

You need very calm conditions for reflection shots and some good buoyancy control. Positioning the flash guns correctly takes a little trial and error but the results can be very pleasing. Nikon D7100, Subal ND7100,

10-17mm FE zoom, Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f20 1/200.

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Flash lighting will be used in most cases either to illuminate the subject fully or in balance with the ambient light, but we should also look for opportunities to backlight the subject with the sun when close to the surface or try full silhouette lighting with the sun behind.

Some jellyfish are almost totally translucent whilst others are opaque or partly translucent so putting the sun directly behind the subject and switching off your flash guns need not result in a dark subject but can produce some very pleasing images.

If you are using your fish eye lens close to the surface then also look for opportunities to place your subject with a partial (or full if you are lucky)

Snell’s window effect.

We have a spot close to a headland in Falmouth Bay where we often anchor between dives for a lunch break. Our anchorage is just out of the tidal flow through the bay, protected by the headland. When the tide is ebbing the numerous jelly fish

(this year literally hundreds on some days) are carried north and as the tides strikes the headland those on the edge of the flow are shed by the vortex effect into the sheltered anchorage below the cliffs. So on some days we have been able to peer over the side of the boat and watch a seemingly constant march of huge Rhyzostoma jellyfish swimming somewhat aimlessly as they wait for the tide to turn again. In my idle lunchtime moments

I had been conjuring up an image of one of these large jellyfish right on the surface with the cliffs and blue sky visible directly above it with a touch of sunburst and Snell’s window for good measure. In order to achieve this image I needed the UWP gods to align by providing perfect weather and bringing a suitable jellyfish subject to the perfect spot below the cliffs, right on the surface and to remain there long enough for me to get in the water and capture the moment! I had seen this occur many times but had not reached the spot in time before the jellyfish sounded again.

Waiting at the spot for a passing jellyfish just wasn’t going to work unless I was incredibly lucky. However, many false starts were finally rewarded when I at last

Most of the UK jellyfish species do not have a significant sting, but the lion’s mane can be quite unpleasant. It is very easy to become absorbed in the task looking through the viewfinder and then get too close to receive a nesting sting on the lips or cheek! Nikon D300,

Subal ND20, 10-17mm FE zoom, Inon

Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f16 1/250.

Issue 87/72 www.uwpmag.com

When working with natural light exposures don’t forget to look down on your subject with the sun behind you for a quite different lighting effect with the sun’s rays piercing down and giving an impression of depth. Nikon

D7100, Subal ND7100, 10-17mm FE zoom, ISO 200 f9 1/160.

managed to time my pre-dive preparations with the arrival of two or three likely subjects heading for the shallows below the cliffs.

Staying just below the surface and controlling your buoyancy in a dry suit is a real challenge and you are also constantly trying to control your exhalations as the bubbles will disturb the subject just above you and will also take time to clear on www.uwpmag.com

the surface……so you hold your breath whilst waiting for this and of course become buoyant and need to exhale again…..and so the cycle starts again!

My technique which sometimes helps is to take a few shots from below to get the focus range and orientation of camera and subject somewhere in the ball park, then lock the focus in manual mode

Comb jellies or sea gooseberries (Ctenophores) are generally quite small (2-4cm), found close to the surface and are mostly translucent making them difficult to photograph. This particular species has a little more substance to reflect the light from a flash gun. Nikon D300, Subal ND20, 10-17mm FE zoom,

Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f20 1/250.

and position myself beside the jellyfish with arms extended and camera roughly positioned for the shot. Now I can exhale and as I begin to sink move in gently towards the subject, make final adjustment to camera position and begin shooting whilst also

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making slight changes to camera orientation to vary the composition. This way the jellyfish and surface are not disturbed by exhaled bubbles and with the joy of digital review you can refine the composition and exposure whilst you catch your breath.

Not every shot will work of course, but with a little practice you can improve your success rate significantly and produce some good images. For some shots you really need to be able to view the subject through the viewfinder and have to make the best of the buoyancy restrictions or, as I could at this location use one hand to grip a handy piece of kelp and hold myself in position during the buoyant phases. Some of the images worked reasonably well, although I found it difficult to capture the relative height of the cliffs in the background, but on reflection worth the effort.

Other opportunities may be less planned but can also offer a different or unusual negative space.

On another dive at a shallow anchorage, which had not been very fulfilling photographically, I was returning to the anchor line when I spotted a couple of Rhyzostoma jellyfish approaching just below the surface. I could see that they would pass below the boat and realized this could produce a pleasing image to save the dive, particularly if I could also capture the boat superstructure through the surface.

As I converged with the jellyfish under the boat and began shooting in just a couple of metres depth, with my usual buoyancy struggles, the skipper could see the flash firing and knew immediately what was expected of him. So now I had three elements combined in the composition – jellyfish, boat and someone peering over the handrail looking at the jellyfish passing by. So that dive ended much better than expected and just goes to show that you should always be prepared for something to turn up

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Often after a poor dive we cannot wait to get back to the boat and so turn off the camera and flash guns as we ascend. But every now and then the unexpected occurs as you come to the surface, so stay prepared until the last moment! Nikon D7100, Subal ND7100, 10-17mm FE zoom, Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f13 1/100.

right until you are climbing the ladder at the end of the dive.

