Connect with us


Tobias Friedrich: Painting with Light Underwater



Getting the light right is imperative for all types of photography, but in underwater photography it can single-handedly make or break an image. Professional underwater photographer Tobias Friedrich revealed his secrets at the Deepblu Expert Spotlight Sessions at DEMA 2016 in Las Vegas.

In his seminar Painting with Light in Underwater Photography, Friedrich used case studies to show how he created his own images, illustrated key lessons and shared scores of useful tips and techniques for controlling the light in underwater photography with the audience.

The Challenges of Light Underwater

“To produce truly stunning images, photographers must understand the basic principles of how light behaves underwater,” explained Friedrich. Balancing both the amount and direction of light is key, as it determines which parts light up, how much backscatter appears, or whether shadows are created.

The only source of light for this image was the dive torch of the diver, which is illuminating the amphorae on this ancient Roman wreck in the Mediterranean Sea near Loano, Italy.

Underwater photographers must also master mixed lighting; that is, the combination of natural and artificial light. Light is absorbed in much greater amounts by water than by air. Especially at deeper depths, the sun’s rays do not provide enough light to produce aesthetically-pleasing images, and diver-photographers must use artificial light sources to compensate for the natural light that is lost to absorption.

Working with Strobes

“Artificial strobes and the light of a buddy’s dive torch were used to bring out the colors of the red, yellow and orange soft corals in this photo taken at the Brother Islands, Red Sea, Egypt.

The most generic tools for introducing artificial light to underwater photography come in the form of strobes. External strobes are attached directly to the camera or its housing, while slave strobes can be placed in different places and activated using either an electrical cord or optical sensors. How many strobes you use depends entirely on your goal: one strobe is good if you only want to light up part of a picture, whereas two strobes are usually powerful enough to light up the entire scene.

Friedrich also suggested experimenting with a slave strobe set up on a flexible tripod, as light from a strategically-placed strobe provides more depth of field. “You don’t always need to limit yourself to strobes,” he said. “There are other options, such as your buddy’s dive torch, a video light and, of course, the sun’s rays.”

Working with Natural Light

Friedrich encouraged photographers to let the sun do part of the work as well by shooting against the sun. According to Friedrich, these shots can be done best in the early mornings or late afternoons. At these times, most of the sun’s rays reflect off the water surface and only some rays get through, providing ideal lighting conditions and preventing images from getting ‘burned out’.

“You may have to get a little creative in order to catch the right moment,” Friedrich suggests. “Many dive operators have fixed sailing times but often you can work out a deal so they take you out in the lighting conditions you desire.”

Natural light from the sun is all it took to light up this panoramic view of a hard coral reef at Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

Try, Try and Try Again

“Photographers must always be thinking about what can be adjusted to make improvements,” said Friedrich. “Should I change the angle of the camera? Would getting closer or farther from my subject make a difference? What position should strobes be in and how should I set the settings? Does this scene need background lighting?” Moreover, you don’t always have the luxury of a captive subject. It takes a lot of practice to set up your gear in time to capture a fast-moving subject.

“Most published images are the result of a process of trial and error,” Friedrich concluded. “Even the most experienced photographers take countless images before getting it even close to right. Snap a photo; see how it turned out; make a small adjustment; then take another shot. If you think you’re satisfied with your picture, try even harder, and you will get a better image every time..”

About Tobias Friedrich

Tobias Friedrich is an award-winning German underwater photographer whose images have appeared in countless online magazines and other publications, including Red Bull, BBC, The Times, Scuba Diving Magazine, and US Sport Diver. Countless underwater photographic competitions such as Smithsonian’s Ocean ViewsOcean ArtEpson Red SeaBeneath the Sea, and Celebrate the Sea have honored his work. Tobias is always keen to take up new challenges and loves to experiment with new, creative ways to create the best underwater images.

Learn more about Tobias at

Deepblu is a diving technology company which has created the first social network for scuba divers, freedivers, underwater photographers and other ocean-lovers. Deepblu also produces the COSMIQ+ Dive Computer. Divers wanting to give Deepblu a shot can try it out today at, and those interested in the COSMIQ+ Dive Computer can go to


Ryan Jones is a Community Editor at Deepblu, a diving technology company which has cretedt the first social network for scuba divers, freedivers, underwater photographers and other ocean-lovers. Deepblu also produces the COSMIQ+ Dive Computer. Divers wanting to give Deepblu a shot can try it out today at, and those interested in the COSMIQ+ Dive Computer can go to

Marine Life & Conservation

Iceland issue millionaire whale hunter a licence to murder 128 vulnerable fin whales



whaling petition

Just a few days ago, Iceland issued millionaire whale hunter Kristján Loftsson a licence to murder 128 vulnerable fin whales.

