Saturday, 28 November 2009

Photo of Diver and Goatfish Wins Underwater Photo Contest.

Whilst out in Egypt I entered an underwater photographic competition with the photo on the left and was lucky enough to be selected as the winner by the judges. I took it on the first dive of the trip at Erg Abu Ramada, when I found a large school of Yellow Tail Goatfish (Mulloidichthys vanicolensis ). I asked the model to swim through the school so I could capture the image above.
Settings used: 1/80s f10 ISO200 @ 17mm, 2 Sea & Sea 110 alpha strobes set to 1/2 power to illuminate the fish.

Shark Photography.

I have just returned back from a week helping on the Longimanus Project. Carcharhinus longumanus, the Oceanic White Tip Shark (left) is an Oceanic wanderer that has seen heavy declines in numbers over recent years due to long-lining and the increased demand for shark fins. The project is currently recording the numbers of sharks and their range by collecting photographs and identifying individuals ad their locations over time. The project has been running in the Red Sea for a number of years and has a database containing over 500 sharks that have been sighted during tis time. for more info on the project click here: Longimanus Project.
Photographic Technique:
For shooting sharks, and any other marine life for that matter, there are a number of rules that will greatly enhance the quality of your photos.
Firstly there is the light and colour drop off caused by the water. The density of the water causes the red part of the spectrum to be filtered out of light in the first 5 meters and as your depth increases the colours decrease until you are left with dark blues and eventually black. To counteract this colour drop off, you can either manually white balance your camera with the surrounding area or use strobes to "paint" the colour back into the picture.
The second rule of photography is to get close to the subject then get closer again :). This is because water contains particulate matter that gets between the lens and the subject and generally degrades the quality of the image. The other reason for this advice is that many photographers take the shot with too little of the subject in the frame.
To shoot the photo above I was using a canon 5D with a 17-40mm f4 L lens and a B+W -4 diopter to correct the distortion caused by the dome port.
As the shark was too far a way for the strobes to light it, I manually white balanced the camera using my hand, as there was no reef / white card available. Camera settings: Top shot: 1/125s
f7.1 ISO 250 @ 40mm.
I have included the second shot to illustrate how close these sharks get, Here he was about 2 feet from the front of the dome port and the shark was getting frisky, you can make out a divers legs behind as he struggles to get out of the water into the zodiac :) Sadly the whole encounter only lasted less than a minute and It was the only dive I was able to do as I managed somehow to get a very bad cold and fever for a couple of days, which, sadly, put an end to my diving.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Carta Si Ladies Italian Open

Marianne Skarpnord won the Italian Ladies Open, the final European event of the season. She beat Laura Davies of England in a 3 hole playoff to lift her second trophy of the season. Afterwards Marianne, her caddie and boyfriend Petter, and I went out to dinner to celebrate in style with... a McDonalds LOL. Sometimes you are too tired to bother waiting for table service at a restaurant, that was our excuse anyway.
The next golfing stop is Dubai in December. But before that I am off to Egypt to try and find and photograph Oceanic Whitetip sharks, Charcharinus longimanus. I'll keep you posted :)

Milan For a Week

The Carta-Si Ladies Italian Open preview started with a trip to Damiani, one of the most prestigious jewelers in Milan, whose clients range from George Clooney to Brad Pit. Diana Luna of Italy, Beatriz Recari of Spain and Christina Kim of the USA spent the morning trying on necklaces, earrings and rings and surprisingly enough, throughly enjoyed the experience. Left is a picture of Beatriz wearing a diamond necklace and earrings worth a combined total of £550,000. As you can imagine, it was not difficult getting the girls to smile for the shots.

Azza Wins in Madrid

Azahara Munoz of Spain took the Madrid Ladies Masters title in her first professional event. She was invited to the event by Double Match, the promotor of the Madrid Ladies Masters. She proved a popular winner with the local press and players alike, having known many of them from her glittering amateur career.

Congrats to Azza on her win, and I look forward to working with her next season.