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DPG’s 10 Top Feature Stories of 2018
By DPG Editorial Staff, December 29, 2018 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

While the year’s politics may want us to relegate 2018 to the garbage heap of history, the same could never be said about the last 12 months of underwater imaging. Once again, you raised the bar this year with your exciting exploits, as told through the fabulous feature stories that appeared on DPG. So, please forgive our sentimentality, because we couldn’t wrap up the year without putting together our editor’s picks—in no special order—for “DPG’s 10 Top Feature Stories of 2018.”

From weird and wonderful black-water critter portraits to thrilling freshwater cave pictures, filming ray-slapping orcas to capturing jaw-dropping alligator shots, you’ve recounted some inspiring tales and shared some handy tips along the way. We can’t wait to see what you get up to in 2019!


1. Photographing Alligators Underwater in Florida

By Suzan Meldonian

They might have a toothsome smile, but Florida’s alligators are actually modern versions of seemingly prehistoric beings. And they are quite photogenic. In this story, Suzan Meldonian reports from a special pond in Florida where underwater photographers can get up close and personal with these awesome reptiles. Read the full story



2. A Quest to Photograph Striped Marlin

By Cristobal Pérez

Some underwater photography adventures are vacations. Some are just trips. And then come the select few known as “quests.” Safe to say photographing the striped marlin goes in the latter category. Arguably one of the fastest fish in the world, the striped marlin is a top prize for underwater photographers, and this article delves into the patience and effort required to nail the shot. Read the full story



3. Return to the Ghost Fleet of Chuuk Lagoon

By Christopher Robinson

Chuuk Lagoon is at the top of any wreck diver’s bucket list. This fascinating feature goes past the usual trip report by including an interview with Emmy Award-winning underwater image-maker Becky Kagan Schott. The article identifies the challenges of working in the deep, dark conditions of the lagoon, and it presents advice for making some amazing images of your own. Read the full story



4. Pelagic Perfect Storm: Orcas on the Hunt in Baja

By Joseph Tepper

Underwater photographers spend months and years chasing after their dream subjects. Pelagic Fleet CEO Jorge Hauser wasn’t messing around when it came to photographing orcas: He traveled every month for seven years to Mexico’s Baja Peninsula just for the chance to get in the water with killer whales. But when luck struck, did it ever. Read the full story



5. The Mantas of Hanifaru Bay

By Joerg Blessing

Hanifaru Bay in the Maldives remains one of the best places in the world to photograph manta rays—by the dozens. Joerg Blessing has spent as much time photographing these mantas as anyone else. Providing the conservation context for the diving practices, Joerg also gives you the top tips for taking fantastic images. Read the full story



6. Photographing Sand Tigers for Spot A Shark USA

By Tanya Houppermans

Ever wanted to use your underwater photography for more than just a pretty image on the wall? Tanya Houppermans encourages readers to use their images for conservation causes in this inspiring read. A passion project for the talended underwater photographer, Spot A Shark is working to study and identify the resident sand tiger sharks off North Carolina. Read the full story



7. Shot in the Dark: The Thrill of Black-Water Photography

By Mike Bartick

Back in black! Black-water diving is all the rage, offering underwater photographers the chance to shoot critters they have never—and possibly no one has ever—seen before. Macro guru Mike Bartick is very experienced with this style of underwater photography and shares why it’s equally as thrilling as it is challenging. If you want to try black-water diving, this article is a must-read. Read the full story



8. Better Together: Teamwork in Underwater Photography

By Allison Vitsky Sallmon

Underwater photography isn’t often thought of as a team sport. In fact, most underwater shooters don’t want to be seen on a dive. But in this article, Allison Vitsky Sallmon makes the case for why teaming up with another underwater photographer has its benefits. Sure, there’s the obvious benefit of having access to a dive model, but Allison explains why teamwork is much more rewarding than that. Read the full story



9. Nature’s Holy Grail: Filming the Blue Whale

By Diego A. Garcia

As if days of diving with blue sharks, Mola molas, and sea lions wasn’t enough, Diego Garcia’s trip to San Diego treated him to the holy grail of underwater photography: the blue whale. Even though the entire encounter lasted for under 20 seconds, it is one Diego will never forget. And it’s one that will inspire you to head out into the great blue yonder. Read the full story



10. Down the Line: Freshwater Cave Diving Photography

By Jennifer Idol

If you’ve ever wanted to head down the line into freshwater cave diving photography, then Jennifer Idol’s comprehensive guide will get you going. Along with sharing her personal road into this niche photography field, Jennifer provides key insights into how to get great images—even as a beginner. Read the full story




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