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 – ‘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.

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).