By Steve Jones

Seascape photography can be one of the most appealing genres, whilst also a challenging one to do well!  Unless careful thought is given to subject matter and composition, a seascape image can end up as a sprawling, complicated mess, unable to capture the attention of the viewer and easily dismissed. Lighting is the other key element to get right, else you may be left with a flat, lifeless image that in no way conveys the bustle and brightness of the healthy reefs we love.  Here are a few tips to help get it right.

1. Choose the right lens

Seascapes need wide lenses. My go-to lens is a fisheye, but ultra-wide zooms such as a 16-35mm (on full frame) are also useful, especially if you want to pick out a dominant subject on your seascape such as a turtle.

seascapes01 sjones 500x800px

Description: The soft corals & crinoids in this scene are the dominant subject. Taken in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. SEACAM Nikon D700  1/60th / F9 / ISO 400

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By Beth Watson

RajaAmpat01 bethwatson 500x800px

7102   Schooling barracuda, Barracuda Point           1/250, f/8, ISO 320

Raja Ampat in Indonesia is a vast archipelago that incorporates over 2,500 islands. The coral reefs here host one of the highest concentrations of endemic fish species in the Pacific Ocean and the visual impact is stunning.  Situated within the Coral Triangle, West Papua has been coined the Bird’s Head Seascape and is considered the world’s premier epicenter of marine biodiversity. Bird’s Head Seascape lies above a tectonic plate convergence zone, making it one of the most geologically active places on Earth. The currents of the Pacific Ocean flow through this region, bringing in rich nutrients creating an environment that cultivates extreme marine diversity.

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By Matthew Smith

For me one of the most wondrous parts of any dive is the moment that the water engulfs my mask as my head slips below the surface. I think it is the anticipation of the unknown, of what lies beneath, the transition from one element to another and the thought of what alien creatures I might encounter that makes it all feel so magical. And that is what inspires me to take above-and-below pictures. I try to convey to the viewer that magical feeling in an image. It is also the best way to communicate to a non-diver  - marry a wet, unfamiliar world with a dry, familiar one.

I view my above-and-below images as a single landscape photograph; a composition that complements both the above and below elements. I prefer brooding and atmospheric skies over blue sunny mid-day skies.  I undertake many location scouts with my snorkel gear on. Whilst doing the scouts, I take reference pictures so I can plan how to make my final image when a suitable location has been found. A final image in my portfolio is often a well-researched and planned affair.

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Ocean Geographic Explorer (OGX) is a diving adventure resource with a special focus on marine photography and ocean conservation. Our content is divided up into six primary categories: Travel, Sea Science,  Equipment, Photography &Video, Conservation, and Lifestyle. We endeavor be a portal for people with all levels of interest in the marine environment  to learn about and become part of a community of like-minded ocean lovers who enjoy sharing their knowledge of and experiences in our fascinating ocean world.

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