Underwater photographers are a special breed of divers. Like their land-based counterparts, it is easy to fall into the trap of “anything to get the shot”. As divers we are taught to respect all marine life. We are only visitors and observers. But we can get a little focused – pun intended.
On one of our dives, there was a lovely little bit of open sand at the bottom of the mooring. As we were waiting for all the divers to drop down, one of our group had found a tiny slug and 4 or 5 of us were tucked into the sand waiting our turn to get a picture. Macro photography takes a ton of patience and really good eyesight. Teamwork also helps. Guess we lost track of time. Our very patient dive master had given up on the traditional methods of gathering his flock and opted for old fashioned semaphore using his scuba fins. I have to admit, the sight of a group of divers, arms full of camera gear with their heads down in the sand with miles of reef and fish life all around likely is an odd sight.
On a shore dive at Maccabucca in Grand Cayman, my dive buddy was another photographer. We moved along at pretty much the same pace and were each getting tons of good opportunities for shots. I found a small group of tarpon and was determined to get a good shot. Tarpon are silver and shiny. In good visibility and with sunlight reaching where you are shooting, its a bit like trying to photograph rolls of aluminium foil in the daylight. It’s difficult to get a good shot with some contrast that shows the cool detail of their scales and size.
After a few tries, I turned around to see my buddy pointing under a ledge. I couldn’t see what he was pointing at and gave him the universal shoulder shrug. Which earned me a look of exasperation and some more pointing. I finally noticed what he was trying to point out. Under the ledge was a Goliath Grouper just hanging out waiting for his picture. The tarpon shots are in my computer’s recycle bin and the grouper is a great memory of the day.
Main Image: Pictured here with Dusty Norman, owner of DNS Diving in Grand Cayman and Chris Nuttall, Instructor with DNS Diving. Taken on the DNS Trip of a Lifetime to Little Cayman in May 2019.