Growing up, my dream was to be a marine biologist. Nevermind that I didn’t really like science and was a bit iffy about going into open water. I was enthralled with the animal trainers at Sea World and figured marine biology would get me somewhere in the same circles. Sea life has always fascinated me. I’ve gone scuba diving once before and watching the strange, beautiful sea creatures skimming just underneath my feet in silence simultaneously provoked both fear and awe within me. The hidden mystery world of the oceans where the tiniest and the largest creatures dwell hides beauty that we rarely get to see.
Australian photographer, Matt Smith has always been fascinated by the underwater world and how light plays with the rippling blue surface. As an ocean and wildlife photographer and a diver, Matt uses photography to share his diving experiences with nondivers, melding “the wet and unfamiliar world with a dry and more familiar one.” In his series, Over/Under, Matt captures some stunning imagery of life above and below the surface in one image.
Having to find interesting images above and below the ocean at the same time takes a lot of planning and research on Matt’s part. He first looks for an interesting landscape shot, followed by some good light (usually during sunrise or sunset hours) so he can get a nice handheld exposure of the sky and clouds. Then he skims beneath the surface looking for some of his favorite creatures. As you can imagine, exposure and lighting plays an integral role in Matt’s images. Matt uses very little post processing – all images you see are created in camera, in a single frame. Matt does a lot of experimenting with various lighting techniques to capture the tricky lighting underwater and uses powerful strobes, snoots and diffusers to correctly light both sides of the image. Adding to the challenges are making sure the timing is perfect and the image is compositionally sound.
[REWIND: TIPS FOR SHOOTING UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHS]
The resulting split scenes are incredible and has earned Matt numerous awards including Australian Geographic ANZANG Nature Photographer of the Year 2014,
Ocean Geographic 2014 Pictures of the Year 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Prize Winner and
BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 prize winner. Below some of the images are Matt’s descriptions of the scene. As you can see, he uses Nikon with Aquatica Housing.
CREDITS: Photographs by Matty Smith Photo are copyrighted and have been used with permission for SLR Lounge. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.
[Via My Modern Met]