There is something magical about a great underwater image. Bizarre-looking creatures, a stunning palette of colors, and an ethereal quality of light can be assembled into an especially memorable shot. Such was my experience while editing the ‘Saving Our Oceans’ Your Shot Assignment. While editing these submissions, I was transported not only underwater, but also around the globe. I found myself lingering on specific photos, musing about the difficulty it took to produce them, and then simply enjoying the interpretation of the scene through the photographer’s eye. Even the range of subjects was impressive—from small invertebrates to giant whales, and pretty much everything in between.
Making photographs under the sea is a special type of wildlife photography with a unique set of challenges. Underwater photographers must place their cameras inside waterproof housings, and they cannot change lenses or media cards. Plus, they can only remain underwater for as long as their air supply lasts. On land, wildlife photographers might wait for hours in a camouflaged blind and use a 600mm lens to photograph some elusive animal or rare behavior, but the underwater photographer must get physically close (usually within a meter or two) and snap the picture within an hour.