PhotoFriday – ‘Shadows’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Shadows’

People think its the shafts of light but the thing that makes caves & caverns atmospheric is the shadows. Here’s one from Chac Mool Cenote in Mexico.

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Shadows’ here.

Psst… Please check out my excellent used Nikon Gear page, I’ve swapped over systems and I’m trying to raise money on my previous gear.

PhotoFriday – ‘Huge!’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Huge!’

Ok, I know you’ve seen them before but when I think Huge fish in the ocean, you really cannot get any bigger than these guys: Whalesharks. See my post on our trip to photograph them in Mexico here. I have a bit of a backlog but once I’ve finished this section of my degree and got my homework in I might dig out the mexico folder in LR and continue processing, I’m pretty sure I have some cool videos footage from there still to go through.

Here’s a smallish one with a snorkeler (for scale):

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Huge!’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Spacious’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Spacious’

This weeks theme got me thinking about what creates a feeling of space in am image? Take these two images of the same Cenote in Mexico for example. Shot at the same time of day with the same gear. The divers are roughly the same size in the image yet its the landscape orientation photo that feels more spacious to me. Please let me know what you think in the comments below?

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.

To see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Spacious’ here.

PS: I’m currently still selling my 60mm/D300 underwater macro set-up. Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk. Thanks for supporting my work!

PhotoFriday – ‘Scenic Wonder’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Scenic Wonder’

I feel blessed each time I drop beneath the waves, it seems like there is always a scenic wonder waiting for me so picking just the one for this theme would be pretty hard, so I didnt! ;)

If you want to see my underwater photos from various places then check out the collection of galleries in my Reef Beasties Gallery. Or my best from 2012 here.

By the way, thank you for voting for me as noteworthy for photofriday: mobile phone photo. For those less familiar with the way photofriday works, each week you can vote for the previous weeks entries as noteworthy by the voting button at the top-middle of the photofriday page (I always put mine under the name scuba_suzy ;)). On the top-right of the page you can see the noteworthy results for the previous weeks voting and on the top-left you can enter your own links for this weeks photofriday theme. So go see all the other photo Friday entries (and submit your own) for ‘Scenic Wonder’ here.

PS: I’m currently still selling my 60mm/D300 underwater macro set-up. Click here for more details & the full list of equipment for sale or email me at scubasuzy-sellingnikongear@yahoo.co.uk. Thanks for supporting my work!

Mexican Cenotes: Eden

As a follow on from Chac Mool & Taj Mahal, I know I promised you even more Cenotes from mexico and I got a bit side tracked with other things but I didnt forget. Here is my post about the aptly named “Eden”.

From the surface Eden is like a huge swimming pool – very open. In fact some of the kids were jumping off the platform into the water below and some were trying to balance on the rope strung across the middle. In fact it seemed as though it was a busy swimming area for the local families.

In fact they gave us strange looks as we donned all our gear and slipped beneath the water. Once you’d passed all the commotion (being careful that no one landed on your head of course) you could enter a long dark tunnel. Out the other side was calm, empty and very beautiful.

In fact Eden has a little bit of everything. The muck-about swimming area, the cavey tunnel with small stalactites ,the striking sunbeams and a lovely little mangrove area full of tree roots and small fish.

We were able to get out & change lens to macro to enjoy the fish life in the swimming area after we’d seem the cenote itself… I think we all really enjoyed that after several dives with wide angle only:

This little Cichlid Fish protects his babies by trying to hide them in the moss.

And I enjoyed watching these two having a fight over the females…

but they called it a draw and no one got hurt or eaten.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed my little slice of Eden.

PhotoFriday – ‘Reflected’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Reflected’

The great thing about being near the surface of the water is the reflections so any marine animal that spends any time near the surface is a great one to photograph. Here are a few examples I hope you’ll enjoy. It works best when the surface of the water is flat calm. Above is a whaleshark from Mexico. Below are a few photos from Raja Ampat (Indonesia) and a manatee from Florida.

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 ‘Reflected’ here.

Mexican Cenotes: Taj Mahal

Continuing on from yesterdays mexican cenote post here are the photos from Taj Mahal Cenote.

WOW. This was some place. We had to wait for ten or so mins in the half dark before the sun came out from behind some clouds but when it did it was breathtaking. The photo above is Mario swimming through the sunbeams. The photo below is Eleo:

While Alex & Eleo were mucking about posing for each other I swam up to the surface and took some split level shots – it was amazing that you could still clearly see the blue watery sunbeams still so brightly even from the angle at the surface:

We had a little tour of the inside too ater we were done playing in the sun…

The stalactites (above) were less impressive than those at Chac Mool but the haloclines (where the salt water creates blurry layers of water) were still amazingly cool. You can see the layer more clearly in this photo but it doesnt do it justice.

