Howdy Nation! In today’s post, we are going to be featuring some of our favorite cephalotography by underwater diver: Matt Testoni. A photographer and biologist who loves the ocean, Matt is taking us on a big dive into his work with underwater photography. Get ready to be obcephed!
Meet Matt Testoni!
We’re sooooo excited to officially introduce the the cephalopod whisperer himself, Mr. Matt Testoni! You might have noticed his work on OctoNation before and he is here today for us to spotlight his ink-credible underwater photography!
At the moment, Matt is based on the Great Southern Reef in Australia and enjoys looking for and photographing all the amazing and unique sea animals that call it home.
Through his photography, he wants to capture the amazing world under the sea, and hopefully, inspire and provoke the same feelings of freedom and awe that he gets from exploring the world of the ocean!
How amazing is that? Let’s dive in & find out more!
How long have you been an underwater photographer?
“I have been doing underwater photography for 10 years!”
Where do you mainly dive and take underwater photos? How often do you go?
“I will dive ANYWHERE! Although, at the moment, my work is mainly focused on the waters around the bottom of Australia on the Great Southern Reef.
I dive whenever possible!”
How long do you dive for? Do you normally go alone?
“I typically dive anywhere from 30 minutes (when the winter water is 48.2°F / 9° C) to hours on end with my multi tank setup.
A multitank setup is when you have several scuba tanks attached to a single harness. This lets me stay underwater for a longer time and use less air.”
Are you known for having a certain type of style when it comes to your photos? How do you capture the creature that is in front of the camera just the way you want?
“I love and try so many styles of photos but currently, I have two favourites I like to work with.
1. Snoots. These are simply tubes (or funnels) of plastic, cardboard, or metal that attach to the front of a flash unit on a camera. They are used to control the direction of light coming from the flash, allowing for more creative lighting effects!
2. Split. This is a technique in underwater photography that shows both above and below the water.”
What do you like most about being an underwater photographer?
“I have to say my photography is an incredible motivator to go diving. Plus, it lets me meet some awesome sea animals!”
Who (or what) are your biggest influences?
“Definitely a fan of the one and only David Attenborough. His passion for encouraging people to become engaged with the natural world is a huge drive for me.”
Have you received any awards or recognition?
“One of my biggest moments was winning the olympus Australia competition with a photo of a gorgeous CEPHALOPOD!” (pictured below)
Do you have a favorite species you like to take pictures of?
“I absolutely love taking photos of the Maori Octopus and any animal in the seahorse family! They just have so much character to them.”
How do you know where to find an octopus or cephalopod to take pictures of?
“There are different ways to find new places. Sometimes it is by hearing about it from someone. Or, sometimes you find new places by yourself!
I always look for good hiding spots with a few crab claws nearby. That way, I can find octopuses more easily. I also look for deep nighttime seagrass meadows.”
What draws you in or fascinates you the most about cephalopods? When did this start for you?
“It’s been the last 5 years that they have really amazed me. Ever since I had a few close encounters and I realised these octopuses are just so unique and interesting, not to mention smart!
I also read the book, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, and it really made me appreciate just how unique cephalopods are.”
What’s your most memorable underwater photoshoot?
“One of my favourite dives was with a huge Maori Octopus that was so interested in me and my camera. It just stayed with my for half an hour checking me and the camera out. I got the best pictures!”
What’s the best place for people to discover your work (website, social media)?
🐙 Fun Fact 🐙
Did you know the Bobtail Squid absorbs bioluminescent bacteria to mimic starlight in their bodies? I mean is there anything cooler than that!!!
Thank You For Joining Us For Photographer Spotlight!
First, we want to give a big thank you to Matt Testoni for allowing us to showcase your beautiful photos on OctoNation. To continue supporting Matt and his underwater cephalotography, make sure to follow them on Instagram and on Facebook. If you are interested in commissioning a piece from them, fill out this contact form!
If you want to educate yourself some more about all sorts of different cephalopods, take a look at our encyclopedia. Or, what we call it, our Octopedia!
Connect with other octopus lovers via the OctoNation Facebook group, OctopusFanClub.com! Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the conservation, education, and ongoing research of cephalopods.
More Posts To Read:
- What Does An Octopus Feel Like?
- Dumbfounding Flapjack Octopus Facts You NEED To Know!
- Wunderpus vs. Mimic Octopus: Spot The Difference!
- Incirrate vs. Cirrate Octopuses: What’s The Difference?
- A Dreaming Octopus? Let’s Look At Cephalopod Sleep Cycles!
Vee is the blog manager here at OctoNation. Her love and knowledge for all things cephalopods has grown immensely since joining the OctoNation team- and continues to grow daily!
Vee uses her skills of writing, editing, and brainstorming to help create fun, yet educational posts about cephalopods- Something everyone can read and enjoy! As someone who spent the better part of her childhood near the ocean in Miami, Florida, she grew up learning to appreciate all sea life. Her love for the sea inspired her to do something daring- she dyed her hair blue!