There was a time when great underwater photographers, the likes of Chris Newbert, David Doubilet, Jeffrey Rotmann, Roger Steene and Norbert Wu, published coffee table tomes of their wonderful photographs, but nowadays, few people buy this type of book. When National Geographic sheds its full-time photographic staff, it indicates what dire straits the publishing business might be in.
The digital revolution has changed underwater photography, and now everyone wants to take their own pictures and share them on-line. It has become remarkably easy. Ocean Leisure Cameras can supply the hardware for you to do this, from a housing to accommodate your iPhone, the remarkable yet tiny GoPro POV cameras, easy-to-use compacts like the Olympus TG4, the Olympus E PL7 or even a submarine housing for highly sophisticated DSLR.
In the wake of this digital revolution, a plethora of underwater photography gurus has sprung up promising to reveal the differences between photographing through water rather than air, and the solutions to that, whether it be wide-angle or fish-eye lenses, light balancing filters or underwater lighting.
Some of these gurus are self-styled and not necessarily very good, but marine biologist and underwater photographer Alex Mustard is the modern master of what he does, and willingly reveals to others, by way of escorted photo-safaris, how he does it. Instead of producing just a coffee table book of pictures, he is more didactic in his approach, disguising his superb photos in this book as demonstrations of how to do it, or rather as an inspiration to others to have a go themselves. It’s a master class and it’s stuffed with information.
The text is written in an informal and chatty style. Unlike many how-to-do-it books, it’s not full of pretentious twaddle and demonstration pictures covered in arrows. Nevertheless, he’s covered every aspect of the subject and filled its 190 well-designed pages with examples of exceptional underwater photography that any diver with a camera would wish to emulate. In fact, they could represent the modern day acme of any underwater photographer’s achievements.
That said, it makes a good stand-alone read. For example, the chapter on Close-focus wide-angle starts, “A mantra for successful underwater photography is “Get close. Get CLOSER!” This is such essential advice that some photographers even have it written on the backs of their housings.”
Underwater, wide-angle lenses are not used for getting more in. They are used for getting closer without cropping anything out.
At the start of a chapter entitled ‘Big ideas for small subjects,’ he writes, “Some photographers look down their noses at macro photography, mistakenly believing it lacks the creative art of wide-angle.” Again, Ocean Leisure has a range of macro (close-up) and super-macro lenses.
If you are already satisfied with the pictures you are producing underwater, buy this book and let your envy work wonders for you. If you have never taken a picture underwater, buy this book and get persuaded you can do it, too. In the age of digital photography, it’s easy. With the Underwater Photography Master Class, the secrets are out and you can buy a copy from Ocean Leisure Cameras!