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Ocean photography: Ready for a real close-up?

Weddell seals live in the Antarctic Ocean.

Watching Disney's Oceans, you'll feel the longing for the deep blue sea. Scuba diver and filmmaker Rob Stewart has documented our watery world and offers his must-sees and must-dos.

On Australia:

"I lived there for a year and a half making Sharkwater. Watch for stonefish, octopus, sea dragon, coral life. It still has one of the best coral ecosystems on the planet.

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On the coast of South Africa:

"One of the best locations for sardine runs and great white sharks. Because there's such a mass congregation of sardines there, all kinds of predatory species emerge."

On Alaska:

"Amazing - probably the best example of fishing that's worked. Alaska still has terrific underwater life, from masses of herring to humpback whales, orcas, sea lions."

On China:

"[I'm]going there in June. One thing that's happened in China is a huge proliferation of jellyfish. All the carbon in the atmosphere has made the ocean there acidic, which inhibits the formation of shells and animals like coral and plankton. It's the perfect environment for jellyfish to flourish, because we've so decimated the ocean's largest predators."

On the Mediterranean:

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"Unfortunately, it's been under intense fishing pressure almost as long as humans have been around, so there's not a lot left there. You might find jellyfish, the odd lobster and a couple octopus."

On polar regions:

"Antarctica is full of penguins, also leopard seals and other species of seals. The North Pole has polar bears, walruses, whales and quite a few seals. I try to steer clear of the cold wherever possible."


1. Get as close as possible to your subject. There's lots of particles in the water, so if you don't get close, everything will appear murky.

2. Use a light or a flash: Natural sunlight is always filtered out underwater, so you need extra light for best results.

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3. Know your subject: Every form of marine life has its own radically different behaviour. Do some advance research and you'll know when and where to get the best footage.

4. Have patience: It takes time. I've sat in one spot underwater for hours, just waiting for a seahorse to look at me. You're in their world.

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