Just back from Cayman

Bottoms! Stingrays at stingray sandbar, Cayman 2016

Hi All, It’s been a while! Phew, just back from my first diving trip in over two years (since having my lovely daughter). I actually got back last week but the little one has not been well so we’ve been busy and sleep deprived.

Here’s a taster but I’m putting together a gallery page here. I’m experimenting with putting my pictures directly on my blog rather than pbase this time.

Kittiwake Jacks (Black & White), Cayman 2016

Reef Shark, Cayman 2016

Nadya’s image of Me & Snappers is winning again

On International Women’s Day no less, Nadya posted another win for her image of me taking snaps of snappers! This time the 2014 Monochrome Awards. Go Nadya!

If you want to see why I was photographing up so close see below or here’s my post of schooling snappers from the archives.

PhotoFriday – ‘Black & White’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Black & White’

My husband is eternally frustrated with underwater photographers who convert their images to black & white because the colour version didn’t come out right or looked ‘too blue’. We’re all guilty of it. It’s no secret that I prefer colour images to black and white but on occasion the subject does just need a moody black and white processing to do it justice. Wrecks I think work well in both colour and black and white and for any given wreck, depending on the position of the sun when you dive it, can be more suited to one or the other. I like to see wrecks in black and white when there are plenty of deep shadows to be had (i.e. photographing across the light), otherwise they often look nicer in colour. Here are some from the Red Sea
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Here is a comparison of black & white vs colour on the same wreck on the same dive… which do you prefer?

Ordinarily on that dive of the day I would not have converted to B&W for this angle of the wreck, however I liked the contrast of the etherial mermaid agains the dull & gloomy wreck. The colour one is a behind the scenes of Alex Mustard Photographing Katrin Felton

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

Psst… Please check out my excellent used Nikon Gear page, I’ve swapped over systems and I’m still trying to raise money on my previous gear get them now before they go.

PhotoFriday – ‘Green’

This week’s Photo Friday entry: ’Green’

So as you may know I had a little impromptu trip to the Red Sea recently! Totally unplanned but who passes up an invitation to go out there when a space becomes available? I’m just starting to go through my photos from the week but here is one of beautiful green mermaid for this weeks (belated) photofriday theme.

EDIT: Jackie asked me to remove the photo of her so here is a green frogfish from Raja Ampat instead.

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

Psst… Please check out my excellent used Nikon Gear page, I’ve swapped over systems and I’m still trying to raise money on my previous gear get them now before they go.

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.