An over-under image highlights the beauty both below and above the surface
What’s the most common question you get asked as an underwater photographer? It’s probably “How deep do you go?” But as our new Photographer of the Week, Ash Karas, shows us—the shallows can shine, too.
Based out of Coral Bay, Western Australia, Ash has access to one of the best shallow-water marine environments on the planet. Her images play off the balance between two elements. The first is the strong punch provided by an eye-popping foreground subject. But this “wow factor” is balanced by subtle patterns in the background: waves in the sand, dappled light, and the texture on the water’s surface.
“One of my favorite things to do is to sit in the crystal-clear waters of the sand flats and capture the amazing wildlife that may be present, from turtles to sharks or manta rays,” says Ash.
And though Ash traversed the globe as an underwater photographer—the Great Barrier Reef, Bahamas, and beyond—the notion that these images come from just below the surface is a comforting reminder: We can find serenity and beauty in a chaotic world just by dipping our toes in the water.
A turtle swims in the shallows, bathed in dappled light
Dark mantas are balanced by the subtle patterns in the sand and light rays
Safety in numbers: A large group of cownose rays passes by
Even simple subjects such as stingrays can be elevated through dynamic lighting and composition
There’s something about the contrasting patterns in this tiger shark and sand that make this more of an abstract image than a profile of a shark
A turtle dives down after taking a breather at the surface
No subject? No problem. The beauty of the ocean is often simple
A manta ray flies solo in the shallows
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