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Photo Gallery: Split-Shots

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The second feature in our new Gallery series where we let the photos tell the story… This week, Nick and Caroline focus on photo technique with split-shots.

Split-shots or over-under shots are where some of the image is above the water and some below. It is a great technique most commonly done with a wide angle or fish-eye lens in a large dome port. To attempt these shots, it is best to wait for very calm water, to help you get a smooth transitional line from above to below. If you are shooting in the shallows on a sunny day, then you may not need to use strobes, but as the top half will be brighter, it is sometimes vital to have the strobes lighting your underwater subject. When you get the shot right, these can really enhance your portfolio of images.

Tips: Use as large a depth of field as you can (small aperture of say f16); try to move your camera gently so as not to create any bubbles around the port; dunk and shoot before the water starts to run down the dome and creates smears (you can even use spit to help improve this technique). For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Image 1: Swimming Pig in The Bahamas
These wonderful swimming pigs in The Exumas in The Bahamas make the perfect split-shot subjects. The water is clear and calm and it is almost always sunny and the pigs swim around in shallow water. A perfect place to try this sort of shot, especially as they always swim with their snouts sticking out of the water like snorkels. Tokina 10-17 lens, f/13, 1/125, ISO 100. No strobe used.

 

Image 2: Manatee Pair in Crystal River, Florida
This is another perfect destination and subject for the split shot. These gorgeous creatures love to swim up to you and will get in close enough to fill the frame. The location is lovely too with trees growing around this fresh water spring. Alas, we did not get nice sunny weather, that would have made this shot so much more appealing. Nikon 16mm lens, f/9, 1/80 ISO 400.

 

Image 3: Paddy Swimming
Paddy (or any other co-operative water loving dog) makes a perfect subject when you want to practice this technique! He loves to swim and can be called in (or tempted with a ball) to get close to the camera. The sea conditions were not perfect, with some swell and waves, but we love this shot capturing just his eye out of the water as he swam along the stone jetty at Trefor Pier in Wales. Tokina 10-17mm lens, f/13, 1/400, ISO 320.

 

Image 4: Blacktip Shark & Bird
It is not often that you can get a shot of a shark swimming and a bird flying in the same shot! There is plenty that could be improved, but the opportunity was a fleeting one and the shot grabbed. This was taken at Aliwal Shoal in South Africa, where it is rare to get calm seas and split shots were the last thing on our minds. But it is a shot we love for that very reason. It is harder to hold the camera in the portrait orientation for split shots, but well worth practicing for these moments. Nikon 16mm lens, f/10, 1/160, ISO 200.

 

Image 5: Lemon Sharks in The Bahamas
This was taken lying on the platform on the back of the boat and dangling the camera in the water! There was quite a big swell and so it was hard to time when to hit the shutter button. The sharks stayed with us as we came up from an excellent dive and this was an opportunity we had to grab for the captain said we needed to head home. Tokina 10-17mm lens, f/18, 1/200, ISO 500.

 

Image 6: Caroline Surfacing in France
A great way to capture the start of end of the dive is to get a split shot of the boat (and in this case boat captain) with a diver below. This shot was taken whilst diving in France on an epic road trip and shows Caroline just about to finish the dive. Nikon 16mm lens, f/11, 1/125, ISO 250.

 

Image 7: Cuban Crocodile
A split shot does not have to be 50% above the water and 50% below. Experiment with how much you want to feature from under the water and at what angle. This shot if a very close-up portrait of a crocodile taken in Jardines de la Reina in Cuba. We wanted it to show both the underwater seagrass habitat as well as a little of the mangroves in the background. Tokina 10-17mm lens, f/16, 1/60, ISO 250.

 

Image 8: Stingrays in The Bahamas
This shot was one we planned before getting into the water, with our guide standing on a deserted small idyllic island and stingrays in the shallows. The clam water and the ability to keep the glass dome dry before taking this shot all helped, as did the sunshine. Tokina 10-17mm lens, f/20, 1/200, ISO 400.

You can now get wide angle and fish eye lenses and domes for almost every underwater camera, from a GoPro to a top end SLR, so go out and try getting a split shot. They are very rewarding when they work out, but they do take a bit of practice! Why not let us know how you get on?

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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NEW Video Series… Back2Basics #1: Proper O-Ring Care

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Matthias Lebo’s Back2Basics video series will guide you through the basics of underwater videography, equipment and maintenance. Whether you are just starting out or already taking underwater videos, this 12 part series will provide invaluable tips and improve your skills and knowledge


In this first ever episode of the “Back2Basics” Series we talk about the o-rings that keep the water outside of your camera housing and what’s the best way to care for and maintain them, doing all you can to avoid water leaking into your housing, potentially damaging your camera.


For more about Matthias visit his social media channels:

Visit www.matthiaslebo.com for more!

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Diving below the waves of the Western Cape, South Africa – Windmill Beach (Watch Video)

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Head under the waves of False Bay and explore the incredible diversity that is found along the Western Cape. The bay has popular dive spots from diving amongst the biodiverse underwater kelp forests to jumping in with the playful and friendly cape fur sealions (Arctocephalus pusillus). The bay along with the rest of the South Africa coast is known for the range of shark species that are found from the shallow coastal shores out into the open oceans. The coast is also home to numerous endemic shark species such as puffadder shyshark (Haploblepharus edwardsii) and Pyjama shark.

Situated a short drive out of Simonstown is the shore dive at Windmill beach. A short swim over the sand and through the large boulders you enter the incredibly diverse and colourful kelp forests (Ecklonia maxima), a species that can grow up to 12m tall. Life is found in abundance from the base of the kelp where many sea urchins and species such as abalone can be seen then heading into the canopy many shoaling fish species can be observed.

Diving with the local dive club – Cape Town Dive Centre.


Follow Jake aka JD Scuba on the YouTube channel @Don’t Think Just Blog.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

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This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

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