PhotoFriday – ‘Glorious’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Glorious’

This weeks theme brings to mind the glorious sight of hundreds or schooling Snapper at Ras Mohammad in Egypt. There’s nothing quite like seeing so many large fish all at once.

To see others take a look at my Red Sea 2013 gallery.

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

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

Red Sea 2013 – Schooling fish at Ras Mohammad

Continuing on with the photos from my Red Sea 2013 trip today I’d like to show you the amazing schooling fish that you can often see at Shark & Yolanda Reef in the Ras Mohammad National Park. I wanted to put some video in too but my mac ran out of space so we’ll leave that for another day. This is my favourite dive site in the world but at this time of the year with all the schools its even more spectacular! You cannot take a wrong lens on this dive, macro, mid range or super wide. The reef is full of beautiful soft corals and colourful anthias, huge bump-head wrass, there is the cargo of the Yolanda wreck (toliets and baths etc), Moray eels, the list can go on. This post is just dedicated to the schools. I’ll post another to cover the other sealife (I didnt take any of the wreck this year because the fish action was so much fun).

The snappers don’t look so big in this photo above but check out this one below from Nadya Kulagina of me photographing the impressive school – notice the tiny camera in my hand ;) (I’ll edit this post next month so you can see a link to Nadya’s new blog when it’s up & running, she has some really lovely photos from this trip that are only on facebook at the moment).

Me and Snappers by Nadya

At one point I was fortunate enough to have a choice of what giant school is fish to photograph. The Barracuda were circling below the snapper and the batfish were on hand (just out of shot behind me) and I didn’t know where to turn, what a dilemma to have!

The Barracuda tend to school at a deeper depth so you have to watch your gauges as they circle up and down. Here The school of Barracuda (which I can only assume was female) were being chased and herded by one gnarly looking much bigger Barracuda (which I assume was the male). I was a bit wary of him because when he came close he had a very large set of teeth! I spent some time with them swirling all around me in the saddle between Shark & Yolanda reef.

I found I liked the photos of the Barracuda best in black & white, and the batfish & snappers mostly in colour. There are a few reasons for this. The Batfish are best shot with filter (not flash because they are very reflective and they have lovely yellow fins) which lends itself for nicer colours throughout the image (see the first photo in the post). The Snappers can work nicely with flash or filter and I liked photos from both. The barracuda are lovely graphical arrow shaped fish that sometimes school in circles. They tend to be deeper making them less suitable for filters and they are highly reflective but with no colour other than silver so that they themselves to black & white quite well.

for more shots you can see my gallery here, although I haven’t finished adding to it yet. Tomorrow is photofriday so I shall resume posting about the red sea trip next week!

PhotoFriday – ‘Change of Season’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Change of Season’

Since I don’t live by the sea and dive in the same place all year around it is difficult for me to show you a change in season as per the theme (without showing you photos of my back garden shed in spring, summer, autumn and winter)! However, many places have seasonal creatures so I would like to share some photos of those with you.

Winter:

In Florida, in winter, the sea gets too cold so the manatees have to come into the fresh water springs of crystal river to keep warm. This is a great time to visit that area to see them…

Summer:

In summer, off the coast of mexico great aggregations of whalesharks come to feed on the newly sporned fish eggs.

Also in summer: off the coast of Sinai in the Red Sea there are two weeks when there are mass spornings of all sorts of fish. The most impressive are the snapper…

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 ‘Change of Season’ here.

North Red Sea 2009

I wanted to tell you a little about our recent trip to Egypt (as promised).

As usual, click on the images to see them at a larger size.

This is our second trip with Alex Mustard this year (our 1st was Raja Ampat in Feb) but this one was a full on photo-workshop.

We Flew to Egypt on Monarch (groan) into Sharm El Sheikh, luckily we didnt have to stay there, our liveaboard was waiting for us at the Military port. MV Whirlwind of the Tony Backhurst fleet was a very comfortable boat.

Alex runs this workshop trip ever year at this time to try and see the huge schools of snapper (& other large fish) that come to spawn in the area on these weeks. It was a little daunting as these fish are HUGE and because of the properties of the fisheye lens I was using I had to get very close to them! Also, strangely for this time of year the visibility wasn’t that great. Usually in the Red Sea the water is gin clear and you feel like you can see for miles. In amongst these snappers I feel like I was in a snow flurry so I am surprised I actually got any good photos of them.

We also head over to Tiran Island for a bit (since we weren’t having as much luck as usual with the Snapper). This trip was primarily a wide-angle trip but those who know me know I don’t go on any underwater jaunt without my trust 60mm macro lens. I tried to “go-wide” with that too this time to shoot some fish portraits but I couldn’t resist the odd tiny macro fish or occasional abstract.

We also saw a rather large amount of shipwrecks (this is the North Red Sea after all) including the Ghiannis D, Thistlegorm & Yolanda.

This was actually a treat (even though I’m not fussed about wrecks usually) because Mike has never seen the Thistlegorm & I’ve not been back since I first learnt to dive. I enjoyed seeing all the Motorbikes, trucks & things but I was still really spooked by the wellies. It was nice on the Ghiannis D too since we had Mr Alex (Magic Filters) Mustard himself with us to give us guidance on how to use them effectively. I still dont think I got the hang of it properly but it was good fun to try something new.

One of the things I really like about going on photo workshops in a group is you tend to meet really nice people. Everyone helps everyone else out. Julian ended up giving a load of us a Lightroom tutorial or two (and also taking me under his wing for my 1st snapper experience) so many thanks to him. Also, I’d like to thank Robin for being an excellent model & stand in buddy. And many thanks of course go to Alex for giving us such a great trip.

The only thing I was disappointed in (apart from getting really sick on the last day when we stayed in Sharm) was the poor moray eel I found who had a giant hook in his mouth :( C’mon people this is supposed to be a protected marine area! I guess the usually vigilant Egyptian authorities must have missed this one (or else he swam into the area from outside).

my full underwater gallery can be found here. Mikes above water gallery can be found here.