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David Doubilet is a contributing photographer for the National Geographic Magazine where he has photographed over 65 stories since 1971. David’s most recent books are Water Light Time and Fish Face published by Phaidon and…
A Perfectly Symmetrical Photo of a Kingfisher Diving for Prey, Nearly 6 Years in the Making
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A sea turtle hides behind a coral head in the reefs of Cozumel, Mexico
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But not all images work well in monochrome. Many shots lose their power and meaning when converted to black and white. I take a lot of care when I’m shooting with black and white images in mind, taking into account such aspects as very clear backgrounds, defined lines, high contrast, and strong forms and shapes. In general, the fewer elements in the frame, the better.
A goliath grouper with its mouth open, surrounded by small fish, Jupiter, Florida, USA
See more of Christian’s work on his website. You can also purchase prints of selected works here. Christian donates 15% of the proceeds of prints sold online to Mission Blue, the Sylvia Earle Alliance initiative to generate awareness and support for a network of marine protected areas around the world.
Underwater photography of scuba divers, coral, or wildlife can sometimes seem commonplace regardless of the remote destination or subject, but Indonesian photographer Hengki Koentjoro (previously here and here) bucks the trend with his desaturated, dark, and often brooding images taken in and around Jakarta, Indonesia. While his landscape photography above ground is often dreamlike and mysterious, as soon as the blue is removed from the ocean it introduces a slightly menacing tone that while deeply beautiful, sets the viewer a little on edge. Oh and also the sharks. Koentjoro is one of my favorite photographers right now and you should get lost in his photos for a bit. Find him on 500px, Flickr, and Art Limited. (via my amp goes to 11)
Two jellyfish swimming in the open ocean, off Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico
A threasher shark surveys its surroundings at Monad Shoal, Malapascua, Philippines
A School of Blue Silversides Swim Through Mangroves in the Coral Reefs off Cuba
A bull shark cruises the sandy bottom off Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
A giant manta surrounded by fish during a night dive, North Ari Atoll, Maldives
Also on ColossalRelated posts on Colossal about black and white Indonesia ocean underwater
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I have always loved black and white images. In my youth, I was fascinated by Ansel Adams’ intricate landscapes and the decisive moments captured by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Done well, black and white imagery creates an elegant and evocative mood that transcends naturalism. It encourages the photographer to arrive at a simplicity of expression, allowing the head and heart to be brought together in a single frame in which all the image-maker’s emotions are encapsulated and transmitted. Black and white offers a unique means to not only capture an intriguing subject, but to capture the photographer’s soul.
An over-under image of a sea turtle swimming off the coast of Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico
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Underwater Realm: Black and White Photos Capture Breathtaking Moments Amongst Life in the Sea
Light is the single most important aspect when it comes to creating appealing, inspiring, and poignant imagery. I try to apply and manipulate the available light using contrast and tonalities as a means of emphasizing form and structure. In this way, I seek that final shot that connects with the viewer and conveys all the emotional and dramatic impact and complexity of the experience felt while shooting the image.
Art Photography #black and white #Indonesia #ocean #underwater Black and White Underwater Photography by Hengki Koentjoro
To this day, I carry within me that dream, and very gratefully realize it through my photography. For me, each image is a visualization of that sublime moment these fascinating marine creatures around me are frozen majestically in their natural environment. My intention is to capture the essence of being immersed in the experience and in the presence of the animal or habitat I am photographing, and to share with others their splendor and their soul.
The USS Kittiwake with a diver at the bow, Grand Cayman, Caribbean
Exposure is another key element when creating black and white images. If I want the water in the final image to have a very light gray tone, I have to expose for a very light shade of blue, or vice versa. To create impactful photos, post-production is as important as taking the image itself, and is a highly creative process as well. To create the “high key” effect, I use Adobe Lightroom, creating contrast by darkening or lightening the blue tones, isolating my subjects from all distractions and bringing their natural beauty to center stage.
Two silky sharks swimming among a school of fish in the open ocean, off Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico
A dolphinfish swimming near some floating debris, off Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico
As far back as I can remember, I have been attracted to the sea, and as a kid, I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves. I imagined how it would look if all of the water suddenly vanished, leaving these strange and beautiful animals suspended in space. I could walk inside this surreal ocean and observe them, as if time stood still.
Alexander Semenov Photographs Astonishing Creatures from the Depths of the World’s Oceans