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Tag Archives: SCUBA

I’m used to seeing tons of turtles in Hawaii, so many that I sometimes get a little jaded.  But boy, I’d forgotten how many eels hang out there.  Here’s a sampling.

A traditional up close shot of a moray.  There are lots of these guys out there.  Some quite large.


Dive site: Molokini – Reef’s End.  OMD EM5, 12-50mm at 40mm.  1/250th, f/6.3, ISO 200

And here, getting cleaned by some pretty red shrimp.  The eel had to really open its mouth wide to allow those (really big) shrimp to get inside.  (Sorry, I was watching the action instead of shooting.)


Dive site: Maui – Red Hill. OMD EM5, 12-50mm at 22mm. 1/250th, f/8.0, ISO 200

And a beautiful snowflake eel that I found out free swimming. Here posing with a sea urchin.


Dive site: Maui – Red Hill. OMD EM5, 12-50mm at 34mm. 1/250th, f/8.0, ISO 200

And there were more.  A super shy dragon moray that I just couldn’t get a good shot of.  Lots more big morays.  If you like eels, this is a good spot.

I love diving at Molokini. The water is clear. There’s lots to see. And you often get to see whales and dolphins on the way there and/or at your surface interval.  This week didn’t disappoint.  We saw whales every day.  Lazing about at the surface.  Spouting.  Diving.  Breaching.  And coolest, mothers holding their new babies up at the surface with their noses.  (The new calves need assistance in the early going.)

I’m not alone in my love of Molokini, of course. Lots of people love it. Often you hear that the back wall is just *the* best. Personally, I like the far corner (say, Reef’s End) best. But ok, I’ll slum it on the back wall.

Poking around in a crack, I found these this pair of pipefish.


There are no fish that I don’t like. (Well, maybe with the possible exception of the territorial, bitey Titan Triggerfish.  I give them wide berth.) But I especially like seahorses and their relatives.  Pipefish are essentially straightened out seahorses.

They are shy.  These guys were down in a crack.  And they’re nervous.  They never stop moving.  Combined with their length, that makes them hard to shoot — it’s hard to keep them all in focus.  And with all that movement and in their challenging location, hard to focus on them.  So, these shots aren’t really technically “right”.  But I like them anyhow.

And by the way, did you notice that he was pregnant?  (Yep, like other seahorses, the males brood the babies.)  Hard to tell in that shot.  But in this one, you can see the eggs glued on the stomach.


Dive site: Maui – Molokini Back Wall.

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 12-50 at 50mm f/8.0, 1/250th, ISO 200.

After accidentally inventing Champagne, the monk is reported to have said “I’m seeing stars.”  In the waters off Maui you can see plenty of stars, but no drinking first in this case.

I’m a big fan of sea stars of many forms.  This is the underside of a sofa cushion star.


Dive site: Maui – Marty’s Reef.

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 12-50 at 50mm f/8.0, 1/250th, ISO 200.

I believe he is saying “go away.”

These guys are shy and really don’t like you to come up to see them.  Normally they’re sitting right in the coral.  And in the picture they look pretty obvious with all those dark red spots.  But in the water, they’re actually pretty well camouflaged against the spots of the coral.

If you get too close, the swim away.  So, I was happy to get this shot.


Dive site: Maui Five Graves/Five Caves/Five Names.

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 12-50 at 50mm f/8, 1/250th, ISO 200.

The shot I posted yesterday was a little out of order. Here’s one from my actual first day of diving.

And what a first day. I’d been out of the water for a little while (since Palau), but we jumped right into the deep end. First day was 3 dives instead of my usual 2 for this trip. And the first dive was right at 130 feet to start. My dive computer is “severely conservative” if you’ll allow me to borrow a term of art from a different context.  And that meant that things were going to be a little challenging with a second fairly deep dive (though not anything like the first one).  And then a third to boot.  Yes, I ended up with a couple of minutes of deco.  This shot is from that third dive back along the Maui coast after the first two dives out at Molokini.

Snowflake Moray Eel, I think.

Dive site: Maui – near Wailea.

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 12-50 at 50mm f/6.3, 1/250th, ISO 200.

Ok, no skiing.  When it is cold and snowy up in the mountains, that seems to me like a great time to head to the ocean.  So, pardon the interruption — there’s more Palau to post, but here are a few in real(ish) time.

