About the dive
In July of 2010, I spent a week in Fiji doing some beautiful tropical diving. With 26 degree water and ocean visibility as you would expect, I clicked the shutter a lot of times. This was also my first trip after purchasing the two Inon z240 MkIV strobes, which I’d taken on one practise weekend in the caves beforehand.
We went out with Scuba Bula, who have a very efficient operation set up at the Seashell @ Momi resort. With local dive guides with excellent local knowledge pointing out all kinds of things, I had a ball with the camera. With very small numbers of divers around, we were able to select our dive sites and tailor the diving to suit all our preferences.
Doing two to four dives a day, taking 100 to 150 shots per dive and downloading at lunch and dinner to check results did wonders for my photography. It means I was thinking about camera settings and strobe positioning, and when things didn’t work I had the chance to go back the next day.
This particular dive was about half way through the week. We had just entered the water and were heading along one of the walls covered in spectacular soft coral formations. Api, our lovely and very helpful guide, banged his tank…up above us and out in front was this turtle, resting about 5m under the surface in mid water.
Unlike the previous two turtles spotted at great distance, one of which I had followed for five minutes before giving up on getting close enough, this little guy was in no hurry to go anywhere. I got a number of shots approaching him, and rotated through the angles as he gently started swimming back down to the reef.
About the shot
I love this picture. It was the first time I’d got close enough to a turtle to take a decent shot, and I had enough time to get more than one. The 14mm lens meant shots from a distance were not going to work, and by half way through the week I was afraid I wasn’t going to get my turtle shot. Living in a non-turtle location, these are my favourite marine animals when on holiday.
Shooting up in the general direction of the sun has given the light rays through the water, without the sun itself causing a blown out exposure. The dual strobes from underneath have balanced the artificial light against the natural light to give a balanced picture, while also picking out the colour and details of the subject.
If I had known this turtle was Mr. Relaxed, I perhaps would have taken the time to swim around in front of him to better position the sun and get a little more of his face. Since you don’t know with each animal until you try, I wasn’t prepared to take the gamble!