Getting Wet on the GBR …

… made a lightning fast visit to the Great Barrier Reef out from Cairns recently for The Australian.

Journalist Graham Lloyd and I were choppered out to Moore Reef … certainly one of my quickest (and shortest) visits to the Great Barrier Reef !

A twenty five minute helicopter flight … then straight into the water with camera, reef crew Katherine, reef ecologist Eric and journalist Graham … forty five minutes working in the lagoon, the flat and the wall of Moore Reef … then straight back on the chopper to Cairns.

The Australian published a couple of my images to accompany Graham’s story on page 3  (middle pic below) with a pointer from page 1.

In the top two images below Katherine is exploring the ‘wall’ area of Moore Reef which was smashed during Cyclone Yasi in 2011, impacted by Cyclone Ita in 2014 … and then extensively bleached during climate change related extreme temperature events in 2016 and 2017. Damage on the ‘wall’ section is still evident but it does appear that corals are making a comeback (and the fish numbers were astonishing.)

Even on the ‘flat’ area between the lagoon and the wall … where there has been extensive bleaching (which I documented back in May 2017 for @everydayclimatechange and News) … there is some coral regrowth.

Sadly, with more frequent extreme temperature events and cyclones almost a certainty as the planet warms, the World’s largest reef system still faces a distinctly uncertain future.

The reef trip also gave me a chance to use a nice new bit of kit … the Sealife 0.5X wide angle dome lens … on my Sealife DC2000 underwater camera (pic bottom below). The wide angle is perfect for my choice of underwater pics … making underwater ‘landscapes’ much more impressive. If you are interested in any underwater kit (including the excellent Sealife system) may I suggest contacting Tim Hochgrebe at Underwater Australasia for the best range and prices.

Images © Brian Cassey




‘Fluorescing’ Coral … and the SeaLife DC2000 …

… following a catastrophic incident with an underwater housing and not wishing to face the prospect of drowning a perfectly good and expensive Nikon D5 and turning it into a salty paperweight, I searched for an underwater camera that wouldn’t break the bank, shoots raw, has an off camera strobe, versatility … and would be stress free.

I came across the new SeaLife DC2000 when it was first announced. The specs included a SONY 2.5cm back-illuminated 20MP CMOS image sensor, RAW & JPEG capture, built in underwater colour correction, full Manual, Auto and Mode shooting, a comprehensive selection of lighting options and accessories … and both the housing AND camera are waterproof to depths far below that which I will descend to.

Surprisingly the BEST price deal on the new kit … I opted for the kit which included the Sea Dragon Flash … can be found in Australia from Tim Hochgrebe at Underwater Australasia. His price is way under anyone else I could find around the planet (including B&H) and he expedited stock into the country, offered free shipping AND a free extra battery. He still has some stock I believe and it can be found at

I’ve now used the SeaLife DC2000 (pic bottom below) on a couple of occasions on news stories on the Great Barrier Reef … and have found it easy to shoot … admittedly a little slower and more measured than a housed DSLR … and easy to view and make adjustments underwater. For my shooting style adding the SeaLife ‘Fisheye’ (which it isn’t) wide angle lens to the setup was a no brainer.  The image quality from the camera is fine …

It isn’t perfect … what camera ever is … but the SeaLife has provided me with a relatively stress free setup to use for underwater news jobs.

The image below (with marine biologist Sam Grey from Silver Sonic) was taken with the SeaLife at Moore Reef on the GBR this week … and … before you mention the vivid colours I should explain that many of these corals are ‘fluorescing’ … showing amazingly vibrant and brilliant colours as they become stressed by too high water temperatures. These colours are exactly how the coral appeared … particularly striking was the plate coral near the centre of the frame. A prelude to bleaching and possibly coral death. I also witnessed large gardens of totally white ‘bleached’ coral. Our Great Barrier Reef IS under threat from Global Warming.

Main Image © Brian Cassey

Fluorescing coral Great Barrier Reef Moore Reef by Brian Cassey

SeaLife DC2000 underwater camera with Sea Dragon flash


The Pleasure of Camera Nostalgia (part 2) …

Back in May in a post on this blog …  “The Pleasure of Camera Nostalgia” …  I wrote about the cameras that I acquired and used during my formative teen years in photography. At the time I had just found replacements for a long lost pair of Minolta’s – a Minolta Rapid 24 rangefinder and a Minolta SRT101 SLR.

