A Parallel Universe: These Half-Underwater Pics Show What Hides Beneath The Waves

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Physalia physalis (bluebottle) taken as an over/under image in Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia. After strong NE winds hundreds of these zooids were blown into the bays around Shellharbour and trapped overnight. Post processing is limited to colour temp and small amounts of burning. Also slightly cropped.

For me one of the most wondrous parts of any dive is the moment that the water engulfs my mask as my head slips below the surface.

I think it’s the suspense of the unknown of what lies beneath, the transitional part of moving from one element to the next that feels so magical and the thought of what alien creatures I might encounter. That is what draws me to taking half over half underwater images. It’s maybe the best way I can communicate to a non-diver what it’s all about, to marry a wet and unfamiliar world with a dry and more familiar one.

I view my half over half underwater images as a landscape photograph. I undertake many location scouts with my snorkel gear on. Whilst doing the scouts I will take reference pictures so I can plan how to make my final image when a suitable location has been found. A final image in my portfolio is often a well-researched and planned affair.

More info: mattysmithphoto.com

Physalia physalis (bluebottle) taken as an over/under image in Bushrangers Bay, NSW Australia. After strong NE winds hundreds of these zooids were blown into the bays around Shellharbour and trapped overnight. Post processing is limited to colour temp and small amounts of burning. Also slightly cropped.
I had discovered from previous visits to dive this small bay that after strong summer northeast winds hundreds of bluebottle cnidarian are blown in and trapped, they float around the bay on the tides and sometimes clump together in huge rafts. I began planning this shot because knew that the blueness of these animals lights up wonderfully with a strobe and figured the sun would rise somewhere in the background towards the mouth of the bay. I thought that orange and the blue would make a striking shot. It took quite a few early mornings and lots of lighting experiments to make this image, but in the end I’m very happy with it.

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