Tag Archive for: macro photography

Black Water Diving

blanket octopus

Blanket octopus – by John Mackiewicz

Are you looking for a new kind of diving? Something unique?  Or maybe you’re a photographer who wants to photograph a new subject?  If so, black water diving may be for you!

Imagine yourself drifting through the open ocean at night while watching the upward migration of plankton and the unusual critters that feed on them: Paper Nautilus, Blanket Octopus, Pelagic Seahorse’s, 10-foot Salp Chains, jellyfish, Flying fish, Moon Jellies, and much more.  This is Black Water diving!

Aquaventure’s Ben Moore and John Mackiewicz ventured to Analao, Philippines to try this unique dive experience. They absolutely loved it!  These unusual dives took them to depths of 20′-125′ while drifting through the water near a downline marked with a glow stick every 15 feet.  The dives required a light to attract the subjects, good buoyancy to maintain their depth, and a bit of luck and patience!   The results are stunning and give voice to the great variety of rarely seen creatures in our magnificent oceans!


Nautilus – by John Mackiewicz

What camera gear to use?

Any underwater camera system that is set up for macro photography with a spotting light will work just fine. The little Olympus TG-5 is perfect for this!

Ben was shooting a Canon 70D with a Canon 60mm macro lens in a Nauticam housing with INON Z-240 strobes. John was shooting a Nikon D850 with a 60mm macro lens in a a Nauticam housing and INON Z-240 strobes. You can see more of John’s work @johnmackiewicz on Instagram.


Squid – by Ben Moore

Some of the best known black water diving destinations:

  • Anilao, Philippines
  • Singer Island, Florida
  • Palau, Micronesia
  • Kona, Hawaii
  • Lembeh Straits, Indonesia
  • Routan, Honduras