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August 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Magic Beneath the Seas: Our Book Review

from the August, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Steve Kovacs set the bar high. He said, Roger Steenes Coral Seas was one of my big inspirations. His Oceanic Wilderness came out right when I was doing mine -- it was so eerily familiar, it made me a bit nervous. And it should, because not only will any amateur fall short of that bar, hell have to face a small market for dive photo books that has limited bookstore space and innumerable, if not insurmountable obstacles, for a self-published book.

Nevertheless, Magic Beneath the Seas: An Underwater Photographic Journey holds its own as a coffee table book. It will get plenty of oohs and ahs from all but the most jaded divers. Still, it not a groundbreaker. After all, how many photos of fire dartfish or Bahamian lemon sharks does one have to see before they all start looking the same?

That said, Kovacs has a good eye and demonstrated plenty of patience to capture scores of unique shots of interesting behaviors: mating nudibranchs, a triggerfish in the jaws of a lizardfish, snake eels getting cleaned and endless macro critters. The photos are sharp and clear, in some cases better than the images in Steenes book. The accompanying text is simple and straightforward.

If I had any suggestion, it would have been for Kovacs to shoot another year and replace some of the more common shots he used. Regardless, Kovacs proves that a disciplined amateur with patience and a good eye and money can pull together a book of his own underwater images that he can be proud of. And that the bar set high is within reach.

Hardcover, 240 pages, more than 300 color images, $44.95. Order through Undercurrent and our profits will go directly to save coral reefs.

Magic Beneath the Seas

- - Ben Davison

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