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DPG’s 10 Top Feature Stories of 2017
By DPG Editorial Staff, December 29, 2017 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

At DPG, we don’t like to blow our own horn, and we pride ourselves on our objectivity. But the fact is, we’ve got some of the most talented underwater shooters on the planet contributing to our pages—YOU! Don’t believe us? Well, just check out our editor’s picks (in no special order) for “DPG’s 10 Top Feature Stories of 2017.”

Of course, when you have to narrow it down to just 10 articles, you’ve got an impossible task, so as well as including our absolute favorites, we’ve aimed to show off the breathtaking diversity of work DPG contributors have shared over the last 12 months.

But the best part about you guys? We know you won’t rest on your laurels: We’re certain that you’ve got many more fascinating stories to tell in 2018.


1. Black-Water Photo Series: Baby Sea Freaks

By Jeff Milisen

From a photographic point of view, there’s something inherently appealing about the minimalist aesthetic of black backgrounds in underwater imagery. With the right technique, you can give almost any creature a black backdrop, but when you drift in the open ocean at night, that’s when you get to photograph some real “freaks.” Biologist Jeff Milisen doesn’t just create inspiring black-water images: He also has some intriguing in-depth knowledge to share about these weird and wonderful pelagic macro subjects. Read the full story



2. Black-Water White Sharks: Photographing an Apex Predator at Night

By Ian Bongso-Seldrup

Admittedly, night diving in the open ocean looking for baby animals a fraction of an inch long isn't everyone’s idea of a good time. But we’re pretty sure the group of people that considers diving in the dark with great white sharks—without a cage—is very, very small. In fact, to our knowledge, it only consists of one person—who else but Daniel Botelho? We chatted to the Brazilian pro photographer about the, um, once-in-a-lifetime shoot. Read the full story



3. Freediving with Orcas in the Arctic

By Joseph Tepper

Every underwater shooter is a little obsessed, but when your obsession leads you to the icy waters of the Norwegian Arctic, you really ought to have a very good reason in mind. For freediving photographer Jacques de Vos, the opportunity to get up close with the majestic orca is reason enough. Find out how Jacques fulfilled a lifelong dream, why he used a wetsuit in the near-freezing water, and what it takes to photograph killer whales in ambient light when the sun barely comes over the horizon. Read the full story



4. Cuba’s Pristine Waters: A Beacon of Conservation

By Shane Gross

Despite the recent restoration of diplomatic relations after half a century of isolation by the US, Cuba is still far from open to American tourists. But there’s a silver lining, and it’s called Los Jardines de la Reina, or the Gardens of the Queen, a pristine archipelago in the south—teeming with sharks, crocs, turtles and corals—unspoiled by the tourist hordes. Shane Gross investigates, armed with a super-macro lens and a remote trigger. Read the full story



5. Creative Underwater Photography with Swirls and Bubbles

By Enrico Somogyi

Take a glance at Enrico Somogyi’s underwater rig and you know he means business. But Enrico’s not the kind of guy to waste money unnecessarily on photographic gadgets: He just makes them himself! While he admits that “a lot of trial and error” is involved, the proof is in the pudding: Here, he has created a stunning set of unique images. Fancy trying a little DIY yourself? Read the full story



6. Out of This World Shark Photography in Jupiter

By Joseph Tepper

Shark ecotourism is big business in Florida, and for many concerned with shark conservation, that’s a very good thing—notwithstanding the concerns about safety and adverse changes to animal behavior. To get his photo fix of silky, bull, lemon and sandbar sharks, Joe Tepper blasted off to Jupiter, the epicenter of Florida shark diving, and talked to the people supporting an industry that is slowly but surely changing negative perceptions of these awe-inspiring creatures. Read the full story



7. Getting Great Color in Underwater Video with Your DSLR

By Evan Sherman

As with still photography, when shooting video, there’s only so much you can “fix in post”: For compelling footage—and to make your life easier later—you need to record as much accurate color information as possible. Toting gigalumen lights isn’t the only answer, says videographer Evan Sherman. Follow Evan’s advice on using filters, setting white balance, and making best use of artificial and available light. Read the full story



8. The Best of Mexico with the Panasonic GH5 – Part I: The Cenotes, Part II: Whale Sharks, Part III: Sea Lions and Silkies

By Alex Lindbloom

Seduced by enthusiastic reviews, “hybrid” shooter Alex Lindbloom took the bold step of shelving his trusty DSLR and parting with hard-earned cash for the Panasonic Lumix GH5. As so much had already been said about the video prowess of the GH5, Alex set out to see if the camera’s stills shooting performance was equally impressive. The subjects? Some of the most challenging for any camera: light-filled caves, the planet’s biggest fish in natural light, and speedy sharks and sea lions. Read the full story in Part I, Part II, and Part III




9. Adapting to Change in Southern California: An Underwater Photographer’s Perspective

By Allison Vitsky Sallmon

While human-induced global warming is a reality that we’ve been measuring for decades, how exactly the planet’s organisms will adapt is anybody’s guess. Allison Vitsky Sallmon got a taste of things to come when she witnessed changes happening in her own backyard waters in recent years: the surprising arrival of pelagic tuna crabs and smooth hammerheads, and the tragic disappearance of kelp, plumose anemones, and sea lions. As underwater shooters, we will be documenting more such phenomena in the future—and we, too, will have to adapt. Read the full story



10. Documenting Marine Plastic Pollution in Bali

By Derek Brumleve

There are plenty of colorful marine subjects you never see in articles on underwater photography—and it’s not because they’re rare, elusive, or difficult to shoot. After all, who wants an eyesore like a straw, a plastic bag, or a polystyrene cup in their image? As Derek Brumleve discovered when he worked there as a divemaster, Bali is one spot where our discarded plastic trash is all too visible. Tragically, the oceanic plastic problem isn’t just about what we can see—and remove; the microscopic pieces of plastic that we can’t see constitute a crisis of epic proportions that is affecting every corner of every ocean—and every organism living within it. Read the full story



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