I also mentioned that I was searching for a rare camera – a Yashica Pentamatic – that sat on my teenage camera timeline between the two Minolta’s.

I am pleased to say that, after months of searching and net browsing and now thanks to EBay seller bj2875, I have acquired the much sought after Yashica.

Although a basic (and very pretty) camera the Yashica Pentamatic was my first ever SLR … and my first ‘sold’ photograph was made on the original. It was also Yashica’s first SLR model and it was launched in 1960 (my pounds, shillings and pence went on a second hand example some years after launch!). It has no exposure metering at all … and has the unique but intelligent feature of a shoulder mounted accessory shoe set around the rewind knob.

My example arrived from seller ‘Bob’ today courtesy US Mail and must say I am very pleased with the condition of the camera body, the 55mm 1.8 and the 35mm 2.8 Yashinon lenses, leather cases and straps, bulb flash complete with boxes of spare bulbs, original instruction booklet … and price ! Still inside the camera, on the last frame, was a roll of ‘Sears 24 exposure color slide film’. Have my doubts whether I’ll be able to get that processed.

My sincere thanks go to Bob who is more a seller of coins than cameras.

With the acquisition of the Yashica I believe I now have examples of all the cameras I used from childhood through to my twenties (unless my memory is completely stuffed).

Below is a pic of the camera after todays unpacking … pretty isn’t it.  Image © Brian Cassey

Yashica Pentamatic 35mm SLR film camera


The Pleasure of Camera Nostalgia …

Delving into images from long past to research “The Genesis Project” has been the catalyst for a wave of nostalgia for those cameras that I used during my formative years in photography.

I’ve always held a soft spot for the various pieces of camera kit that I have used over the years and have in the past mentioned my first ever rudimentary camera and the first images made therewith. Many years ago I was lucky enough to find and buy a second bakelite VP Twin to replace that long lost first camera.

Putting together “The Genesis Project” I was struck by the poignant story of colleague and fellow exhibitor John Donegan … whose entire photography career was born when he was given his brothers camera after his untimely and tragic death. That camera was a Minolta SRT101 – a classically styled SLR launched in 1966 which pioneered TTL full aperture metering.

I also used a Minolta SRT101 in my early years (mostly to shoot British football) and came across a near mint secondhand item online for a good price. On impulse I bought it to add to my collection … and also handed it to John to use at the ‘Genesis’ exhibition launch loaded with a roll of BW film.

My image selected for “The Genesis Project” dated back to my wayward teen years (you’ll have to go to the exhibition to read the whole story) and … coincidentally … I recently came across a nice example of the, now rare, camera I used to make that original pic – a Minolta Rapid 24 rangefinder. The seller (in the UK – EBay – minolta4me-kevin) has also kindly supplied a couple of the unique Agfa Rapid film cartridges that are used with self loaded 35mm film so that I can actually use the camera to take photographs again.

The memories came flooding back when I opened the Royal Mail package and picked out the little Minolta Rapid 24. It really is as charming a camera as I remember.

Not happy to stop there I’m now searching for a much rarer specimen – a Yashica Pentamatic 35mm SLR – to replace the one I used in the years between the Minolta 24 and the Minolta SRT101. Anyone know where I can get one ?

Below is a  pic of my ‘new/old’ Minolta pair and also … “The Genesis Project” image which was made long long ago on a Minolta Rapid 24 in Portugal (middle) and one of my early football photos (Charlton Athletic scoring the winner against Watford at the Valley, also a scary amount of decades ago) that was made on my original Minolta SRT101. A real decisive moment – no motor wind on’s in those days … one frame was all you got! (bottom). Images © Brian Cassey



England - London -  The Valley - Charlton 2 V Watford 1 - 01/10/


“Proof” Positive in Darwin …

Had the great pleasure to attend and be part of Darwin’s photojournalism festival premiere –  “Proof: Photo Essays from the Top End” – on the weekend.

