The man behind the magnificent CReefs imagery


Gary Cranitch at Ningaloo
mage: Francois Michonneau

 

By Angus Livingston
 
Monday 1 June 2009
 
IF you've seen the spectacular natural images on this site, you've seen a shot from Gary Cranitch.
 
The Queensland Museum photographer has been on all five CReef trips and taken several thousands of photos across the three locations.
 
"The job, more or less, is to photograph everything that happens," Gary said.
 
That includes action shots, underwater photography and still images of specimens in the lab for taxonomic purposes.
 
But with so many samples collected on the expeditions, Gary can't capture everything.
 
That means he focuses his attention on those specimens that are unusual or spectacular – quite often the tiny creatures found in coral that don't usually get noticed.
 
"They can only really be found by pulling structures apart. That's what makes them so visually interesting," he said.
 
Gary tries to bring out the colours and patterns usually hidden in the blue of the ocean and mud of the bottom.
 
His work with CReefs helped him win the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers' Science, Nature and Environment Photographer of the Year 2008.
 
"It was all CReefs work. It's just helped me enormously," he said.
 
The Queensland Museum shifted from shooting on film to digital cameras two years ago, and Gary said it had taken his work to a new level.
 
"Digital has freed me up in a creative sense. You push yourself more," he said.
 
For the record, he uses Nikon D300 cameras, a variety of lenses, and an Ikelite underwater housing.
 
As well as shooting for CReefs, Gary also takes the opportunity to get shots of birds for the Queensland Museum as part the partnership between the museum and AIMS.
 
Having been to the three CReefs locations, Gary said all three had natural beauty he enjoyed photographing.
 
"This is a truly remote location," he said.
 
"And I'm really enjoying the shearing shed experience."