Best Photos 2012

As in previous years it is time to review and select my best/favourite photos of 2012. I always really enjoy looking back over all the posts and pictures I’ve made throughout the year and reflecting upon how fortunate I am to go to such great places and have such supportive people in my life. With no further ado, and in no particular order, here are this years top ten (click each for larger version on pbase)….

‘Taj Mahal’ Cenote with Eleo. While we were in Mexico we popped down the coast to see the amazing underwater caves called “Cenotes”. When the sun shines through the holes in the jungle surface these caves are simply magical. I did several blog posts on them because each of them have different characteristics.

Cardinal and friends. I liked this one because even though its taken in the ocean it gives an aquarium vibe. Diving on a tropical reef is so often like being on the inside of a giant aquarium I like that when I capture it in my photos. I got quite a lot I was please with from Bali.

Operatic Nemo. This little guy looked like he was singing an aria for me (in deep baritone). I also love him because he won me the end of trip competition in Bali.

Fish are friends not food. The amazing thing about whalesharks is what they eat. The largest fish in the sea eats the smallest thing, plankton. I liked this photo above the other more traditional mouth open whaleshark feeding shots because of the little remora fish swimming for all his worth to try and get out of the whalesharks mouth. Remora fish usually hook onto other sea creatures for a free ride so this scene amused me even though the little fish is in no danger.

London Triangles. This year I started a new photography degree course (and a new blog to go with it). I’ve had great fun trying to bend the exercises into my photographic areas of interest. This one was from an exercise on triangles and patterns. Its taken looking up into a building on the south bank.

Singapore skyline. We stopped over in Singapore for a few nights on our way to Cambodia and I indulged in my joy of panoramas with this one at night take from Marina Bay.

Duomo. We went on a city break with a friend of ours to Florence. Its long been on my ‘must see’ list of places to go and it didn’t disappoint. As with many beautiful cities, florence has been photographed millions of times. I really liked this view of the Duomo in the early morning. Its one of the only times to get near it when there are no people but as you can see there are still cars zipping by. For me it infuses old and new.

Contrasts Assignment. I had a lot of fun creating the lighting for this assignment with some desk lamps and tracing paper. You can see the whole assignment here.

Decorator crab. This little crab knows a thing or two about camouflage. He’s actually got live corals living on his shell to enable him to blend in more easily with the reef. I found him while searching for triangles for my second assignment.

Giant spotty fish. I like this whaleshark photo as it shows off his spots. As tradition dictated we could only refer to them as ‘giant spotty fish’ until we’d seen one in case we jinxed the trip.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Since choosing just ten is very hard its became tradition for me to briefly mention the spill over … (click for larger):

I hope you enjoyed reviewing my images of the year with me. If you’d like to see more I’ve put my fav 100 of 2012 here. Merry Christmas & Happy new year everyone!

PhotoFriday – ‘On the horizon’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’On The horizon’

Today I’m taking a break from telling you about Mexico to bring you some photofriday action. For the theme this week I couldn’t decide what to show you so I put a few different ones up… click the images to see them larger.

I quite liked the idea of having a sunrise on the horizon. I’m so very rarely up for sunrise that when I’m up and actually awake enough to enjoy it it feels like a small miracle. These two here are 1/2 underwater sunrise & sand ripples at the Grand Cayman sandbar

You also get boats appear on horizons. The name of our boat in indonesia was the seven seas, and the idea of seeing the seven seas on the horizon kind of appealed to me too…

And lastly, who can resist Giraffes on the horizon (well, moving towards it anyway)…

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 ‘On the horizon’ here.

PhotoFriday – ‘Soft Light’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Soft Light’

Sorry for my absence these last few weeks, a mixture of uninspiring photo Friday themes and slight illness played its part. Anyway, on to this week’s entry. Egypt is a place know for its harsh light & fierce sun so it might surprise you that my entry this week for “Soft Light” would originate there. However the ever magical underwater world has its own rules and the water can provide a muted a diffused quality to the light as seen here in my photo of the Ghiannis D shipwreck.

If you want to see more of my Red Sea photos from that trip then check out other photos in my Red Sea 2009 Gallery.

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

Best Photos 2011

Its reflection time again and my top ten best/favourite photos from 2011 were so much harder to pick than last year (I’m please to say). With no further ado here they are, in no particular order (click each for larger version on pbase):

Jazz Hands.  I was mucking about on a dull dive in Cayman with my buddy and I love this one. For me it all comes together, the silly pose that made me laugh so hard my mask filled up, the outrageous lighting on the sides of the hands making them look massive in the forced perspective. A nice lit up mask (sometimes the masks can cause nasty shadows). The fact that you can see his fin and the dark edge of the reef are nice touches to add depth. And of course what a handsome model ;)


Kittewake squid.  This little battalion of squid seem to live up in the shallows by the mast of the Kittiwake wreck in Grand Cayman. I wanted to capture the sense that they were guarding the ship. I have another shot of them splaying out under the sunrays but I think this one tells the story I wanted to capture a little better.

Inside the tug boat.  Tiny fish stream around inside a shipwrecked tug boat in the south Red Sea. I like the sense of movement in this one and the blue cast from the windows in the background setting the context.


