I’ve been working at home for almost 2 months, which is making me pretty antsy to get back outdoors, but especially underwater. So, I thought that I would share another one of my favorite Atlantic spotted dolphin images from my liveaboard expedition to the Bahamas last summer. I’ve previously described how athletically difficult it is to take an underwater picture like this. Technically, all I do is put my camera in aperture priority mode and pick an aperture & ISO that will give me a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action. Of course, the whole point of this trip was to spend time swimming in the wild with these graceful creatures. I created this image using my Canon 5dmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image is a single exposure which required a bit of processing to remove the cyan cast of the water using Aperture 3.0 and Photoshop CS5.
The purpose of my July visit to the Grand Bahama Banks was to swim with wild Atlantic spotted dolphins, but I could not resist photographing the brilliant blue water and tropical storm clouds when we did not have any dolphins around. While the Dolphin Dream was motoring, I carefully braced my camera against the side of the ship at the lowest point that I could stand and took a lot of pictures hoping that trial and error would yield a modestly successful image. I was also hoping that I would get lucky and record a moment with lightning striking the water beneath the tropical storm, but I did not succeed. I also saw my first water spout! I should have shot it right then and there, rather than run back inside the main cabin to let everyone else know, because by the time I got back outside a few moments later it was already gone. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 28mm f2 ZE lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer, and 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. This image is a single-exposure which required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
This is another one of my favorite images from July when I spent 6 days on board the Dolphin Dream photographing Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas. The trip exceeded my expectations and I was incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful encounters with the dolphins. I’m sure that all of my non-underwater photography friends can appreciate the beauty of this image, but I cannot state emphatically enough how hard it is to create an underwater image like this. Swimming as hard as I can, I am usually totally out of breath by the time I am in the right spot. Before I can dive beneath the surface to take a picture, I have to grab one last breath of air. Once I am underwater, I then hope that a dolphin swims close enough to me to photograph with my wide-angle lens. Most of the time, the image doesn’t happen, but in this case everything came together. I like this image because of the dolphins reflection on the surface. I used my Canon 5dmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image required a bit of processing to remove the cyan cast of the water using Aperture 3.0 and Photoshop CS5.
This another of my favorite Atlantic spotted dolphin pictures from my recent trip to the Bahamas. I did not have a lot of opportunities to photograph groups of dolphins all at once. However, these 3 yielded a great image as they swam underneath me and gracefully turned towards the surface. I would have preferred fully rotating my camera into the vertical position, but it happened so quickly while underwater and I barely clipped their tails. I love the symmetry of the dolphins and the apparent glee on their faces. I created this image with my Canon 5dmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image is a single exposure which required a bit of processing to remove the cyan cast of the water using Aperture 3.0 and Photoshop CS5.
For many years now, my Alaska photography ambitions have conflicted with my underwater photography ambitions. However, this summer I made time in my busy schedule to visit the Bahamas and swim with wild Atlantic spotted dolphins. I joined a trip offered by Captain Scott of Dolphin Dream the first week of August and was not disappointed. Certainly, wildlife photography is never guaranteed, but through persistence and sheer luck I was able to photograph some beautiful portraits of the dolphins over the course of my week-long trip. During the dolphin encounters, they often came close enough to touch while gracefully playing amongst our group of snorkelers. I typically swam on the outside of the group, so that I could photograph the dolphins without people in the scene. I created this image during the first few exciting days of the trip by diving down 20′ towards the sandy bottom as this dolphin curiously swam by and checked me out. I used my Canon 5dmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my new Aquatech 5DmkII housing with 8″ dome port. This image is cropped from the original and required a bit of processing to remove the cyan cast of the water using Aperture 3.0 and Photoshop CS5.
During my trip to Iceland, I was enthralled by the dramatic landscape of Landmannalaugar and fortunate that the road had just opened a few days before my visit. Because it was considered early in the season, there were very few people around. I camped for 4 days, with the main challenge being that I slept during the day. I always wonder why anyone would visit the Arctic during the summer and sleep rather than stay up all night. Except for my travel buddy, I had Landmannalaugar all to myself each night from 8pm until 5am. This is another one of my favorite images that I created after hiking up to the Brennisteinsalda steam vents and photographing the dramatic light on Blahnukur.
I want to share another one of my favorite Atlantic puffin images from the bird cliffs at Latrabjarg in the Northwestern Fjords of Iceland. It took me 9 years to return to this fantastic location so that I could photograph these cute birds. I was fortunate that the clouds parted late in the evening allowing the sun to bathe the cliffs in golden light. I like this puffins open beak with the fantastic bokeh background of the cliffs behind it.
My regular readers will have noticed that I am a big fan of shooting wide-angle landscape images and seldom use a telephoto lens other than for wildlife photography. I enjoy discovering patterns in nature with a medium telephoto lens, but I prefer to shoot grand and dramatic scenes. I also think that it is technically more challenging. This iceberg detail and reflection picture from Jokulsarlon is a notable recent exception. The blue color of the ice comes from the density of the ice absorbing all the colors of the spectrum, except blue which is reflected. Photographing blue ice is best in overcast conditions, of which I had plenty.
During my trip to Iceland, I visited the spectacular Jokulsarlon 5 different nights over 2 weeks hoping to photograph an epic midnight sunset. On the night that I finally created this image, the magic light had threatened to overwhelm the clouds for several hours. I don’t remember how I occupied my time for the next hour, but by 2:45am I was set up and ready to photograph the sunrise light when it briefly radiated underneath the heavy clouds and illuminated the mountains above the iceberg choked lagoon.
I’ve been editing my images from my trip to Iceland the last few days. My regular readers might recall that I was complaining about the dreary weather the entire trip. Just because the conditions are miserable does not mean that there weren’t any photos to be had. Due to my years of photographing Alaska, I am adept at shooting in cloudy conditions. While the general public is happy with blue skies (as I am about to enjoy myself this afternoon), the light that I need to create dramatic photographs requires being willing to work in less than inspiring conditions. For example, consider this image of the Brennisteinsalda steam vents. I created it at the end of a cloudy day in Landmannalaugar when there was no sunset light. I experimented by taking over 200 images of the steam emanating from the ground in order to capture the steam pattern and dark clouds in this the decisive moment.