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!

PhotoFriday – ‘Machines’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Machines’

There’s lots of machines in the ocean if you care to look, discounting the still functional boats and subs etc of course. Wrecks have a surprising amount of machines on them. This motorbike above from the Thistlegorm wreck in the Red Sea for example. It also have trains and trunks and all sorts on there!

On the Kittewake in Grand Cayman there are all sorts of machines on there…

I found it quite interesting to see this decompression chamber on there – I’ve never seen one before (luckily)!

There are also the machines on the boat that fill up our air tanks and make it possible for us to scuba dive.

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

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

PS: I’m currently selling the set up that took these photos. 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!

Algae Patch, Raja Ampat

Following on from Thursday post about Misool, we continued our journey in Raja Ampat stopping off for a whole day on a muck dive site called the Algae patch. Here we saw many things hiding in the sand and algae. We even saw a baby woebegone shark.

We saw a different types of ghost pipefish – here is the ornate and the robust types. The robust have such great camouflage they look like strips of seaweed twisting in the current.

You’ll have to excuse this video. It’s an experiment with the video mode for the Olympus OMD EM5. I think I had it on all the wrong settings. The cyan colour cast was very horrible (so I desaturated it to black and white) and as you can see I had no stabilisation. However it is very short (only 40 seconds) and theres a surprise about 20 secs in.

feel free to watch the video on vimeo here.

Here are some of the stars of the show…

And last but not least a little crinoid crab clutching some eggs. We saw plenty of these in Bali a few months ago but none with Eggs.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little recap of the Algae Patch. Stayed tuned for more from Raja Ampat coming up…

New Underwater Video – Bali 2012

Watch this video in High Definition on Vimeo here.

This is my second Bali video. I do hope you like it. If you have any film making tips to help me (I’m such a newbie with video) then please let me know in the comments. This was shot on a GoPro Hero 2 in the GoPro dive housing with the backscatter magic filter on it. Edited in iMovie. Music: “Dire News” by Celestial Aeon Project

Wishing everyone a happy new year :)

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!

Schooling Jacks video

So here is my first underwater video (well the first one I got around to processing). I did take some footage of the whalesharks in mexico but I’m get to go through that. This is from Bali and its just Jacks…. schooling Jackfish at Coral Garden. I hope you like it….

 

 

If you cant see the embedded version (or just want to see it bigger HD) the link to it on vimeo is here:

http://vimeo.com/55734500

I’ve called it just Jacks because I took some footage of other reef life and next up is to see if I can make a video from that too. Thanks for watching.

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 – ‘Texture’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Texture’

The underwater realm is full of textures. In a place where you should look but not touch its frustration how many lovely looking textures there are. I like to use the lighting coming in from one side to bring out the textures where I can. Unusally for me I’ve chosen two black and white photos for this weeks theme. In the photo above I tried to bring out the texture of the sand as the gentle waves brushed over the dunes at the Grand Cayman Sandbar.

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 ‘Texture’ 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….

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!