[UW Photo A059] The Fall

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[UW Photo A059] The Fall


[UW Photo A058] Stonefish

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[UW Photo A058] Stonefish



This is one of the most venomous fishes found in the world. Usually, injecting of venom occur through their needle like dorsal fins if accidently step on it. Its quite possible, since its camouflage body is very hard to identify by someone walk in the coast or a casual swimmer. This strong venom is produced in a gland located in the base of the dorsal fins. Anyway, this fish doesn't attack you.

Aboriginal people in the northern parts of Australia had known how to cure this venom and also they have had the knowledge how to prepare this fish as a food, carefully avoiding the venom.

I captured this image in Steve’s Bommie  of Ribbon Reef 3 of northern Great Barrier Reef. This site has been named to commemorate enthusiastic diver Steve who said to have died in a motorcycle accident (there are different other stories also). Still his name appears in a plaque beneath 25m below, which were placed by his friends. Anyway, Steve’s Bommie is one of the best dive sites in Great Barrier Reef.

[UW Photo A057] Swell Patterns

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[UW Photo A057] Swell Patterns


There are advantages if the sea is calm… strong waves or swell on the surface not only challenges your entry to the water and exit, but make poor natural light bottom down the water. Some creative photographers do miracles with patterns of water swell and waves. This is my humble attempt of capturing such a pattern with a fish eye lens.

[UW Photo A056] Black tip reef shark

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[UW Photo A056] Black tip reef shark


[UW Photo A055] A Macro

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[UW Photo A055] A Macro


[UW Photo A054]

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[UW Photo A054]


[UW Photo A053] A winning pic

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[UW Photo A053] A winning pic


This got first place in an ‘’armature” competition conducted by Mike Ball Expeditions after four days programme of shooting underwater in north of Great Barrier Reef. There were 21 divers/underwater photographers from many countries.

Team and winning photos;

Still, I am not fully satisfied about this image. If you see the enlarged version, you can see some white spots which are bitter evidence of back scattered light. In a way, it makes me realised, strobe positions are not the optimum which I have used.

I personally think, photo selected to the second place is a much better one. It was taken by Donna Hampton (USA). I was down there, when she was shooting this sea snake. It was a difficult exercise when consider the fast movement of the creature. In fact, I told Donna about my honest opinion.

Anyway, which makes me thrilled is, photos were judged by an acclaimed and world class underwater photographer, Julia Summerling. She has done wonderful work for National Geographic and Discovery channels and etc., including shooting Blue whales in Sri Lanka.

[UW Photo A052] Aesthetic value

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[UW Photo A052] Aesthetic value


I am always thinking of the aesthetic value of an underwater photo. Usually, there is lack of interest in that department because the trend is more towards identifying some scientific value. It’s more into exploring the details of ecosystem, diversity and challenging subjects.

Now this is an attempt of shooting something with and artistic arrangements. This was captured in the last dive of the day, late evening, in far north of Great Barrier Reef. Sun is going down, light is pale and most of the divers have left to the boat leaving the reef to its own character. Water is becoming colder and pushing us back to our own civilisation. May be the glittering “sun ball” is the civilization. Diver is heading that way. The unicorn fish in the image contrasts with the isolation and mystery.  So this photo has a story, which I felt in that moment.

That particular fraction of time is just a memory in my life. This photo itself is having a link to that fraction.

And that’s the story of this photo to me…. for you it could be different.

[UW Photo A051] Red and Black Anemone fish

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[UW Photo A051] Red and Black Anemone fish


This is Red and Black Anemone fish (Amphiprion melanopus) captured in world famous Cod Hole of Great Barrier Reef. Cod Hole is famous for its giant potato cod, but I didn’t have much chance of shooting a good photo of them.

Since wide lens gives you more range, though the fish is small, it’s best to try capturing some background that would improve the photo.  In fact, this photo gives some idea of the surrounding of the reef, though clownfishes themselves are smaller as the primary subject.

[UW Photo A050] Abstract – B&W work

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[UW Photo A050] Abstract – B&W work


If you are equipped with a macro and you don’t have any interesting subject nearby, there is another choice always. That is to see if you can find something with abstract flavour.

[UW Photo A049]

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[UW Photo A049]


[UW Photo A048] Dramatic lines

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[UW Photo A048] Dramatic lines



Apart from shipwrecks what else we should present in B&W in underwater photography. This is a question I am thinking again and again. I very much prefer B&W in land photography, particularly when it comes to portraits. I though this photo would give little bit of abstract feeling when remove the diverse colours to emphasise the rhythm of lines.

[UW Photo A049] Right time, Right place, But poor conditions..

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[UW Photo A049] Right time, Right place, But poor conditions..


