Just out for a stroll.

Right at the beginning of the third dive, I came across this little Spanish Shawl crawling across the sand. Despite getting knocked side to side by the strong surge, he was actually managing to move at quite a good pace. I settled down on the sand right in front of him, trying to make him fill the frame, while also trying get the rhinophores (the red ear like parts) nicely in focus. Well, I seemed to be just off on all my shots, with these two being the best of the bunch. My macro lens creates such a shallow depth of focus that its hard to get right where I want it to be, especially with the surge I was battling. Other than the focus issues, I was really happy with the exposure and composition of these guys. I didn’t amputate any part of the nudi, I got him looking right at me and and even was able to incorporate the useful diagonal composition on the second picture to help include the whole nudibranch. It will just take more time and practice and soon I’ll have my macro shooting locked down much better! 🙂

Surgealicious.

At the beginning of July I got the chance to finish an Advanced class with several students that I had began the class with a couple months ago. We were headed out on the Peace with two dives to complete, which meant I would also get two “fun dives” in. Excited for another chance to practice photography, I brought my camera to use on the dives once we were done with the AOW class. The day was great, though the visibility wasn’t fantastic in general. We hit up Cathedral Gardens and Rat Rock first, and I was a bit bummed at Rat Rock that I didn’t have the camera with me. When we hopped in and descended I looked for a patch of sand to start with the class and couldn’t find anything, the bottom seemed covered in thin weeds. However when we got closer I discovered that it was not weeds, but rather brittle stars! The entire bottom of the ocean in this area was thoroughly blanketed with massive amounts of brittle stars. It was incredible. Hopefully I’ll get to go back soon with camera in hand.

I was able to take the camera on dives 3 and 4 at Channels and Fish Bowl Point respectively. Since the visibility was limited, I decided to focus on macro which would keep me close to the subject and the poor viz wouldn’t matter so much. This would have been great except for one minor issue. SURGE. Most of my dive was spent in about 20ft of water, and the surge was intense. I found it extremely difficult to compose a shot with the macro lens on, a few inches from a subject and snap the shutter before I was tossed back and forth with the surge.

There were a ton of really beautifully colored anemones at the Channels dive site, and I wanted to practice shooting them as the lines and patterns they contain can make beautiful pictures. I didn’t have a ton of luck in capturing that great shot of a perfectly centered anemone with its tendrils fanning out along the edge, but I did capture several different colors and beautiful patterns of lines. Hopefully I’ll get to visit again with better viz and much less surge! Here’s the first of the next round of photo posts: Anemones!

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In Your Face.

The last picture of this series really gets up close and personal. I was practicing with macro and found a VERY lazy scorpionfish laying on a group of rocks. He allowed me to get super close with my macro lens and snap a couple shots. I inched closer and closer, working to to get a nicely centered face on shot. Eventually I did and I love this one. Its a little busy, if I could have blocked the strobe a little more so that just the front of his face was lit with the rest of the fish dropping more into black I think it would be even more dynamic, but for first time practice, I’ll take it. You can really see the character of the fish when he’s up this close; the grumpy face, slightly smirking at the camera as if he knows something I don’t. Though really, who knows… scorpionfish could be rather polite and classy folk.

Glowing Goby.

This picture is my favorite from the dives. I managed to get up close and personal with a black eyed goby and for once he didn’t dart away. Practicing with just zooming in to allow a closer shot without getting too close to a flighty subject, I was able to sneak up to a group of gobies and snap a few pictures. While most of them were either a little too late or not quite in focus or well composed, this one stood out to me. The little goby rested on a weedy covered rock and kept moving around, but not far, as I approached. I was able to capture this shot just after he touched down, and truthfully I lucked out a bit with the framing. He’s not amputated at all (phew!) and his face and eyes are nice and crisp in focus with the shallow depth of field dropping off along his body. What I particularly like, is how my strobe illuminated him… it looks like he just swallowed a lightning bug and is being lit up from the inside out! One of the pluses for my new camera is that with a high pixel resolution I’m able to actually crop pictures and still maintain a good quality image. So, I also cropped this shot down to just the goby’s head, and it remained crisp and looks cool, really bringing out that inner illumination that I like. Enjoy!