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How social media changed the way that I photograph underwater

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Have you ever considered using social media as a method of learning underwater photography or finessing the way you shoot? If you haven’t considered it before, it may be interesting for you to learn that many people are online and doing it right now.

If tools like Facebook, Instagram and photography communities aren’t on your radar, it could be time to get online and start reaping the benefits that come with having a connection to a diverse and international community. It’s free to access, always available and you will gain visibility of all different styles, tastes and experience levels from oceans across the world!

The underwater photography community online is huge and constantly growing. If your first reaction to reading all about social media is to roll your eyes or to dismiss the online realm as the playground of millennials, hear me out!

There are two real benefits that come with using social media platforms to improve your photography. The first? It expands your mind to what’s possible. The portfolios of a vast array of photographers are now at the tip of your fingers, which is incredibly inspiring. Exploring the work of others can motivate you to ‘set the bar higher’ and immediately exposes you to new techniques and ways of thinking.

The second benefit is the feedback you can receive from members of your online community. I actively participate in Facebook communities such as ‘Wetpixel underwater photography’ (they have an excellent forum on their website) and ‘Marine Pixels – Underwater Photography’. Both of these communities are fantastic and allow members to request feedback on their images while viewing content from other contributors. The feedback is often positive and constructive which has allowed me to view my images from a new perspective and grow.

If you’re after something more specific, there are communities on Facebook catering to different subjects and different photography techniques. This can include anything from groups of people whose passion is blackwater diving, through to people shooting specifically using fluorescent filters… and everything in between. There really is something for everyone.

Being a macro enthusiast myself, I enjoy participating in ‘Underwater Macro Photographers’ and ‘International group of underwater macro enthusiasts’. I spend hours perusing images on underwater photography communities and connecting with other enthusiasts. Although I don’t always comment on each post individually or directly speak with the contributor, I enjoy working out what I like about each shot and what I would have done differently if it were my photograph. I’ve found that reviewing and critiquing images from other photographers has trained me to approach my own technique analytically. This has noticeably changed how I shoot underwater and edit my images.

In my experience, there is a generosity of knowledge on these communities which makes them incredibly collaborative and interactive. If you have a question, you can ask a knowledgeable group for help and advice on an issue you’ve having, what gear you need or to talk through and plan an upcoming project.  This takes the guess work out of your photography and allows you to grow and learn from one-another. Information sharing and utilizing the collective experience is a quality of these groups and communities that keeps me coming back time and time again.

If the idea of participating in a formal community is intimidating, Instagram can be a great first step. If you’re not familiar with Instagram, it is a social media app that is designed for the publication and sharing of images specifically. There is an established underwater photography community contributing to Instagram and it’s easy to get involved!

In my opinion, Instagram has the largest volume and variety of underwater photography content available on any social media app. I believe this is because anyone, anywhere can contribute and the search tool, based on hashtags, is incredibly powerful. Because of this Instagram is a great resource for discovering new techniques and approaches to underwater photography. Like Facebook, you can use Instagram to connect with other photographers, follow trending techniques and receive feedback on your images. In fact, identifying and following specific tends is made easier on Instagram, as the search tool is more powerful than that of Facebook or similar social media apps.

Outside of your typical social media platforms are dedicated underwater photography websites and forums you should check out. Scubashooters is a great example of an online community where amateur and professional photographers come together to share images through the photographer portal. Additionally, the website has a forum where members can discuss underwater photography, diving destinations and scuba diving as a hobby. These websites open up your eyes to new places to shoot, new subjects to find, new ways of shooting and new people to collaborate with. As it’s a dedicated website, you will find that content is always relevant to the industry and is moderated to ensure that the community remains positive and constructive. Again, through viewing portfolios and popular images, it’s easy to identify current trends, new techniques and to better understand what makes a great image. The spirit of this website is really to collaborate, inspire and support.

While I’ve only discussed a handful of my favourite social media apps and forums with you, I hope I’ve shown the benefit that social media can bring. This goes above and beyond simply sharing the incredible things you’ve seen underwater with your friends and family. Social media allows you to be inspired by talented photographers globally while actively seeking feedback on your own work. Collaboration and knowledge sharing on these communities not only helps you to grow as a photographer but supports the growth of others.

My final advice to you is to research widely, see what’s available online, try a variety of social media applications or websites and get involved. Find a community or communities that you feel comfortable with and go at your own pace. I hope you find inspiration and see first-hand how the how the exposure you gain, feedback you receive and relationships you form can change your perspective on the way you plan, shoot and edit your images.

Check out more of Miranda-Clare’s photos on Instagram @divingphotos or visit her website www.mirandaclare.com.

Diving and underwater photography enthusiast Miranda-Clare first discovered her passion after moving to Grand Cayman in 2015. Since then, it has become her obsession to explore and capture the underwater world. Now based in South East Asia, she enjoys sharing her journey with other aspiring photographers. Find out more at www.mirandaclare.com.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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