The Blog Aquatic » underwater photography News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 And the Winners Are… Mon, 28 Jul 2014 19:42:01 +0000 Jackie Yeary

Congratulations to the winners of Ocean Conservancy’s Summer 2014 Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest! With more than 1,200 entries, we were amazed at the beautiful images that all of you submitted.

The top two prizes were awarded to Ian Lindsey and Christian Martinez, whose photographs received Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice. Ian’s photo “Honu Gathering” depicts a group of sea turtles gathered on a Hawaiian beach at sunset, while Christian’s image “Ocean, Waves and Nature” perfectly captures the beauty of a Puerto Rican beach.

This summer’s contest also included winners from five different categories: Arctic, Our Ocean, Fish, Gulf of Mexico and Human Impact. The winners for these categories are:

Be sure to check out their beautiful images in the gallery below.

Judges' Choice: Ian Lindsey, "Honu Gathering" People's Choice: Christian Martinez, "Ocean, Waves and Nature" Arctic: Bill Boswell, "Puffin With Sand Eels" Our Ocean: Albert Oll Callau, "Pink Fluid" Fish: Erik Olsen, "Catch At Dawn" Gulf of Mexico: William Camarota, "Colorful Caspersen Sunset" Human Impact: Veronika Kinga Havas, "Baby Born"


Congratulations again to all of our winners!  To see more of our staff favorites, be sure to check out our Instagram. If you submitted a photo to our contest, don’t forget to look for it in our 2016 Ocean Wildlife Calendar.

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Photographer Joshua Cripps Shares His Tips for Capturing the Ocean on Film Fri, 26 Jul 2013 23:15:59 +0000 Lauren Malkani photographer capturing the ocean

Credit: Juan Ramon Rodriguez Sosa via Flickr

Photographer Joshua Cripps, winner of Ocean Conservancy’s 2012 Marine Life and Seascape Photo Contest, explains why the ocean makes for dynamic images, how to take better photos and why photography can help save the planet:

What attracted you to photography?

After college, I did a lot of traveling, and my experiences as I journeyed from country to country opened up my eyes to the incredible beauty and magic in the world. But my ability to convey my sense of awe and wonder to my friends and family back home was sadly lacking, and I began to yearn for a better way to share the world as I saw it.

Thus the seed of photography was planted. But it wasn’t until a year or so later, when I got my first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, that the seed began to sprout. After that, all hope was lost: like a rampant vine, my love of photography grew and grew until it pretty much took over my life.

What do you value most in a photo?

What I value most in a photo is a good story, especially a story of a place I haven’t seen or heard of before. When I see a photo, I want to feel compelled to find out more about what’s happening in the image, where it was taken, how it came to be and what it makes me think about. A good photo should provoke something in the viewer.

What tips do you have for budding photographers?

  • Take a lot of photos. Shoot until you can’t shoot anymore, and then shoot more. Shoot anything and everything that catches your fancy, but always ask yourself why you are taking that photo.
  • Find photos you love. Then figure out why you love them. What are the technical, compositional and processing techniques the photographer used to get you to feel the way you do? Break them down piece-by-piece and figure out why they work.
  • Find photos you don’t like. Then figure out why. Where is the photographer failing? Why don’t these photos work? Join critique groups and ask other photographers to offer you suggestions.
  • Take as many workshops as you can afford. There is no single better or faster way to become a better photographer than by learning from photographers who are more experienced and can help steer you in the right direction for your art.

What attracts you to the ocean as a photographic subject?

Simply put, the ocean is the most dynamic landscape I can think of. It changes from month to month, day to day and even second to second. I’ve been to beaches where within a single 24-hour period, hundreds of tons of sand have been scooped from one end of the beach and deposited on the other, exposing certain rocks and burying others.

When shooting waves, a mere half-second pause between photos can create images of startling difference. The ocean is a place where all aspects of photography come together to create some of the most fun and dynamic image-making I’ve experienced.

Do you think photography can help raise awareness about ocean issues?

Absolutely. There’s no other form of media that has the instantaneous impact of a photo. A photo can be taken in at a glance but can tell a story with a richness and eloquence that words can’t match. Photos help people understand our planet and our ocean and the state they’re in.

