Underwater photography has always been limited by poor visibility and the rapid loss of the red end of the spectrum in water. Not to mention the loss of angle of view from having a flat filter with air on one side and water on the other. As a result there are zillions of images of "specimen shots" of fish, invertebrates, and people but very few underwater landscape images. It is as if our photographic vision was limited by a very restrictive face mask where we can only peer at a limited part of the underwater world. And like night diving, the images only show what we can light up with our flash.
Spherical photography changes this completely, allowing the photographer to capture the whole scene. Although still limited by the water visibility, the images approach the feeling of being there. The blue filter effect remains a problem. When diving, our eyes adjust for this and we percieve more colors than when we later look at an underwater image that we took while diving. But I can process the raw images and white balance the colors to render a photograph that looks pretty close to what it looked like at that place and time.
I took this photo of the outer face of the fringing reef at Ilot Uatio, in the southern lagoon of New Caledonia, to show the immense size of a single coral head just off the edge of the reef. It is in 8 meters of water and Freddy dove down next to it to give you an idea of how big the colony is.This single coral colony was about 7 meters in diameter and probably began life over a thousand years ago. The coral pinnacles in the area are alive with a tangle of corals of every description.
The resulting scenic of the coral reef really does look like it did when I was there taking the image. It gives you an understanding of the outer edge of a lagoon fringing reef that you would never have get without diving there yourself.
It is a very satisfying photograph. I have been taking underwater photographs since 1958 and I am very happy to be able to present an image that finally shows the reef as it looks to me - and to have it interactive so you can swivel around and admire the wonderful complexity of the coral reef just as I did. You can even hold your breath, if you like, to make it even more real.
新喀里多尼亚是离澳大利亚和新西兰最近的南太平洋岛屿。该岛是法国领地且官方语言是法语，尽管如此，其文化却丰富多彩，揉合了美拉尼西亚、欧洲、波利尼西亚、越南、中国、印尼等国的风情。这里有一个多山的大岛，称为大地岛 (Grande Terre)，和6个较小的岛屿——洛亚蒂三岛 (Loyalty Islands)、贝莱普群岛 (Belep) 和松树岛 (Isle of Pines)。 整个群岛人口极为稀少，有大片的荒野。这里有数百公里长的徒步小径、随处可见的露营营地、超过42个公园和保护区、清澈透明的河流和莹莹闪光的瀑布。约三分之一的人口居住在首府努美阿。镍的开采是该国最主要的工业，也是维持其高标准生活的主要经济来源。大地岛四周环绕着世界第二大珊瑚礁，此珊瑚礁形成的泻湖是世界上最大的，也是受保护的泻湖。该泻湖于2008年被列为世界遗产，面积达24000平方公里，是品种丰富的鱼类和无脊椎动物栖息之地。 对于刚上岛的游客而言，最引人注目的是这里鲜艳夺目的色彩。努美阿以其完备的酒店、度假酒店、餐馆设施和丰富多彩的活动欢迎游客的到来。