Arborek Jetty, Raja Ampat

This might be one of the most photographed jetties in all of Raja Ampat but it is truly a great place to go and take all types of photos. And it changes year on year, here is the link from last year. There is usually some sort of school of fish swirling under the jetty, then there are the beautiful soft corals on many of the posts (I concentrated more on that last year than this), then there is the giant clams (and I do mean giant) and of course the lovely macro subjects. Also, I enjoyed snorkelling there to take some split shots (see below).

Candy crab on the soft coral on the jetty pillars:

In fact with an eagle eye’d dive guide you may even ‘see’ one of these:

Its a hairy shrimp, the damned thing is so small it looks like a tiny spec, not even big enough to look like a bit of fluff! I’m pretty good at spotting (I often even find my own pygmy seahorses) but I had trouble seeing these guys even when pointed out. I cracked out Alex’s subsee +10 (to put on my 60mm which is already equivalent to 120mm) and then cropped in!

The schooling fish:

Its interesting at night, lovely stars above (if the weather is with you):

And an interesting night dive below, here is a toadfish I found:

Other creatures come out at night two, we saw a walking shark and these little tiny skeleton shrimp:

We saw mating Nudis (i think this may have even been a threesome not that you can tell from the photo):

and Adorable frogfish:

Above & below tiny fish stream by:

To see more of the cool stuff we saw at this jetty & other photos from the trip head over to my Raja Ampat gallery. And to see an image Mike took when we went onto the island see his blogpost here, you can’t take the street photographer off the streets for long. I’ll continue my trip photos tomorrow with more from the Dampier Strait.

PhotoFriday – ‘Evening’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Evening’

One thing I don’t get to do as much as I’d like is diving at night. They call them night dives but they are usually very early evening (before dinner)! The time you go in depends on what you are going in to photograph. Some fish, mandarin fish for example, mate at dusk so it’s best to slip into the water just as the sun goes down. In the last 15 minutes of sunlight you get a nice dappled sunlight coming through at the surface. And when it’s full dark all the unusual night time creatures are out & about on the reef doing their thing. Its a bit of a pain trying to hold a torch & a camera so now I attach my torch to my camera rig.

In my experience you are much more likely to see crabs & shrimps out in the evening. You can see free swimming moray eels as they hunt for their supper. Lion fish hover nearby and use your torchlight to help them pick out prey. Some day fish are much easier to approach (because they are asleep) but you have to be considerate and try not to wake them with too much flash. You can see Spanish Dancers and Star gazers and all sorts of weird creatures of the night. Also, depending on where you are, sometimes if you turn off the torch and flap your arms you can see green sparkles of bioluminescent plankton all around you.

If you want to see more of my underwater photos from various places then check out the galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Evening’ here.

New Photos from Florida

As a little follow on to yesterday’s blog post about clearing my 2011 photo back log, I present to you some new photos from the famed Blue Heron Bridge muck diving site in Florida>. It might have been the coldest water I’ve ever dived in (23/24 degrees c brrr, yes I know I’m a wus) but there was so many weird and wonderful critters it was worth an ice cream headache or two. The full gallery is here.

so much life down there they were stepping on each other:

This guy here “walked” along the bottom on his “hands”!

this terrifying chap chased me across the sand, the largest arrow crab I’ve ever seen. Not the best to meet on a night dive!

We stopped of here on the way from Grand Cayman to Crystal Springs to see the Manatees. The sea was unusually full of jelly fish (so much so that Alex got stung quiet badly on the night dive). The next day loads of Portuguese man o’ war jellies has washed up under the bridge.

Here is quite a wide panorama of the Bridge area: click it for larger

PhotoFriday – ‘Little’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Little’

This week’s theme is Little. Whilst on our recent trip to the South Red Sea I went out looking for something little to photograph and found a colony of cleaner shrimp all living on an anemone. I watched them for ages and they got up to all sorts of cute & interesting things like fighting each other, doing yoga stretches (see below) and thinking that I needed a clean so floating over to me to help me out with that. Here are a couple of the shots that I liked.

I put these shots of him having a little stretch together in one photo as a sequence…

This little hermit crab wandered past while I was there too…

All in all a nice relaxing dive critter watching – the best ones!

If you want to see more of my recent Red Sea photos then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2011 Gallery.

See all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Little’ here.