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5 Questions with Underwater Photographer Feo Pitcairn Sat, 25 Aug 2012 17:24:30 +0000 Sarah van Schagen

© Feo Pitcairn

Much has changed since a teenaged Feo Pitcairn took his first wildlife photographs and developed them in his parent’s cellar.

For one thing, he’s no longer using that darkroom; his equipment now includes high-definition digital cameras that produce images with up to 40 million pixels.

His work has been showcased at the Smithsonian, on PBS and in countless books, magazines and calendars. And his film “Ocean Voyagers,” narrated by Meryl Streep, has been converted to 3-D and nominated for an award at the upcoming BLUE Ocean Film Festival.

Most recently, he’s transitioned from natural-history filmmaking back to his first love, still photography, and he’s launching an online gallery to share his work with the world.

A former Ocean Conservancy board member and long-time supporter of the organization, Feo has also witnessed a great deal of change in the health of our ocean during his many years as a photographer. He shares his experiences and insights—as well as a slideshow of beautiful ocean images—after the jump.

How did you get started with photography?

I was taking mainly nature photographs. I got to go to Africa in the summer of 1951. And that was one of those trips that left an indelible mark on me. It was the first time that I had gone into a natural landscape and witnessed wildlife roaming around in a natural landscape, and it was just such a compelling experience for me.

We were with knowledgeable people out in these wildlife preserves, and I started to learn about ecological systems. They explained how everything that we were looking at had a relationship, and that was a very exciting concept to me. I think to some extent that early experience influenced me in terms of what I try to do photographically.

If a photo is worth 1,000 words, what kind of stories do you aim to tell with your imagery?

Feo PitcairnMy aesthetic response to landscapes and seascapes has generally been taking the wider view … This is a complex ecosystem, and you’ve got to have a full picture of the whole. That’s kind of the science-oriented idea of it.

You may not fully understand how it works, but there’s something that you intuitively recognize when you’re in an untouched ecosystem that’s working. It’s just so beautiful. You just have this sense of wholeness and completeness.

I’ve always felt that for anything worth doing, something in the heart has to be stirred. This is what I try to convey to others so that we can start using our minds to do something to protect these special places.

Have you traveled to and photographed places that haven’t been properly protected?

It’s interesting … When we were working on an exhibit for the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall, the committee that I was working with expressed the concern that maybe I was portraying the ocean as too beautiful. And my response to that was, well, no, I have not photographed old tires extensively underwater.

But we need to inspire people with what the ocean can be. So my focus has always been on that small percentage of the ocean where these beautiful, fragile places still exist.

I think it’s useful to show the harm and show the contrast, but I leave the photographing of old tires to others.

Do you have a favorite place to photograph?

I love photographing the ocean both topside and underwater, but the kelp forest environment to me is an amazing place. Fortunately, we as U.S. citizens are the beneficiaries of really wonderful kelp forests along our coasts.

That’s an environment I really love. It feels so three-dimensional. It’s kind of like walking through a forest, but in this case, of course, the forest doesn’t have any gravity so you can move through it any way you want. You can go up; you can go down; and around every corner of kelp, there are new discoveries.

It’s such a rich ecosystem that’s full of life. That is, at least, in places where the kelp forests have had some degree of protection, where they haven’t been overfished.

As you think of your full body of work and what’s to come, what do you hope is the legacy you leave?

I feel mission-oriented … I want to capture these places. As you know, the world is changing quickly, and sometimes I worry that maybe there are already some things in our photo library that are like dinosaurs, that don’t exist anymore. It’s a terrible feeling, but it’s also an important record.

With this new fine arts site, I’m thinking even more selectively about what I want to achieve. If you have an image that is really going to be lasting, it needs to resonate with what I might describe as the human spirit. It’s not only compositionally pleasing, but in the final analysis, it’s something that has meaning.

Kelp forest, Ship Rock, Catalina Island, California Kelp forest, Ship Rock, Catalina Island, California Kelp forest, Ship Rock, Catalina Island, California Granite Point, Point Lobos, California Point Lobos, California Sally Lightfoot crab, Fernandina Island, Point Espinoza, Galapagos Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Pedersen Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Pedersen Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska Sardines, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Whale shark, Kona, Hawaii Pampano school, Marchena Island, Galapagos ]]> 7