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15 Top Feature Stories of 2014
By DPG Editorial Staff, December 31, 2014 @ 06:00 AM (EST)


It’s been a phenomenal year of feature stories in DPG. As well as launching exciting new sections—Short Film Showcase, Freshwater Adventures, The Guide, and Photo Lab—we’ve brought you inspiring, informative and instructive contributions covering a huge range of topics in the realm of underwater photography and video.

As 2014 wraps up and we look forward to another year of awesome stories, we present our “Editor’s Picks” of features from the past 12 months.
 

1. The X(X) Factor: Observations on Women in Underwater Imaging

By Allison Vitsky Sallmon

Women have smashed through the “glass floor” and emerged as some of most accomplished divers and underwater photographers on the planet—even if there are still some men who find girls with dive gear a difficult concept to swallow. Needless to say, the women in Allison Vitsky Sallmon’s article are far too cool and self-assured to care, but that doesn’t stop them from sharing a few amusing anecdotes! Read the full story.
 


 

2. Nemo’s Mouth-Full

By Els Van Den Borre

Something tells us that the Pixar movie wouldn’t have been quite so successful if the storyline involved our beloved clownfish having its tongue slowly eaten away by a parasite! Still, Els Van Den Borre’s anemonefish shoot arguably became much more interesting when it turned out that there were four eyes—rather than just two—staring down the barrel of her lens…. Read the full story.
 


 

3. 123 Meters on a Single Breath, Reports from the Caribbean Freediving Cup

By Lia Barrett

Mastering the art of scuba is one thing; diving to unfathomable depths with only the oxygen in your lungs—that’s something else entirely. Lia Barrett isn’t one of them, but there’s nothing she enjoys more than capturing these superhuman individuals exercising their craft. Read the full story.
 


 

4. Photographing the Great Hammerhead

By Steve Hinczynski

Their skittish nature makes them tricky to shoot, and they’re not that easy to come by either, despite inhabiting all of the planet’s tropical seas. But the great hammerhead is a particularly special prize for the lucky photographer who finds themselves in the Bahamas at just the right time of year…. Oh, by the way, that would be January through March—any plans for the New Year yet? Read the full story.
 


 

5. Amazon River Dolphins – A Case for Conservation Awareness

By David Salvatori

While the Amazon has a reputation for sheltering some frightening animals, both above and below the waterline, it is also home to a gentle creature that few ever get the opportunity to photograph. Not so freshwater enthusiast David Salvatori, who discovers that the friendly river dolphins are caught between less-than-scrupulous tourism operators and the needs of the impoverished local people. Read the full story.
 


 

6. My White Whale: Photographing the Rare Cuvier’s Beaked Whale

By Joseph Tepper

Earlier in 2014, a new study revealed that the Cuvier’s beaked whale is capable of diving deeper and longer than any other mammal—with one individual setting an astonishing new depth record of 9,816 feet. So it will come as no surprise that this exceptional creature is also rarely near the surface long enough to be photographed—that is, until Joe Tepper had an extremely lucky day…. Read the full story.
 


 

7. Shooting for Sharks

By Paul Hilton

There is a shocking flipside to our captures of graceful sharks in a glorious blue ocean: the images of the devastation wrought by Asia’s shark-finning industry in places such as China and Taiwan. Conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton reminds us that while some progress has been made, shark activists—and that should include all of us—have a long and difficult road ahead. Read the full story.
 


 

8. Pro Techniques: The Puppet Master

By Erin Quigley

Most photographers agree that a little judicious post-processing plays a useful—if not vital—role in producing great images. The question is: Where do you draw the line? Master manipulator Erin Quigley proves that almost anything “undesirable” can be fixed in Photoshop, if you have the skills, but getting it (almost) right in camera is definitely the easier—and more honest—route. Read the full story.
 


 

9. Interviews with the Pros: Alexander Semenov

By Joseph Tepper

What happens when a young Russian scientist gets into diving? Well, in Alexander Semenov’s case, the result is eye-popping macro of everything from starfish to sea worms. Discover how Semenov braves the freezing temperatures of his native White Sea in his quest to turn science into art. Read the full story.
 


 

10. A Waterman’s View

By Joe Knight

This year saw the launch of a new section we called simply The Guide, offering you “a photography-oriented mélange of travel, sports, style, food, gear, and more, brought to you by camera-toting surfers, sailors and freedivers, and other water-disciplined photographers.” In this feature, we hear from Joe Knight, whose disparate ocean exploits give the word “waterman” whole new meaning. Read the full story.
 


 

11. Interviews with the Pros: Catlin Seaview Survey

By Joseph Tepper

Remember those awesome 360-degree underwater images in Google Street View? That was the Internet giant partnering with the Catlin Seaview Survey, a pioneering project to map the undersea world in all its high-res, panoramic glory. Here, the project’s best brains, Ben Glasson and Richard Vevers, talk about how pushing technological boundaries is all in a day’s work. Read the full story.
 


 

12. Croc vs. GoPro

By Samantha Whitcraft

Nature’s toothiest predator meets the most popular video camera in the world. Who wins? Well, actually neither—it’s sort of a tie. But we are all certainly winners with the chance to see what it’s like to be inside a croc’s mouth without losing an arm or a leg. Samantha Whitcraft had quite the big “fish” tale to tell when she reviewed the footage. Read the full story.
 


 

13. Finding Freshwater

By Jeremy Monroe & Dave Herasimtschuk

There’s a whole world of freshwater fun out there—if only we take the trouble to dunk our heads into our backyward waters. And who better to convince you than filmmakers from Freshwaters Illustrated, Jeremy Monroe and Dave Herasimtschuk? The time has come to don those thick wetsuits and take the plunge! Read the full story.
 


 

14. Water Landing: Photographing Planes and Models

By Daniel Botelho

Daniel Botelho might be the first person to photograph airplanes underwater—while the planes are still flying. Daniel traveled to St. Martin to work on a campaign for Boeing, where he photographed split shots of models and incoming jumbo jets. Read the full story.
 


 

15. Filming the Wild

By Lia Barrett

For many of us photography nuts, “wildlife cinematographer” seems to be the ultimate profession—but also one of the least attainable. Yet, if you have passion and talent like famed filmmaker Cristian Dimitrius, nothing is impossible—whether it’s turning your video blog into your first real job, or spending days under a camouflage net to nail the shot. Read the full story.


 

Time for one more?

99 Winners: Five Years of Monthly Contests

By you

In August 2014, we had racked up five years of our Monthly Contests series, and we decided it was finally time to hang up our judging wigs to make way for new features. In a two-part retrospective, we picked our favorites from the more than 50 competitions that we ran—a total of 99 spectacular winning images by our talented readers. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

 

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