From the depths of the oceans as presented by Claire Nouvian, the Reel Foto blog now ventures to the edge of the water. Here, sunlight and marine life are more abundant, and it is here that famed underwater photographer David Doubilet has made a name for himself, capturing uncanny underwater images on the edge of two worlds.
David Doubilet is one of the foremost experts in underwater photography. He is famous for his many photographs that have appeared in many publications, most especially in National Geographic Magazine. From sea urchins to sea lions to great white sharks, Doubilet has captured just about every popular sea life known to man.
In his career as an underwater photographer that has spanned over 30 years, Doubilet has sought to produce refreshingly different images each time he goes out into the sea (as these photographs show).
In the underwater realm of sea life, it's easy to get lost in the wave of colors. When Doubilet was just starting out with his photography, he realized that it was important to actually get to know about the fauna and flora he was capturing. While other photographers were contented with taking of pretty pictures of this over coral here and that fish over there, Doubilet made the extra effort of identifying his photographs for National Geographic.
Doubilet has the exceptional ability of simplifying the visual chaos that is sea life. With fish, a slight change in direction is already an indicator of the animal's behavior, so it's therefore important to catch these creatures in a manner that puts them in the best light while at the same time gives emotion to the photograph.
As Doubilet's underwater photography developed, he began experimenting with what was later to become his trademark shot; the over/under photograph. In these pictures, viewers are treated to a view underneath the ocean while still being able to see the land and skies above. It's an incredibly complex shot that gives you an impression of the immensity and variety of life both over and underwater.
In order to get these multifaceted shots, Doubilet uses a special lens which is actually split-field 85mm and 20mm lenses (the 85mm normal lens is for the view above and the 20mm wide-angle lens is for the view below). Special diopters are used to compensate for the different refractive or light-bending properties of air and water, and neutral density filters are added to balance out the brighter light from above to match the darker scene below.
What you get is a photograph right out of the fantasy books. In one of his pictures, the enigmatic stingrays become "gentle, wondrous birds of the sea." According to him, "When I raise my camera half out of the water, I had a vision of stingrays and clouds."
David Doubilet's magical images truly show of the best of two worlds by skimming on the edge of both. There are more pictures and articles on his photography on his website. He has had many books published including Water Light Time, Fish Face, and Light in the Sea (Evergreen).