Blenny in a hole.  Blog post here for more blennies. The blennies expression makes this one for me.

Ray close up.  I like this shot of a Cayman Stingray better than some of the other more graceful ones I took. Its unusual and I love the texture on him and his expression as he presses against my glass dome port. The rays here were expecting food and I was glad to capture the in-your-face nature of our encounter with them.

Manatee in the sunshine.  I loved the manatees so much this one had to be in my top ten.

Blue room.  I very much enjoyed our land-based trip this year to Namibia (despite no diving *gasp*). My favourite part was the abandoned mining village. It was the major reason for us going there and I’d have liked one more day wandering around. I prefer this view of the blue room over the more usual symmetrical view because I like the slightly off-kilter through-many-doors-and-windows feeling. With this view you see a way in (or out) of the room (and the frame) via the window and then your eyes are lead through the rooms and tantalised with a hint of a fourth room (one last edge of a doorway) which you don’t get to see if you are straight on and symmetrical.

Milkyway.  I loved Deadvlei (in Namibia). During the day it’s amazing and surreal orange and blue. Landscape straight out of a Dali painting. At night something the stars are brighter than I’ve ever seen in my life. My first foray into night photography and stars. I enjoyed playing around with the star trails shots (even though they didn’t come out right) but I still prefer the straight up majesty of the static star shots.

Dune sunset.  A special treat in Namibia was my first trip up in a microlight. I like this moody aerial shot of the last of the sunlight just catching the edge of a massive sand dune.

Giraffe Greeting.  Giraffe love as two giraffe greet each other nearby the waterhole where we were parked in Etosha. I’d never seen giraffes outside of a zoo before so this was a rare treat for me.

Honourable mentions: As with previous years choosing ten was very hard. Here are a few others that I’ve liked and a whole bunch more in my best 2011 gallery on pbase .



I was very lucky in 2011 to visit so many wonderful places that I have not even been able to go through all my photographs so I’ve choose these from the selection of photographs that were taken, processed & put on my pbase site in 2011. I hope you enjoyed this look back with me.

I’m very much looking forward to 2012, Happy New Year everyone!

I’m back…

…from Grand Cayman, Alex Mustard’s underwater photoworkshop.

Had a great time with Rays & Sharks & Earthquakes. Will tell you all about it with a review once I have more photos to display.

(c) Michael Toye

Best Photos 2009

Well again I’ve really enjoyed the agonizing process of choosing my top photos from the year. I’ve picked 100 photos and put them in a gallery here:

http://www.pbase.com/suzy_walker/best2009

This year I found many photos to choose from that I liked so I must be getting better at this photography malarkey (I hope you agree).  Again, we had a great year photo-opportunity-wise, we went to Raja Ampat (Indonesia) & the Red Sea (Egypt). We had some murder mayhem at the start of the year and We wandered around London experimenting with IR (failed) and HDR (better) techniques. The now closed Shunt Lounge at London Bridge provided some fun challenges too. And of course it wouldn’t be a photography year for me without playing with a bit of macro in the flat.

I tried to be good this year and only pick the best (and not just favourite – see my blog post here about choosing) but I think I failed and just chose what I liked most anyway ;)

So here are my top ten of 2009 (click them to see them larger):

#10 Angel in HDR. OK, we just moved out of London last week… I’ll admit it, I’m going to miss Angel. Probably not one of my best photos of the year but I wanted to mark the passing into our new life in 2010…

#9 Snapper explosion from Red Sea. See the full trip gallery here.

#8 James’ Mysterious device. See the full series here.

#7 Little fishy. Also from the red sea. These little guys are very quick but very graceful. I wanted to get a photo that showed that and I think this does.

#6 Mike & Suzy fish. Tiny glass fish blown into a glass fish bowl. Amazing item from Italy and I found it difficult to light.

#5 Fish tails. I loved the pattern they made. I’d have liked to get more in but the school was not really big enough.

#4 Leaf reflection. The Raja Ampat Mangroves were by far & away my fav experience this year! See the full gallery here

#3 Teeny Tiny bobtail squid. See Raja Ampat (not Mangroves) Underwater gallery here. This was a challenge & a 1/2! Night dive. Heavy lens & torch I could hardly hold up. Bobtail squid I could hardly see he was so small! Those white rocks in the photo are grains of sand & shell.

#2 Nemo. You know I cannot resist! I like the yellow he was on …

#1 360 degrees of paradise! Bit of a dodgy handheld panorama but it came out well …. click it to see a much larger size:

EDIT: a few people contacted me wanting to know why this wasnt on the list… so I thought I’d add it here as an honorable mention…

Color of the Year 2010 Turquoise

As you may know I’m a big fan of Mark Graf’s blog:  “Graf Nature Photography | Notes from the woods” .

Every year he does a Pantone Colour Of The Year post (I loved his Mimosa post last year). Well this year the colour is turquoise. A colour dear to my heart as an underwater photographer. Check out his post here. We all need a bit of tropical cheer in this snowy weather so here is a few turquoise images from me :)