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Glass and Water: The Essential Guide to Freediving for Underwater Photography Paperback – 17 Jun 2015
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'It is clear that Glass and Water is a well thought through book that has been years in the development and writing. Mark has an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject and a clear and easy way of imparting his experience. The book is well laid out and designed and should be a must for anyone wanting to take pictures underwater'- gofreediving.co.uk; 'An outstanding resource for both novice and advanced freedivers, snorkelers and underwater photographers in general': deeperblue.com; 'A very informative book which will help freedivers improve their images... The nicest surprise for me was the "Virtual Dive" chapter. This chapter alone was worth the price of the book' - UWP magazine; 'You will end up with an extensive skill set if you pursue all avenues of advice... A great addition to the bookshelf for photographers and freedivers'- learn2freedive.com; 'It's most unlikely that you'll come away without learning something brand new and innovative... I'm very impressed indeed' - Martin Edge.; 'Glass and Water should be as essential as a pair of fins and a camera for underwater photographers. Mark shares his tremendous expertise ... the methodical and well-illustrated techniques will benefit anyone wishing to produce great images in the sea' - Brian Skerry.
About the Author
Mark Harris is a former UK champion freediver, record-holder and instructor who has also coached and judged at freediving competitions. He has consulted on and taught students how to freedive for roles in both television and film. He ran London's main club, London Freediving for nine years. He is a current member of the British Society of Underwater Photographers.
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Mark recognises the different camera options available for underwater photographers and does not write purely for people with high end camera systems. I only use a compact camera but found the detail described for more serious photographers interesting to read.
I take snaps when I am swimming, snorkelling or scuba diving and this book has given me pointers for things that I can do to improve my photos in each of these areas. I look forward to trying things out whether my camera is carried inside my swimsuit, tied to my wrist or tucked away in my BCD since I am sure that the advice in the book can be applied in all underwater scenarios.
I recommend this book for both the images it contains and the advice on how to take your own shots underwater.
When I found out Mark Harris was writing a book about freediving I was excited, there are maybe a handful of good factual books out there on the subject. He hasn’t failed to deliver a quality product.
Mark is one of the most respected freedivers to come out of the United Kingdom. Good freedivers writing on the subject start to dispel some of the myths and highlight this great and diverse sport. When Mark makes a new facet of freediving his focus, he excels. His previous experience in the sport has seen him organise the very successful London Freediving group. He was a very successful athlete, winning various titles including a silver medal at the 2004 World Championships and was my captain on the 2006 World Championship UK Freediving squad. He was a competition judge, an Instructor, a Coach and now a successful Underwater photographer and author. The advanced skills discussed can be exploited even by beginners and intermediate divers if practised properly.
steve millard coaching
Overview of the book.
Glass and water is the first book dedicated to explaining the essentials for successfully pursuing, underwater photography without SCUBA gear. It isn’t designed to teach the reader all freediving skills, but it does cover those vital in understanding some of the safety aspects of the sport. Throughout the book it is stressed the need for the reader to take a Freediving course and regular training within a club structure to gain the best and safest results. It also isn’t a book to teach the reader everything there is to know about Underwater photography. There are great tips about these two subjects, but specifically it helps the reader understand the subtle nuances in breath hold photography whilst still delivering other tips, and direction to further reading and training opportunities.
It is split into three broad sections, equipment and basics, technique, and perspectives and approaches to photographing particular animals.
One of the things I liked about the book is that it simplifies information. It exposes the reader to key ideas and onto additional sources of information when the book doesn’t specifically cover that particular information. You will end up with an extensive skill set if you pursue all avenues of advice.
One of my favourite sections, is a good candid overview about freediving safety leaving the reader in no doubt as to the risks of the sport, and also the safe nature of the sport when practiced properly. A four step plan is offered to the reader for consideration to avoid a serious incident. Once beyond the realms of being a ‘snorkeler’ and having increased duration and depth during dives, a proportionate amount of additional considerations on how to continue to dive safely are essential. Having said that, it is always stressed the reader and potential freediver should not be pushing their limits in these situations.
The main focus of the book isn’t stationary objects, it is mainly about photographing living creatures of all descriptions and Mark has a lot of experience in this area. There is a good section for the reader on the ethics and considerations of entering the underwater world and the impact of interactions with its natural underwater inhabitants. Photographers and freedivers can be amazing ambassadors for the Underwater world, we must not damage it in any way and limit interactions that change behaviour.
I would say that as many ideas, concepts and techniques are developed throughout the book, I would read it initially from cover to cover to grasp all of the information on offer. It then will serve as a great resource as it is well written and well indexed. As some of the basic concepts are difficult to explain fully, there is a great summary at the end of each section to remind the reader of the important points ‘in a nutshell’ and a useful glossary at the end for those new to freediving and/or photography.
There are many references to other sections in the book, and you feel a lot of thought has gone into how to give the reader the best understanding of the subject. A good writer considers what the reader needs to read not what the author wants to write. As you would imagine there are some great example pictures showing some showcase work, and highlighting good technique.
A great addition to the bookshelf for photographers and freedivers.
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