HOW THEY DO IT
Tips from the pros
|Wu: Coral grouper in the Red Sea
Macduff Everton is a Santa Barbara–based photo documentarian and panoramic photographer whose work has appeared in Outside, Condé Nast Traveler, and National Geographic Traveler, among others.
What is the best advice you can give aspiring photographers? “Study paintings. Photography is all about light, and some of the best understanding of light comes from painters like Vermeer, J. M. W. Turner, Michelangelo, Constable, and the impressionists.”
What elements are necessary to compose panoramic images? “Pay attention to the entire image. Too often people look only at what’s in the center, but you have to pay attention to everything.”
If you could photograph a panoramic landscape anywhere in the world, where would you go? “Anywhere the light is good and there are no power lines.”
What are the most essential pieces of equipment in your camera bag? “Other than my tequila and M&Ms, I’d say my panoramic camera, my light meter, and about 20 rolls of film.”
Norbert Wu is a photographer and writer based in Pacific Grove, California, who specializes in marine and underwater subjects. His work has appeared in Outside as well as National Geographic, Time, and International Wildlife.
You like to tell people that underwater photography isn’t that difficult. How so? “Technically, it’s not that difficult. The principles are pretty simple, really. Underwater, you’re dealing with a uniform environment that’s always blue and with a subject that always absorbs light. Plus, you’re weightless and you don’t have
to work with huge long lenses and artificial light sources.”
What are some of the challenges of underwater photography? “You can’t change lenses or film underwater. That’s why I usually carry two cameras and have an assistant who usually carries more cameras.”
Do you ever get frightened swimming down in the depths among creepy-looking ocean creatures? “Nah. My general rule is that if you don’t touch, you can’t get hurt. That, and watch where you kneel.”
What’s your favorite fish to photograph? “If you get to know the fish, they all have different personalities. Like grouper—they’re like yellow Labs but kind of stupid. Sharks are pretty cool.”
What is your most essential piece of underwater camera gear other than the cameras? “The Ikelite Substrobe 200. It has all the power settings I need. Plus, you can use it as an underwater modeling light or a flashlight, and it has a great fast-charger battery system.” —Stephanie