Review: The Underwater Photographer by Martin Edge

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It must be over 15 years ago that I bought my first copy of The Underwater Photographer by Martin Edge. It was recommended to me by fellow photographers as the go-to resource for those looking to improve their underwater shots and it has been a constant companion. The first edition was published back in 2004 and now the 5th (and final) revision of this much-loved book has been released in print and as an ebook.

I was asked to review the ebook, and while I was excited to get my hands on the new edition, I thought that I would prefer the print edition, as a reference book to peruse at my leisure. However, as soon as I opened up the ebook I knew that this was a vauable resource in this format. Why? Well, it is easy to travel with, you can add notes and highlight sections (without damaging a much loved print edition), you can easily search for a particular topic you would like to learn more about.

Whilst both compositions are credible the sun beams come out on top every time. Always consider the image frame orientation option before you shoot. F 20, 1/320th sec, shutter speed. Tokina 10 – 17 at 17mm. ISO 1600. In low early morning light.

This new book has a huge amount of information to digest and takes the underwater photographer on a path of learning that is easy to follow. This edition sees guest chapters from well-known underwater photographers that are experts in their particular fields, for example, there is a chapter from Alex Mustard on optics and a chapter on super macro from Alex Tattersall.

I’ve composed just enough base beneath the bottom of the frame to give some context. Too much base will be interpreted as ‘wasted space or dead space’. Nikon D7200, f 16 at 1/250th sec, Iso 200, two Inon strobes placed each side of my macro port to illuminate both sides of the cuttle fish as it moved around whilst I was shooting. This image above was the precise composition I was trying to achieve. I remember trying to make sure to keep both the tentacles within the bottom frame. This doesn’t mean it’s a great picture but it means that I achieved exactly what I was after. Tokina 10mm to 17mm lens on the 17mm end.

The book is packed with useful information and one of my favourite parts of the book are the highlighted “Tips” sections, where Martin gives particular tips gleaned from his many years of taking world-class underwater images and teaching the subject too.

The book features over 400 updated colour images – taken on numerous dives around the world – with an accompanying narrative that provides detailed information on how the shots were taken, their strengths and weaknesses and how to fix mistakes. Practical examples take you step-by-step through the basic techniques: photographing shipwrecks, divers, marine life, macro images and taking photographs at night. New chapters cover the latest equipment, processes and techniques including SLR Cameras, water contact lenses, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, micro four third systems, super macro techniques, motion blur, LED lighting and more.

6pm in Misool Resort is dapple hour and I always like to drop in around 5.45pm to 6pm, when the light is 20 minutes before it’s best. My way of shooting is to find a shallow cave in no more than 2m – 3m. In this way I’m confident that I can ‘work the light’. I’ve hidden the weak sun ball behind the cave ceiling which emphasizes the sunbeams and transports the eye of the viewer towards the back of the cave. It’s lit with two strobes on ¼ power, level with each side of my ears. The very last thing I want to do is to strobe it with too much light. Iso 400, 10.5mm fisheye, f 11, 1/60th

If you already have a previous edition of this book, then I would recommend getting the latest ebook edition to add to your library. If you are just starting out and do not have a previous edition of The Underwater Photographer then I would recommend getting both the print book to read at your leisure at home and the ebook to travel with.

There is a limited edition hardback (£150), as well as a paperback (£32) and ebook (£32).

You can buy the book at all good book stores or directly from the publisher here.

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown are a husband and wife team of underwater photographers. Both have degrees in environmental biology from Manchester University, with Caroline also having a masters in animal behaviour. Nick is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in underwater wildlife photography and he also has a masters in teaching. They are passionate about marine conservation and hope that their images can inspire people to look after the world's seas and oceans. Their Manchester-based company, Frogfish Photography, offers a wide range of services and advice. They offer tuition with their own tailor made course - the Complete Underwater Photography Award. The modules of the course have been written to complement the corresponding chapters in Nick's own book: Underwater Photography Art and Techniques. They also offer equipment sales and underwater photography trips in the UK and abroad. For more information visit www.frogfishphotography.com.

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