I’ve always been told that diagonals make for strong compositions. So this one’s great, right?
Ok, kidding.

Found a nice coral whip with a goby.  Next time, I’ll try it with the CMC to get even tighter.


Dive site: Maui – Molokini Back Wall.

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 12-50 at 50mm f/8.0, 1/250th, ISO 200.

If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m not a cave diver or a wreck diver.  Well, on the Palau trip, check and check.  Caves and wrecks.  And not so bad.  (Thanks Alex.)

On this one, I was looking around for some nice fish or other lovely ocean dweller framed by railings, superstructure or whatnot (but for real — not made in photoshop like this one — seriously, go take a look, I’ll wait).

And then I saw this.  It looked to me like a pirate’s treasure chest.  The yellow coral on the lip even looked like golden doubloons overflowing from the chest.  All of those other little bits and pieces — gems, orbs and more.  So cool.  I shot it from a bunch of angles and ultimately liked this one the best.

But it still wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  Too much exposure to Disney animated movies and Saturday morning cartoons had made me want something with super saturated colors.  And at the image review where I showed this people suggested having lights shining out of the chest.  Genius!  That would look like something Scooby would have encountered.  (If only the Mystery Machine were wrecked down there too.)

Ok, just one problem with that plan.  No way I was going to go into the wreck to show lights up through the hole.  Because, just like on a movie set.  The “chest” wasn’t really a chest.  It was some sort of access point with a lid but no floor.  Alex very nicely volunteered to put one of my lights down there and then we both shot it.  He might have gotten a good one.  But I wasn’t happy with the result.  I think I needed more lights and more lumens per light.  Now if only it had been at night…
Dive site: Dexter’s Wall, Palau

Shot at 1/200th at f/8 with Olympus OMD EM5, 8mm Panasonic fisheye lens in Nauticam housing and mini dome port, no strobes.


Soon I’ll be going  back to Maui and will see lots of these guys.  So many that I kind of get jaded.  And then…

This one was a shot in Palau at Dexter’s wall, a dive site we really loved and went back to several times. Great hard corals and lots of turtles. Well, seemingly lots of turtles.

This was my last dive of my Palau trip and I was really hoping to shoot turtles. I still had some compositions in my head that I just hadn’t gotten. Well, the first part of the dive I didn’t see many turtles. Nice corals.  Some other nice fish.  But turtles … not so much.  And then later in the dive, my dive buddies were already working with all the turtles I saw. So after a lot of swimming around looking,  I was getting kind of low on air, so I came up and did my safety stop. Turned off my strobes and camera and was listening to that nasty little voice in my head. You know the one. And with 3 minutes to kill (at 15 ft), really a little mindfulness would go a long way. (Note to self: keep working on it.) Anyhow, all of a sudden I see not one but 2 turtles.

Hurry, hurry turn everything on. Wait, forget about the strobes — I’m right here at the surface in the bright sun. Just shoot! Sun rays and turtles. Not a bad end to the trip.

Dive site: Dexter’s Wall, Palau

Shot at 1/60th at f/8 with Olympus OMD EM5, 8mm Panasonic fisheye lens in Nauticam housing and mini dome port, no strobes.


Up in Alaska, we saw humpback whales come together to cooperatively make a bubble net to feed on small fish.  This isn’t that.

We’d just had a very nice dive and were hanging out on our safety stop when a large, tightly packed group of divers passed underneath us.  It was quite a crowd. Were they all breathing synchronously?  Were they trying to corral us so that they could eat us like the whales?

I’ve certainly seen plenty of other divers’ bubbles before.  But never a wall of bubbles like this.  And the good news is that Juan was there to pose.

Dive site: Palau

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 1/40th @ f/8, 8mm Panasonic fisheye lens in Nauticam housing and mini dome port, no strobes.


Here’s a cave-y shot for a non-cave diver (me).

You enter at the surface and go down through a shaft that opens out into a big room with a smaller chamber behind.  This is the view from the back of the big room looking out to the open ocean with one lone diver.
Dive site: Blue Holes, Palau

Shot with Olympus OMD EM5, 1/40th @ f/8, 8mm Panasonic fisheye lens in Nauticam housing and mini dome port, no strobes.