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Book review: The Underwater Photographer

Martin Edge’s Fifth Edition has been ten years in the making, and is better than ever.

Words by Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary

The Fourth Edition was a great inspiration and the Fifth carries on, just don’t wait ten years for Number Six, please Martin!

In our review of the Fourth Edition of Martin Edge’s The Underwater Photographer, we wrote, “Let us just say that this is the best underwater photo technique book on the market…period!” The publisher must have liked our prose since it is quoted in the review section of the book’s website. Now it’s time to see if the Fifth Edition deserves the same praise.

It took ten years for our colleague to come up with a new version of his textbook. Compare that to the four years between the Third and Fourth editions. Is Martin getting lazy, or what? The answer is no!

Martin Edge is an avid photographer with a great following in the United Kingdom and abroad. He keeps a very busy schedule teaching underwater photography at dedicated workshops in various locations and through one-on-one lessons available on his website. All of that makes a huge difference.

In the Fifth Edition, it’s obvious how much the retired police officer draws from his teaching. Through his writing you benefit not only from his own experience and errors, but also from what he’s learned through teaching hundreds of students.

In the Fourth Edition, Martin invited additional contributors to cover specific subjects. In the latest installment he adds a few more names. This also tells a lot about his personality: he recognizes that one individual cannot know everything and solve all the problems. A big plus for his readers.

Invited contributors cover subjects such as full-frame vs cropped sensors, digital compact, mirrorless and mirco four thirds cameras, water-contact optics, working subjects, shooting and evaluating your images, motion blur, and more. These writers bring their respective knowledge and views on such topics.

Martin also explains how he changes his approach as technology evolves; case in point, Auto ISO. He writes about his camera: “This model has a facility for the setting of Auto ISO, which before now to my knowledge has not been available on Nikon Dx cameras. I now use Auto ISO in wide angle circumstances in such a way that I may for instance set f16 for good depth of field, set 1/250th sec for a fast shutter speed and let the Auto ISO choose its own setting. A win-win situation.”

On the topic of focusing, instead of navigating the intricacies of all the available options, he chooses to explore a most valuable approach: back button focusing.

Two of our favourite chapters are Underwater Photography and the Protection of the Reef and The Mindset of a Successful Underwater Photographer. These go well beyond aperture and shutter speeds. Those chapters are the foundations of valuable imagery.

Contributor and co-author Stuart Gibson writes, “Accept that there’s no failure, just feedback!” This is the type of tip that the reader remembers long after finishing the book.

We could mention so many things, like the wonderful examples of bluewater available light tips, or the cathedral and dapple light discussions.

Go and buy the Fifth Edition. We stand by our words and, yes, Routledge Publishing House, you can leave our quote on your web page. Martin Edge’s latest book is still the best… period! 

ISBN-13: 978-1138211384
Retail price: $35.96 USD (paperback)

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