I made a significant effort on shooting sharks this summer. Summer is almost gone without any fruit!
Usually, we find its hard to find the subject… but this time I was lucky with it. I found sharks in two occasions.. right time, right place.. BUT water condition was so unfriendly. Poor visibility and muddy water.. so this is the worst nightmare for a underwater photographer.
These photos are best examples of photos taken in bad condition.. not only you cant see the details, but light (flash) has been backskattering. So this is the proofs of failure in this season..
These are Grey Nurse Sharks. Usually they are not aggressive by nature.

[UW Photo A047] Green instead of Blue

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[UW Photo A047] Green instead of Blue

 
Any underwater photographer would prefer to shoot in crystal clear tropical waters, though there are many different regions. This is an example of photo taken in temperate zone. Main difference is dominance of Green instead of Blue. Its actually a difficult exercise due to many reasons. Biggest constrain is poor visibility. Still there are some unique fauna you could notice in those areas, though diversity is obviously less than tropical coral reefs. Famous photographer Shannon Conway advises you on changing the mind set from blue to green when you shoot in temperate zones.
 
This school of fish was captured near Broughton Island of Nelson Bay, about 200km north of Sydney. In poor visibility this is the best I could capture.

[UW Photo A046] Clownfish at Great Barrier Reef

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[UW Photo A046] Clownfish at Great Barrier Reef


This is a Clownfish (anemonefish) captured in outer reef of Great Barrier Reef. They are significantly colourful and magnificent fishes.

By doing “Finding Nemo” movie, it was expected to convey the message opposing the hobby of keeping captured reef fishes. Ironically, it affected adversely since more people wanted to keep clown fishes in their aquariums all around the world. Now it has been a threat to the survival of different species of clownfishes.

[UW Photo A045] Sex changing Wrasse

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[UW Photo A045] Sex changing Wrasse



Wrasse is one of the few fish species that can change their sex during the life time. The dominant male is removed/died, it is said that a suitable female get that place with a sex change.
Colour pattern of the eye of this fish indicates it is in the process of such a sex change.

[UW Photo A044] Spotted Wobbegong

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[UW Photo A044] Spotted Wobbegong



This is an attempt of getting an macro shot of Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus) in Magic Point, Sydney. Wobbegongs are kinds of Carpet Sharks. Though it is advised to shoot upwards, it is not practical when shooting a creature who is in the sea bed mostly. This is not bad as a try, but it could have been improved with more concentration.

[UW Photo A043]

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[UW Photo A043]


[UW Photo A042] A star fish

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[UW Photo A042] A star fish



Good thing about this photo is clarity of water (less particles in between lens and subject) which desn't result backscattering. Backscattering is the worst nightmare for underwater shooting. In fact, clear water gives you the advantage of improving the quality by increasing the contrast and etc.

This photo shows the direction where sunlight coming from. In underwater photography it is advised to shoot in a direction where sun is behind you. This gives more light directly to subject. Anyway, it’s not practical in all the occasions.

[UW Photo A041]

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[UW Photo A041]



Though nothing special about this photo, I like the two uncommon colours contrasting each other. Texture of Coral too seems very different.

[UW Photo A040] : A Solitary Bannerfish

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[UW Photo A040] : A Solitary Bannerfish


[UW Photo A039] : Adding the “human factor”

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[UW Photo A039] : Adding the “human factor”



I am very reluctant to add “humans” to a photograph taken beneath the sea. It gives me the feeling of blending the nature with artificial elements. Anyway, taking a photo with a man (i.e. Diver) is the only way of giving an idea about the size of an object in underwater photography. In that respect, there is no alternative. This technique is ideally used in capturing ship wrecks, where size matters. Here I have done the same in this image.  I waited till other two divers of my team go closer to the right position. Ship wrecks are also well-illustrated in black and white view.

This is famous Conch wreck in Hikkaduwa (Close to Akurala). Arthur C. Clarke and Mike Wilson have explored this wreck in their heydays of explorations.

Anyway, please note that I have used a wide angle lens so the objects get smaller when deviating from the center. In fact, divers are shown very small.

[UW Photo A038] : A Sea Slug (nudibranch)

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[UW Photo A038] : A Sea Slug (nudibranch)



Sea slugs are simply explained as saltwater snails without a shell (or with an internal shell). There are no many researches done about them. Anyway, they should be playing a significant role in the ecosystem of a coral reef.

This bright yellow colored slug (Notodoris minor) was captured in Great Barrier Reef.

[UW Photo A037] Many fishes

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[UW Photo A037] Many fishes



Most of the seascapes we see in magazines with thousands of fish in blue water have been captured using wide angle lenses. This is same kind of attempt I made. Kiralagala in Hikkaduwa is one such site that provides a plenty of opportunity for wide angle photos. It got different rock formations that give many options supported by many kinds of fishes.

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