The brain child of curators Maurice O’Riordan, Crystal Thomas and my ‘fotostrada’ colleague Glenn Campbell, the exhibition – set to be a bi-annual event – was split between two venues on the ‘Darwin Waterfront’ and the ‘Northern Centre for Contemporary Art’. The work of thirteen photojournalists including yours truly made for an impressive show.

Legendary Northern Territory PJ’s Clive Hyde and Baz Ledwidge presented remarkable samples of their work from the 1970’s and 80’s … the era of Lindy Chamberlain, Bob Hawke and Cyclone Tracey … alongside current and much younger NT  photographers Elise Derwin and Daniel Hartley Allen. Andrew Quilty showed his black and white panoramic prints made after Cyclone Yasi struck northern Queensland and Jakarta based Ed Wray his great ‘Monkey Town’ set on Indonesia’s performing monkeys. Glenn Campbell hung his work produced in the Solomon Islands of the Australian Defence Force.

The greatest pleasure, however, was catching up with fellow ‘interstate’ exhibitors Megan Lewis (now based in Sydney) and Martine Perret (now based in Margaret River WA). Megan exhibited some of her well known prints of the Martu people in the Great Sandy Desert – from the ‘Conversations with the Mob’ collection – and also took time to perform in her ambassadorial role with Fujifilm to present a slide show and talk on her work and the use of the new Fujifilm X-T1 camera. Martine presented samples of her work ‘Trans Dili’ on trans gender men in Timor-Leste. Some hours were spent with Martine, Megan and Glenn gabbing about the industry, past assignments, state of photojournalism and other meaningful ‘stuff’… including a stint on the obligatory Mindil Beach that lasted for several hours after sunset! (NB … Glenn missed the beach stint as he was stuck offshore ‘working’ on a boat – but was ably replaced by Fujifilms Kevin Cooper.)

My contribution to the exhibition was “The Aak Puul Ngantam Stockman” set … at the curators request … not mine.

The festival is a great initiative and I look forward to seeing it once again in Darwin in 2016.

Below are pics of the two venues … top is the ‘Darwin Waterfont’ exhibit featuring the work of Megan Lewis, Clive Hyde, Elise Derwin and Baz Ledwidge … below is a pic from the ‘Northern Centre for Contemporary Art’ which shows my exhibit. Also at the NCCA is the work of Martine Perret, Glenn Campbell, Andrew Quilty, Ed Wray, Daniel Hartley-Allen, Regis Martin, Frederic Mit and Made Nagi.

images © Brian Cassey




Travel … UK, France, China, Japan …

Just returned from a five week trip to the UK, France, China and Japan. Ostensibly it was for recuperation and a respite from taking pics (with the bonus of a UK Christmas).

However, as a freelance, the reality is that far too many pic opportunities regularly rear their heads whilst travelling … and I always found myself lugging at least one camera (Nikon Df, Fuji XE-1, Fuji X100), sometimes more (in addition to the obvious iPhone for the odd Instagram). There is a persistent deep seated optimism that images made on a trip may make the odd dollar/quid somewhere down the track!

Occasionally hefting the kit paid dividends … (although how I failed to leave at least one camera or lens in any of bar, bistro, boulangerie, museum, gallery, palace, temple, hotel, hutong, noodle or teppanyaki restaurant is beyond me … )

Below I’ve posted just a few of my favourite images from the past weeks overseas.

Unfortunately, I left Japan on the day the big January Grand Sumo Tournament commenced at the National Sumo Hall in Ryogoku Tokyo, so I decided to get up very early the previous day and attempt to catch Sumo in last minute training at their ‘Beya’ or Sumo ‘stables’. The stables were very difficult to find … and when found even more difficult to gain access. (I now understand the Japanese ‘sign’ for ‘NO’!)

However, persistence paid off … and I made the top image below through a small glass window of Sumo going through their final training session.

What must be the most bizarre rail journey on the planet was the subject of the second image.
The weirdly named ‘Shanghai Pedestrian Transit Tunnel’ runs from the beautiful Bund under the Huangpu River to the new Pudong skyscraper district of Shanghai China. It isn’t a ‘pedestrian’ tunnel at all … passengers are transported under the river in little carriages and assaulted with a trippy light and sound show during the four minute journey. Money … and not just a few dollars … well spent! (in contrast the ferry across the river costs less than 35 cents!).

