About the site
Mornington Pier is currently under reconstruction. In the last 12 months they’ve removed and replaced almost all of the pylons, changing from the old wooden pillars to new steel and plastic contraptions. All of this work hasn’t done much for the underwater scenery with many of the critters that could manage it moving on. The bottom has been scoured down in places and until the greenery grows back there won’t be very many places to hide. On the other hand the local fishing community hasn’t had easy access to the end of the pier either. I spent the dive surrounded by schooling old wives, juvenile sweep and yellow tailed silver thingies. Being on the rEvo made me bubble free. The drawback was fish sneaking over my shoulder and scaring the crap out of me while I was focussed on the camera.
About the dive
After dipping a hand in the water to determine temperature (warmer than Mt Gambier!) I jumped in with macro lens fitted. The adventures of the last few months mean I haven’t been diving in the ocean in Melbourne since July. It was good to be back in home waters. I also haven’t had my macro lens on the camera since my trip on the Arenui. I pootled gently along the side of the new pylons, keeping an eye out for small critters. The obvious ones were the blennies, who were everywhere. I also encountered a few very relaxed rays and I’m sure I swam right past a seahorse or two.
About the photos
I love these little guys for their expressive faces. The construction of the new pier means the old pylons have been cut down to about a metre off the bottom. The flat tops have little holes in them, and the edges have deep cracks – perfect for curious fish. For the top photo I used just one strobe. By moving it down to sit to the left of the frame at the same level as the top of the sawn-off pylon I side lit this subject. Side lighting keeps his hole deep and dark and gives him nice contrast from his environment.
With lighting established this was a game of wait and see. Eventually he got sick of hiding and poked his head out to say hello – and voila! I especially like the way his feelers stick up in advance of his eyes appearing. The second little guy was not so little and not so concerned. He watched me from this position as I crept closer and closer with the camera until I got to here. This shot is uncropped and close to minimum focus distance for my 100mm lens behind a flat port. As I thought in Komodo, it may well be time to splash out on a super macro converter.