Since its so dark in the caves you really need an underwater tripod like this one here that Alex is setting up and also preferably a camera that goes to high iso with little noise.

This was the entrance & exit to the cenote… most of them have some form of stairway or natural rocky steps to help you in and out.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my photos from the Taj Mahal Cenote, next up Eden….

Mexican Cenotes: Chac Mool

Cenotes are sinkholes in the jungle that are filled with fresh, cool, clear water and often have extensive cave systems. The cenotes we visited in Mexico all had a very different feel to them so I’ll do once post for each.

Today I’d like to tell you about the Chac Mool Cenote system. Its actually 3 cenotes all joined together. Little brother (mainly just a jump in point for easy access to the other two), Kukulkan and Chac Mool.

The main attraction was the light (for which you have to visit in the morning) streaming into Kukulkan. We jumped in at little brother and swam through a little cavey passageway to Kukulkan. Here are some of the photos I took there:


The other main cenote in this system is Chac Mool itself. The surface of this cenote was covered in a softgreen alge making the light diffused and the water look green.

This one is more interesting inside with all the large stalactites and stalagmites. And also and interesting halocline effect where layers of salt water mix with fresh water making everything in the salty water layer appear blurred. It was very surreal (I thought I had something wrong with my eyes)!

There was a little air pocket too where we were able to surface to see some little stalactites all over the ceiling (see Mike below and the photo at the top of this post).

Thanks to Mike my long suffering dive model/buddy/partner for coming into the caves even though he wasnt all that keen to. And to Mario from dive Aventuras for guiding us. And to Karen Doody for hooking us up with the lovely condo that we all stayed in. And to Alex and Eleo who we stayed with for the two days before the whaleshark trip started and had a great time. Next up Taj Mahal Cenote….

Whalesharks in Mexico

It turns out whalesharks are BIG. I mean intellectually I know they are the biggest fish in the sea, but when you get really close up – they are BIG. And in Isla Mujeres in Mexico at this time of the year, there are LOTs. We were fortunate enough to find ourselves on the wetpixel whale sharks trip lead by Alex Mustard at the end of last month. Wow. On the first day the captain estimated around 300-400 sharks. It certainly felt like it. Every time I turn around another one had snuck up on me, it was amazing. And as a diver who’s pathologically afraid of snorkelling (I know I know go ahead and laugh) a massive fish sneaking up on you when you’re already feeling completely sea sick (forgot to make my pills until we were underway that first day, I was ok the rest of the trip) should scare the crap out of you – but no, they didn’t. They were just wonderful. Much less scary than mantas. I felt very peaceful. Here are my photos (which dont do them justice unfortunately) so maybe you can enjoy them from the comfort of you’re armchair :) And by the end of the week I was no longer afraid of snorkelling either – I didnt drown – yay me!

As you can see from the photos they swim along with their mouths open to hoover up all the tuna eggs suspended in the water. The eggs tend to float which is why they feed at the surface. When they feel comfortable sometime the “bottle feed”, which is where they just up end and stay static in once place feeding at the surface as below:

Quite often there were so many they caused a traffic jam & had to swim under each other:

It was nice to get out there early before all the hordes of boats came along:


We didnt just see whalesharks though. Sometimes the remora (small fish that hitch a ride with larger fish by hooking on) came to check us out, after finding us lacking in interest they would swim back to their whalesharks. And a couple of times we saw some mobula rays fly past.


If you want to see more of my whaleshark pics they were in this gallery here (along with the Cenote photos but I’ll be featuring them in some posts here soon anyway).

PhotoFriday – ‘Quiet’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Quiet’

What a perfect theme to resume my posting to! I’ve been very quiet on the blog of late in part because of the lack of interesting (to me) themes from photofriday.com but also because I’ve been away in Mexico. I’ve got lots of interesting photos to share with you all but for now here’s a couple from the Cenotes in Mexico. I’ll put some more posts up about them with more details soon.

I’ve not done much fresh water diving and hardly any diving in caves and one of the things that struck me was the quietness. You’d expect underwater that the sound would be off anyway but not so, the reef is full of sounds. The caves were very quiet, cold and dark. And of course stunningly beautiful.

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 ‘Quiet’ here.