Featured Photographers

Weekly Featured Underwater Photographer – Matthew Smith

Every week we will feature an underwater photographer who’s photos have left us breathless.

This week’s feature is Matthew Smith!

© Matthew Smith | I love how the pneumatophore (air bladder) of this bluebottle caught the light from my underwater strobe and lit up like a fluorescent tube!! Amazing!
© Matthew Smith | I love how the pneumatophore (air bladder) of this bluebottle caught the light from my underwater strobe and lit up like a fluorescent tube!! Amazing!

Matty3
Taken By Warren Keelan

About Matthew

“I have always had an attraction to the water and the tricks it plays on light for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of my brother and I snorkelling on family holidays to France and the Mediterranean Sea. I can clearly remember my first experience of watching shafts of sunlight weave and dance down into the deep blue, carved by the rippling ocean surface.

I bought my first film SLR camera in my teens to try and capture what I loved to see and I used it to shoot the coastlines of my home country of the United Kingdom. It wasn’t long before my curiosity and appetite for shooting the ocean meant I would have to get in and shoot underwater, so I saved and bought a waterproof housing for my camera so I could explore further.

As my photography skills grew I needed to travel more to get the images I imagined, so trips abroad to far off countries followed. Now residing in NSW Australia after emigrating from the UK in 2007 I have the worlds biggest playground at my feet, the Pacific Ocean….. And I have truly fallen in love with it.

Recently I have been working on a series of over/underwater images using different lighting techniques and have even designed & constructed my own special 18” (46cm) lens dome port to help me get really sharp over/under focus. To illuminate the “under” part of the image I often employ various snoots and diffusers to shape the light to best suit my subject.

What I really like about an over/under picture is that it gives an underwater image a sense of place. It marries the underwater world with our own familiar world, it links the unknown with the known.”

© Matthew Smith | I love to experiment with split level water landscapes, you never really know what you're going get as seabeds change with tides and aquatic plants and animals come and go. The dynamics of the changing water line across my lens port produces beautiful and unpredictable curves too, which is also an added element of mystery.
© Matthew Smith | I love to experiment with split level water landscapes, you never really know what you’re going get as seabeds change with tides and aquatic plants and animals come and go. The dynamics of the changing water line across my lens port produces beautiful and unpredictable curves too, which is also an added element of mystery.

© Matthew Smith | Free from artificial colours or preservatives.. Crimson waratah anemones in a rock pool during sunrise. These guys are named after the beautiful red Australian Waratah flower.
© Matthew Smith | Free from artificial colours or preservatives.. Crimson waratah anemones in a rock pool during sunrise. These guys are named after the beautiful red Australian Waratah flower.

© Matthew Smith | I like to experiment with light and unconventional methods of photography sometimes. Often the cost is missing great images.... sometimes it pays off. Over/under of shoaling silver bream on a Nikon 50mm lens inside homemade 18” acrylic dome, lit with 2 substrobes with the power turned right down to retain detail in the fish, it’s easy to blow these highly reflective guys out!!
© Matthew Smith | I like to experiment with light and unconventional methods of photography sometimes. Often the cost is missing great images…. sometimes it pays off. Over/under of shoaling silver bream on a Nikon 50mm lens inside homemade 18” acrylic dome, lit with 2 substrobes with the power turned right down to retain detail in the fish, it’s easy to blow these highly reflective guys out!!

© Matthew Smith | Please let me introduce you to Glaucus marginatus AKA Blue Dragon (sounds like a James Bond Villain!) This guy is the arch nemesis to the blueblottle (Portuguese man of War) It floats around on the surface of the ocean searching for any unsuspecting bluebottles, when he finds one he latches on and starts chewing. Beware though, the Blue dragons' sting can be more potent than a bluebottles. The blue dragon is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of those 'fingers' you can see in the picture, the more bluebottles it eats the more potent it's own sting becomes!! I've been searching for one of these guys for a couple of years now and was lucky enough that our paths crossed last week at Shellharbour, NSW Australia. This one was a little smaller than my thumbnail, but they do get a little larger than that. Their bigger cousin Glaucus atlanticus will grow to about the size of your finger.
© Matthew Smith | Please let me introduce you to Glaucus marginatus AKA Blue Dragon (sounds like a James Bond Villain!) This guy is the arch nemesis to the blueblottle (Portuguese man of War) It floats around on the surface of the ocean searching for any unsuspecting bluebottles, when he finds one he latches on and starts chewing. Beware though, the Blue dragons’ sting can be more potent than a bluebottles. The blue dragon is able to eat the nematocysts (stinging cells) of the bluebottle without discharging them and internally relocate them to the tips of each one of those ‘fingers’ you can see in the picture, the more bluebottles it eats the more potent it’s own sting becomes!! I’ve been searching for one of these guys for a couple of years now and was lucky enough that our paths crossed last week at Shellharbour, NSW Australia. This one was a little smaller than my thumbnail, but they do get a little larger than that. Their bigger cousin Glaucus atlanticus will grow to about the size of your finger.

Matthew’s Gear

Camera: Nikon D300s

Nikon Lenses: 10.5mm F2.8 Fisheye, 12-24mm F4, 18-70mm F3.5, 40mm F2.8 Micro, 50mm F1.8, 100mm F2.8 Micro, 300mm F2.8

Housing: Aquatica plus various Aquatica and home made lens ports.

Lighting: 2 x Inon Z220 substrobes, Inon Diffusers, Blusnoot fibre optic snoot, various home made light shapers.

