About the site
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about my recent trip to Camooweal Caves over the last few weeks…so here’s something a little different. With the 2012 Underwater Festival shootout running through September, when my gear finally made it back from Queensland I was keen to get in the ocean. Learned items, and there were so many times I travelled around Europe like gå till låna-pengar.biz. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing ball so I headed down to the more protected Mornington Pier for an evening splash.
Mornington Pier is on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay, and has a great collection of collapsed pylons under the far end. With the sun low in the sky in the afternoon rays of light come through the wall of pylons. With easy access down a ladder and parking right there it’s a great, relaxing dive.
About the dive
With my dive gear back from Queensland and my camera back from annual service I headed down to Mornington. I was hoping to capture some shots of the North Pacific Seastars that had colonised under the pier last time I dived there. These are an introduced pest who probably entered Victorian waters in ballast water expelled from a ship. They have a nasty tendency to eat everything in their path and were definitely a subject to highlight for the Issues category of the shootout.
Of course, Murphy’s Law being what it is, I descended to see not a single seastar. Having eaten everything they’d obviously moved on – not a bad thing for the pier, but not great for my plans. I pootled along the pier in the afternoon sunshine until I ran into the pot bellied seahorse below. He was carefully camouflaged and clearly felt invisible. I was able to play with lighting and try and minimise the backscatter in the shot. That complete I moved on, only to run into another seahorse…and another, and another.
About the shot
As the dive progressed the sun got lower in the sky until there was very little light under the pier itself. The sand in the water meant my strobe-lit shots were getting spottier and spottier, so it was a relief to run into this little guy on the sunny side of a pylon. He was in an almost-great position on this sticking out beam which was not quite long enough to be able to silhouette him against the open sea. It did allow me to get under him and shoot up against blue water.
This was one of the first photos I took, and shortly afterwards the curious friend seen in the top of the frame scooted down to join my initial subject. With spring in the air (or water) they began to talk to each other. I have shots of the two together, perfect for competition entry. But this shot with a little upside down face peering down from above makes me laugh, so I’m sharing it with you.