Fin whales are awe-inspiring — capable of communicating through song, feeling love, and experiencing deep emotional suffering. Loftsson often kills them pregnant, and a study found that these majestic giants can take up to 2 hours to die after being harpooned.

We can still stop this cruelty and protect the second largest mammal on earth – not just this season but for good – by helping change the law and making this Iceland’s last licence.

The Icelandic government is under pressure. The key minister admitted she doesn’t agree with whaling but says the law forced her to grant the licence. Brave lawmakers plan to try to repeal that law.

We can help, like we did before: Let’s make this a PR nightmare for the Icelandic government, and build a 2 million-strong call to put whalers like Kristján Loftsson out of business forever. Time is ticking – add your name and share with everyone you know!

Scientists discovered cells in whales’ brains that process complex emotions like romance and grief. These were thought to exist only in humans and great apes, but whales have up to three times more of them than humans!

Loftsson says he might not have enough time this season to organise the slaughter of these gentle giants.  But he’s not likely to stop. A few years ago, shocked visitors saw one of Loftsson’s ships floating in bloody water, hauling a carcass. “Just tell them to look somewhere else. They can just turn around and look the other way,” he said. Let’s show him that we won’t look away until whaling is gone for good.

Whaling season is open, Loftsson has a licence, and at any moment he could decide to go on a killing spree. So we need to move fast to stop the hunt – now and forever! Add your name and share everywhere – when we make it massive, Avaaz will deliver our call directly to the top decision-makers in Reykjavik!

You can sign the petition here.

Continue Reading


Murex Bangka Announce New Oceanfront Cottages & Beachfront Dining



dive resort indonesia

Located on a private, palm-fringed, white sand beach and surrounded by kaleidoscopic coral reefs that are bursting with colour and teeming with life, Murex Bangka Resort is a haven for scuba divers. A stay at Murex Bangka gives divers the opportunity to experience a virtually untouched, Indonesian tropical island paradise.

This stunning resort that harnesses solar power, is committed to sustainability and marine conservation – is now offering divers even more home comforts with the completion of its new Premium Oceanfront Cottages and a new restaurant offering exciting indoor and al fresco dining experiences.

NEW Premium Oceanfront Cottages

Murex Bangka Resort offers a duplex style and two detached Premium Oceanfront Cottages which are positioned close to the ocean and are just steps away from the beach.

These tastefully appointed and spacious air-conditioned rooms offer comfortable indoor living and large verandas with outdoor seating. Double and twin bed sleeping configurations are available and all Premium Oceanfront Cottages feature large ensuite bathrooms with twin basins.

dive resort indonesia

As well as the detached cottages, the duplex option offers two more individual premium living spaces. For families and groups of friends, the two adjoining duplex cottages and the shared adjoining common living room area may be opened up – making this an ideal and generously proportioned for option for families and groups who prefer to stay closer together.

dive resort indonesia


  • Large verandas with ceiling fans
  • Ensuite ocean view bathrooms with hot water rainfall showers
  • AC throughout the night
  • Minibar
  • Dressing table/desk area
  • Ample storage
  • King size or twin beds with mosquito nets
  • Complimentary drinking water
  • Floor to ceiling windows
  • Ample wall sockets for charging accessories
  • Comfortable indoor and outdoor seating
  • Shared common/living area (Duplex Cottages)

dive resort indonesia

New Beachfront Dining

After a day of diving, guests can now kick-back, relax and enjoy flavours from around the world in Murex Bangka’s new beachfront restaurant. As well as serving a la carte dishes from the inspiring menu, diners can enjoy both buffet and family-style offerings.

Dishes combine the freshest of local ingredients and include options for a range of dietary preferences and restrictions. Bangka’s new menu has been carefully curated with the assistance of an internationally renowned food and beverage consultant and there is a focus on combining traditional classics with more contemporary international plates.

dive resort indonesia

The new and impressive free standing main restaurant allows guests to dine just meters from the shore while enjoying beautiful beach and sea views. Three meals a day are on offer as well as an enticing selection of specialty coffees, teas, mocktails and cocktails. A wine menu is also available and a cold beer (or beverage of your choosing) makes for a perfect way to end the day while watching the sunset over the ocean.

dive resort indonesia

Book Your Stay

If you would like to find out more about Murex Bangka or to make a reservation, contact: or take a look at the Murex Resorts website:

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Instagram Feed