Awards & Achievements

2014

Wildlife Photographer of the Year/BBC Wildlife Awards – Finalist Invertebrates (Results Pending)

ANZANG Australian Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards – 2 x Finalist Portrait & Animals In Their Environment (Results Pending)

2013

International Photographer of the Year Awards – 2nd Place Nature Underwater (non-pro)

Fujifilm X Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards – 4th Place

National Geographic Photo Awards – Editors Favourite

Underwaterphotography.com – Bronze Medallist Over/under

Ocean Geographic Magazine Pictures of the Year Awards – Honourable Mention Creative Visions

Ocean Geographic Magazine – Image of Edition Issue 26

Veolia BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards – Finalist Wildscapes

Taken By Warren Keelan
Taken By Warren Keelan

© Matthew Smith | Art in nature. A Portuguese man of war (bluebottle) reflected on the underside of the surface of the ocean in a tide pool, shot with a macro lens and single strobe snooted with a funnel.
© Matthew Smith | Art in nature. A Portuguese man of war (bluebottle) reflected on the underside of the surface of the ocean in a tide pool, shot with a macro lens and single strobe snooted with a funnel.

© Matthew Smith | Like new pennies in the morning sunlight. $ilver Bream at Shellharbour NSW. An over/under shot with a huggggge home made acrylic dome lens port and a Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens
© Matthew Smith | Like new pennies in the morning sunlight. $ilver Bream at Shellharbour NSW. An over/under shot with a huggggge home made acrylic dome lens port and a Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens

© Matthew Smith | Dark & Stormy. Kelp beds at one of my favourite places to shoot over/under images. I also found colourful nudibranchs hanging out here in less than a foot water... I feel a low tide nudibranch over/under coming on!
© Matthew Smith | Dark & Stormy. Kelp beds at one of my favourite places to shoot over/under images. I also found colourful nudibranchs hanging out here in less than a foot water… I feel a low tide nudibranch over/under coming on!

© Matthew Smith | The Aquarium.. Well Bushrangers Bay, NSW actually!! Awesome place for a cold water snorkel, here hundreds of little stripeys were feeding in the current of a fast dropping tide.
© Matthew Smith | The Aquarium.. Well Bushrangers Bay, NSW actually!! Awesome place for a cold water snorkel, here hundreds of little stripeys were feeding in the current of a fast dropping tide.

© Matthew Smith | After strong NE winds hundreds of these Portuguese man of war (bluebottle) cnidaria are blown into the bays around Shellharbour NSW and trapped overnight.
© Matthew Smith | After strong NE winds hundreds of these Portuguese man of war (bluebottle) cnidaria are blown into the bays around Shellharbour NSW and trapped overnight.

© Matthew Smith | A bluebottle over/under on a stormy morning, lit from underneath with two snooted strobes.
© Matthew Smith | A bluebottle over/under on a stormy morning, lit from underneath with two snooted strobes.

© Matthew Smith | I had been shooting over/underwater images of these waratah anemones at Port Kembla, NSW Australia for several weeks but couldn't quite coincide the required low tide with a complimentary sunrise. However, on this particular day there were a lot of silver gulls around and the hazy morning mist created a beautiful sun halo. I quickly fired a few frames before the light changed and as I did I really lucked in as one of the gulls flew right through the suns orb! ..... The decisive moment had arrived!
© Matthew Smith | I had been shooting over/underwater images of these waratah anemones at Port Kembla, NSW Australia for several weeks but couldn’t quite coincide the required low tide with a complimentary sunrise. However, on this particular day there were a lot of silver gulls around and the hazy morning mist created a beautiful sun halo. I quickly fired a few frames before the light changed and as I did I really lucked in as one of the gulls flew right through the suns orb! ….. The decisive moment had arrived!

© Matthew Smith | My lovely lady....... X
© Matthew Smith | My lovely lady……. X

© Matthew Smith | Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. Bluebottle Army at Sunrise.
© Matthew Smith | Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. Bluebottle Army at Sunrise.

© Matthew Smith | Mermaids necklace over/under at Hyams Beach Jervis Bay, Australia. The Guinness Book of Records recently confirmed Hyams white silica sand as the whitest in the world. You do hear a lot of beaches making that bold claim around the world, but if the Guinness Book says so it must be true!! Visit there, it's marvellous!!
© Matthew Smith | Mermaids necklace over/under at Hyams Beach Jervis Bay, Australia. The Guinness Book of Records recently confirmed Hyams white silica sand as the whitest in the world. You do hear a lot of beaches making that bold claim around the world, but if the Guinness Book says so it must be true!! Visit there, it’s marvellous!!

If you would like to see more of Matthew’s amazing images, check out his website: www.mattysmithphoto.com (Careful, this might make you feel bad about your own photos!)


Ran Mor
Follow me!

Ran Mor

Sales and Marketing at Mozaik Underwater Cameras
Ran is a professional photographer for over 14 years. His passion for scuba diving and photography has pushed him to combine his profession and hobby and become a professional underwater photographer. Teaching is one of his greatest passions and over the years he has shared his experience with many divers and aspiring photographers. Along with his wife Danielle, an experienced Scuba Instructor, they have founded Dive and More, leading dive trips and UW photo workshops all over the world. Ran is also an electrical engineer and an avid internet marketing specialist.
Visit his personal portfolio at www.ranmorphoto.com.
Ran Mor
Follow me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.