PhotoFriday – ‘Detail’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Detail’

Cardinal fish

Being too fat to function is pretty much dominating my thoughts at the moment as I’m now 3 days overdue with my little one and getting bigger by the second. On the upside I’m still able to eat and I spare a thought for these poor little mouth-brooding cardinal fish from the Red Sea….

Once the eggs are released and fertilized the male will take the eggs into his mouth to protect them while they incubate. The eggs remain in his mouth for 10 days or more and every minute or so he will open his mouth to allow fresh water to oxygenate the eggs. Even after hatching the fry remain in mouth of the male for a few days. He allows them to swim in and out of his mouth until they are mature enough to face life in the ocean. At this time, he spits them out in groups to search for food. So long as the male holds the eggs, and subsequently the fry, in his mouth the male does not eat. During this time the female will aggressively chase away any other fish that encroach on the male’s location. So much less fun than lying on the sofa watching star wars films with Mike lol.

Since this weeks theme is detail, I’ve made a 100% crop in on those tiny little eggs, as you can see they are mostly little balls with eyes at this stage so I’d say this little fishy wasn’t going to be eating for quite a few more days.

Cardinal fish eggs

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

Also, I made it into this weeks noteworthy with my PhotoFriday – Orange post from two weeks ago. Thanks to all who voted for me :) This week we’re voting for last weeks theme of moving – I’m no #51 ;).

Photofriday Noteworthy Orange

 

Best Photos 2014

At this time of year I like to review the previous year to select my favourite (best?) photos and generally reflect on where I’ve been. I also check back on my previous top tens so I can see if I’m making any progress. This year I went to 3 places, which is two more than I was expecting. I was lucky enough to go back underwater in both Raja Ampat and the Red Sea again this year. And by September I was pregnant (so no diving for a while) but very much enjoyed our topside trip to Sardinia to our Friend Alex’s Wedding.

Without further ado (and in no particular order) here is my top ten underwater images from 2014:

I played a bit with backlighting and off camera strobes again this year. Here is one from the Toberlone Tunnel in Raja Ampat. We don’t usually get up that far but we were having fun and games crossing the equator underwater.

In last years top ten I said that this year I wanted to concentrate on trying to get a Manta shot I was happy with. I like this one because its a bit different from the manta images you usually see (often in black and white and from below).

Continuing with the big animals theme, we saw lots of Woebegones (carpet sharks to you and me) when we were in Raja and this year I actually had the wide angle lens on for some of the encounters.

In the same area as the Mantas on one of the many amazing night dives I encountered this lovely little fellow.

One thing I love taking photos of but don’t often get the opportunity to is the night sky. I’m either on a rocky boat or in a city with lots of light pollution.

This year I was introduced to a new critter – the hairy shrimp. So so minuscule I could only just about see him as a spec of fluffy with my naked eye.

I don’t know why I like the image from the Red Sea so much but I do. Its just a simple images of the rusting pillars of the Carnatic. I had to de-fisheye the photo for one of the rare ones underwater where the fisheye lens made the scene look funny.

I like this one because it looks like a film set. Its actually deep inside the engine room of the Ghanis D wreck in the Red Sea.

This year I couldn’t believe how many Anthias there were on the reef. The place was teaming with millions of them.

The great thing about photographs is that they transport you back to a time and place, this one will forever remind me of snorkelling around the mangroves for a good few hours trying to spot the tiny shark baby I occasionally saw swim past and trying to avoid getting sunburnt, just the thing for a cold december night.

We also got our lovely little baby cats. Hard to imagine we’ve had them less than a year now. Leeloo & Dallas…

Z5171332

_Z290862 1600px

_Z190578 1600px

And an honourable mention for my forthcoming little baby – although I didn’t take this photo myself ;)

baby scan

I’ve had an amazing 2014, and I hope you all did too. I’m very much looking forward to next year. Exciting times afoot.