The abundance of jelly fish meant that we could almost guarantee seeing some during a dive and particularly during the ascent.

On very calm sunny days when the jellyfish are very close to or on the surface you can occasionally see their reflection on the surface and the immediate appeal is to attempt to capture one with a mirror image. Having the thought is far easier than capturing the image as you face all the buoyancy and bubble issues described above, but at least you are working to the side of the subject and not directly below it. You don’t often see the reflection though the viewfinder as the flash guns will provide the reflected light on the surface and hopefully www.uwpmag.com

Nikon D7100, Subal ND7100, 10-17mm FE zoom,

Inon Z240 flash guns, ISO 200 f20 1/160.

provide the mirror for your jellyfish subject.

Positioning the flash guns requires a little trial and error but they will need to be a little below the lens and a slight upward angle to begin with and then hone in on the best position. Not every shot will be a success as even on a flat calm day there is movement in the water surface and of course your own movement and bubbles create a disturbance.

On such calm days there is often a lot debris and thicker plankton just below the surface which can cause backscatter issues with the flash light, so looking for a subject in a clearer patch of water www.uwpmag.com

is optimal or be prepared for some work in post processing.

Photographing jellyfish can be very absorbing and time consuming. Very often these encounters are in open water and I frequently engage them at the end of a dive on ascent, so will either be in mid water or just below the surface. If you have been diving a reef over a slack water period the arrival of the jellyfish most likely means that the tide has begun to flow and you will drift on ascent during your imaging efforts. It is often surprising how far you can drift once you become absorbed in the task and time slips by, so make sure you have a flag or SBM so that your boat can find you when you finally surface.

Compass jellyfish and lions mane jellyfish can both have very long fine tentacles trailing below and behind them and it is quite easy to swim into these when your eye is glued to the viewfinder.

Some people will react more to the sting from these species that others, for me it is quite mild, and it can be a bit of an unpleasant surprise to get a sting on your lips or cheek when moving in for that close focus shot!

Despite these minor hazards shooting images of jellyfish can be immensely satisfying so if you have missed them this year make sure you are prepared for the next invasion.

Mark Webster


Issue 87/75

Guidelines for contributors

The response to UwP has been nothing short of fantastic. We are looking for interesting, well illustrated articles about underwater photography. We are looking for work from existing names but would also like to discover some of the new talent out there and that could be you! UwP is the perfect pubication for you to increase your profile in the underwater photography community.

The type of articles we’re looking for fall into five main categories:

Uw photo techniques

Balanced light, composition, etc


- Photo friendly dive sites, countries or liveaboards





Anything from whale sharks to nudibranchs in full detail

Equipment reviews

Detailed appraisals of the latest equipment


- Interviews/features about leading underwater photographers

If you have an idea for an article, contact me first before putting pen to paper.

E mail [email protected]

How to submit articles


To keep UwP simple and financially viable, we can only accept submissions by e mail and they need to be done in the following

1. The text should be saved as a TEXT file and attached to the e mail

2. Images must be attached to the e mail and they need to be 150dpi

Size - Maximum length 20cm i.e. horizontal pictures would be 20 cm wide and verticals would be 20cm.

File type - Save your image as a JPG file and set the compression to “Medium” quality. This should result in images no larger than about

120k which can be transmitted quickly. If we want larger sizes we will contact you.

3. Captions - Each and every image MUST have full photographic details including camera, housing, lens, lighting, film, aperture, shutter speed and exposure mode. These must also be copied and pasted into the body of the e mail.


Issue 87/76

Parting Shot

Among the many wonderful and fascinating animals to be found in the soft bottom environment of

Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Coconut Octopus (Amphioctopus marginatus) always delights.

Although they are most often seen seeking shelter within the paired untenanted shells of deceased bivalves or the halves of coconut shells, as necessity dictates, other solid objects can be earmarked for shelter.

The soft-bodied octopus needs a robust shelter from would-be predators hunting along the muddy flats of the strait. For this reason,

Coconut Octopus will often carry their shelter with them as they hunt or travel across the mostly barren bottom topography.

On one unforgettable night dive, this octopus was happened upon while in the process of dragging a discarded glass tankard bearing the Guinness beer logo across the seafloor. The octopus withdrew into the glass as a dive torch was shone its way. Only one seriously drinking

—or an optimistic octopus — would think that hiding within a glass would render invisibility. I made the image and gave a salute to the octopus and continued on our night dive, leaving

Canon 1DS Mark III, Seacam Housing, Twin Inon Z-220 Strobes 1/2 power, Canon 100mm macro lens, 1/100, f/10, ISO 400

this pub crawl to continue without further interruption under the cover of the nighttime sea...

Douglas David Seifert


Do you have a shot which has a story within a story?

If so e mail it with up to 500 words of text and yours could be the next Parting Shot.

[email protected]


Issue 87/77

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