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Photographer of the Week – Songda Cai
By Joseph Tepper, September 24, 2020 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

Hiding in plain sight: A small fish hides inside a jellyfish 
 

When it comes to separating the pros from the average Joes of blackwater underwater photography, sometimes the choice is black and white. 

Take for example our latest Photographer of the Week, Songda Cai. You could start to assess his blackwater prowess through various awards by the NHM Wildlife Photographer of the Year or the Windland Smith Rice Nature’s Best Photography Awards. But even a passing glance at his images shows why they rise above the rest—much like the planktonic subjects captured in the photos do on a nightly basis. 

Crisp, colorful, and courageous might be the triad of adjectives to describe Songda’s blackwater images. So often, this type of underwater photography obsesses over the rarity of subject rather than traditional macro imaging technique. But this should come as no surprise to those familiar with Songda’s work ethic. 

The Chinese underwater photographer has been known to hunt for subjects in the shallows from late at night until dawn’s early light. The seemingly endless black abyss of the seas have no bounds—and Songda is key to capture all of it. “Being able to explore the depths of the ocean is one of the most wonderful experiences in life,” explains the blackwater master. We cannot wait to see what he captures next.
 

Alien or earthling? A diamond squid shows off its unique shape on a blackwater dive
 

A young African pompano fish is amongst the most prized blackwater diving photography subjects
 

Including divers in the background of a blackwater photo takes extra skill, as in the case with this blanket octopus
 

You never know if you'll discover or photograph a new species for the first time on a blackwater dive
 

Sognda brilliantly uses motion blur to capture the form of this juvenile flying fish
 

Sometimes backscatter is a positive visual element: Here it looks as though a glass squid is floating in the night sky
 

Nothing lasts forever, but with the ability to reverse life cycles, this immortal jellyfish comes pretty close
 

Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure: A paper nautilus clings to a wrapper
 

Another beautiful shot of the paper nautilus, or argonaut, which is a rare pelagic octopus
 

The purples and silvers of this young ribbonfish pop against the black background of the night
 

It’s a squid eat squid world—or should we say ocean?
 

The bubbles lit up in this image of a sharpear enope squid transform this image from technically perfect to exceptionally rare
 

Songda Cai
 

For more of Songda Cai’s stunning work, visit his website, www.songdacai.com, or follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

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Rosey Salazar
Sep 25, 2020 12:33 AM
Rosey Salazar wrote:
Amazing post!!!!
Neva Smith
Sep 25, 2020 5:41 AM
Neva Smith wrote:
Very Nice
Georgia Kane
Sep 25, 2020 11:22 PM
Georgia Kane wrote:
Very Nice Post Keep It up
Stacy Smith
Sep 27, 2020 11:59 PM
Stacy Smith wrote:
Very Beautiful Fishes.
George Sheeran
Sep 28, 2020 5:21 AM
George Sheeran wrote:
wonderful fish....
Dennis Winkles
Sep 30, 2020 11:52 PM
Dennis Winkles wrote:
Very nice Fish
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