PhotoFriday – ‘Still Life’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Still Life’

This weeks theme is Still Life, so here is wishing everyone a very belated Happy Easter with my entry this week (I’m sure some of you are still finishing off the chocolate eggs so it still counts).

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

Dampier Strait, Raja Ampat

For the last part of my trip report I want to show you the photos from the northern area of the Dampier Strait. We dived many quite a few different sites here (including Arborek Jetty which I’ve already posted about).

Mantas:

Here we saw a host of amazing creatures, larger ones such as mantas & woebegones, and smaller critters such as pontohi pygmy seahorses, snake eels, robust ghost pipe fish and more. Without further ado here are some of the photos that I liked most from this area.

Two (mating?) woebegone sharks, I love how they just look like bits of old carpet!

Pontohi pygmy seahorse:

Many of these images were taken on the Olympus OMD EM1 camera which was lent to me for review so tomorrow I’ll post up a bit more about my experience with it and the pros & cons verses my own little EM5.

Arborek Jetty, Raja Ampat

This might be one of the most photographed jetties in all of Raja Ampat but it is truly a great place to go and take all types of photos. And it changes year on year, here is the link from last year. There is usually some sort of school of fish swirling under the jetty, then there are the beautiful soft corals on many of the posts (I concentrated more on that last year than this), then there is the giant clams (and I do mean giant) and of course the lovely macro subjects. Also, I enjoyed snorkelling there to take some split shots (see below).

Candy crab on the soft coral on the jetty pillars:

In fact with an eagle eye’d dive guide you may even ‘see’ one of these:

Its a hairy shrimp, the damned thing is so small it looks like a tiny spec, not even big enough to look like a bit of fluff! I’m pretty good at spotting (I often even find my own pygmy seahorses) but I had trouble seeing these guys even when pointed out. I cracked out Alex’s subsee +10 (to put on my 60mm which is already equivalent to 120mm) and then cropped in!

The schooling fish:

Its interesting at night, lovely stars above (if the weather is with you):

And an interesting night dive below, here is a toadfish I found:

Other creatures come out at night two, we saw a walking shark and these little tiny skeleton shrimp:

We saw mating Nudis (i think this may have even been a threesome not that you can tell from the photo):

and Adorable frogfish:

Above & below tiny fish stream by:

To see more of the cool stuff we saw at this jetty & other photos from the trip head over to my Raja Ampat gallery. And to see an image Mike took when we went onto the island see his blogpost here, you can’t take the street photographer off the streets for long. I’ll continue my trip photos tomorrow with more from the Dampier Strait.

Mangroves, Raja Ampat

We went again to the same mangrove area as last year in Yangeffo. They arnt quite as cool as they blue water mangroves we visited in 2009 but we didn’t fancy facing the crocodiles so here we are.

This year I had the presence of mind to take in a macro lens so I got some more close up shots of the smaller subjects such as this flower floating on the surface and of course the archerfish:

The mangroves are an incredible nursery for young fish and several times I saw a juvenile blacktip shark cursing up and down, sadly no photos of him as he was practicing creeping up behind me rather than posing for photos

If you like these photos of the mangroves there are more over in my full Raja Ampat photo gallery. Stay tuned, coming up on my trip report is the amazingly diverse Dampier Straits area (including Arborek jetty again, which we saw last year) and a review of the Olympus OMD EM1.

Aljui Bay, Raja Ampat

Instead of Pele which I posted about yesterday, we went to Aljui bay on the first trip and I was disappointed not to go back there on the second trip. Its quite a lot further north than most itineraries usually go though. I was kicking myself for not doing more wide angle dives there, they had some pearl frames dangling from the jetty which I didn’t photograph (because I had my macro lens on). Paul Rosenblum got a lovely shot of them here (go team Olympus)!

Here are some shots I did get from the area though…

Debbie:

Green frogfish:

For more images from this trip see the full Raja Gallery here. I hope you enjoyed those and will tune in tomorrow for the next stop on our tour.