I have a secret that will change your perspective on underwater photography. Creating images can be very rewarding when you have a collaborating subject and perfect conditions, but that combination is not as easy to come by when working underwater. As an underwater photographer is very important to learn how to improvise. Learning the craft, understanding your gear and the way light works is vital but without the ability to adapt, coming up with photographs can be very hard because underwater photography is an art that always comes with something unexpected.
Countless time I have dealt with malfunctioning equipment and still delivered a product, and I showed up to the ocean or even pools to find out visibility was just not good. But you deal with it. I find a way to create anyways. If it's a model photoshoot, lighting and proximity to your subject is going to save the day. But what happens in the ocean when you really wanted to get photos of that reef and that moment you wanted to dive your entire life? You have two options even when all hopes feel lost. Get closer and get creative.
I know. So easy in theory, but technically, how does that work? If you are working with a macro lens unless the current is ripping you off the rocks, it's a little easier to find your muse for the day. A little nudibranch. An anemone. A crab. Anything goes. But if you are a little bit like me and prefer taking your chances just in case something large comes by: what happens with a wide angle lens? The same exact thing. Get close enough to focus on your subject, light it right, get low enough to get the water surface in the back. Or simply. Swim on top of your buddy and take photos of bubbles. Not the easiest subject but such a surprise.
Photographing bubbles is a surprising technical challenge. The ever changing shape. The difficulty getting what you want in focus. The siding the right exposure. The buoyancy struggle. And once you have mastered is all. Can you find your own reflection? I'm still working on that.