Our First Blackwater Photography Trial was a Success!
Underwater Photographer Henley Spiers with Scott Livingston and Alex Hoksbergen as his buddies went out into the Big Blue/Dark on April 12, 2018, at night, to conduct our first blackwater photography experiment, and we are thrilled with the results! They went out about 300 meters (1,000 feet) into the Hilutungan Channel between Mactan Island and Olango Island, far away from any coral reefs.
In fact, they were in the middle of nowhere. Not only were they far from any shore, the seafloor was about 200 meters (650 feet) below them! As a result, they had no references beyond what they brought themselves.
To start the experiment, our divers put a freediving buoy (inflatable tube) into the water and then dropped a 20-meter (65-foot) weighted rope (to keep the line straight). Two lights were attached directly under the buoy, plus one light was attached at 10 meters (33 feet) and another light at 20 meters (65 feet). The purpose of creating a column of light was to attract critters, and it certainly worked!
What is Blackwater Photography?
If you are wondering what blackwater photography is, the name is self-descriptive. Blackwater photographers dive at night in water that appears black. The objective is to take macro photos of the various critters with a black background. The result is that you only see the colorful, illuminated subjects that you usually cannot see during the day.
Overall, blackwater photography is an incredibly fun experience. It is also safe. Despite a strong current, our boat was following the column of light and staying close to our divers. So, please enjoy the sample photographs on this page. If you just can't get enough, we know we can't, be sure to check out the website of Henley for even more!