The image gives some sense of the insanity of the journey.

In the third image … there is no place better to read a book on a sunny but bloody cold winters day than on the pavement of the Avenue Victoria on the west bank of the Seine in Paris !

Images © Brian Cassey


Shanghai Pedestrian Tunnel


New Nikon Df … and London …

Thanks to the efforts of Nikon Australia and ECS Sydney I now have a nice spanking new piece of kit – the Nikon Df – to play with during the current trip back in the UK.

First impressions of the new retro style full frame Nikon Df DSLR is that it fits nicely in the hand, is light enough to carry around all day … and produces great images. It’s amazin’ how easily and quickly you fall back into using the old fashioned dials to adjust settings rather than the newer fangled buttons and windows. Must be in my blood … ! (Must say I prefer the look of the black body Df … the chrome version looks a little too ‘busy’ and a little overstated to me. But that’s just me … ).

The Df uses the innards of Nikon’s D4 so the low light results are truly spectacular. I’ve attached below a quick frame shot at night on the wet cold streets of London – deliberately shot under exposed for pictorial effect.

Image © Brian Cassey



Fuji X10 First Impressions …

Have just taken delivery of Fuji’s latest potential photojournalist snapper and baby brother to the Fujifilm X100 which was released earlier this year … the Fujifilm X10.

If looks count for anything it should be a winner. Great build quality and excellent retro rangefinderesque styling coupled with a fast n bright F2-F2.8 28-112mm equivalent lens and a relatively large sensor … and VERY light weight … means the X10 is a capable camera that is easy to carry at all times. (Yes … there are times when lugging the full DSLR kit is a heavy and burdensome drag!)

Havn’t shot too much with the X10 yet … but will post some images from it at a future stage.

In the meantime … here’s a pic to show it’s great lines … and a link to a preview of the camera from DPR … at

It’s Open …

Great evening Wednesday at the Global Gallery, Paddington on the opening of the ‘fotostrada’ exhibition – part of the Head On Photo Festival 2011. All nine members of ‘fotostrada’ displayed work … and four attended in person – Sam Mooy, Tracey Nearmy, Kelly Barnes made the trip up from Adelaide and I travelled down from Cairns. Plenty of other great work at the gallery too from Patrick Tombola, Nadia Janis, Claire Martin and Gemma-Rose Turnbull. The exhibition runs to May 29 so still time to take it all in.

Posted a pic below from the opening eve and, interestingly, this was one of the first frames exposed on my new piece of kit – the Fuji Finepix X100 – which arrived in Sydney that day. When I’ve had more of a play I’ll post ‘first impressions’ on this blog.

© Brian Cassey

The Answer To Street Photographers and PJ’s Prayers ?

There has long been a gaping hole in the pro camera market for a fast lens, great quality digital rangefinder style camera … say …  something to bring the Leica rangefinder into the 21st century. Something that photojournalists can have slung over their shoulder and the street photographer can use as his or hers everyday ‘tool of trade’.

Both Sony and Leica themselves have made attempts to fill this void but all have fallen short of the mark, let down by slow operation, lousy LCD’s and other unwelcome quirks.

An offering from Fuji due out in March – the FinePix X100 – is looking good to fill the gap.

A beautiful retro design body harking back to R/F’s of yesteryear, it is fitted with a fast F2 35mm equivalent lens and traditional analogue dials for shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, alongside an electronically coupled (‘focus-by-wire’) manual focus ring. But the biggest story is its innovative hybrid viewfinder, which combines a conventional direct-vision optical viewfinder with a high-resolution electronic viewfinder, offering the best of both worlds.

All in all the the X100 package is definately ‘looking the goods’ – and if the image quality stacks up I’m sure it will be on the shopping lists of many street photographers and photojournalists come March. I’m certainly interested.

DPReview has published an extensive detailed ‘first look’ at the camera which may be found here .

I wonder what Henri Cartier Bresson would have made of it ??