Aug 262014
Backlighting leaf fish on the Arenui

About the trip For the first few days of the trip on the Arenui, we meandered along the lovely mucky shores of Alor. This meant lots of fantastic critters – mantis shrimp and little cuttlefish, ribbon eels and orangutan crabs, rhinopias, frogfish and pipefish. These critters come in fantastic shapes, sizes and colours but all manage to blend in exceptionally well with their environment. I was especially impressed with our dive guide Ronald when he managed to spot a small clown frogfish from over 15m away. I wandered away while others took photos and despite knowing exactly where he was, then came back and spent 5 fruitless minutes searching a very small area. As it turned out he was right [read more…]

Sep 022013
The top of the pylons at Flinders Pier

About the site I was intending to dive at Mornington Pier yesterday, a quick trip out from home. When I got there I discovered the 1m+ swell was breaking under the pier and the car park was empty of divers. With the wind coming in from the bay it was time to move to the other side and I drove over to Flinders Pier instead. Yesterday was also the first day of the Underwater Festival photo competition. Photos have to be taken in September this year to qualify so I have the next 29 days to take the winning shot. It was great to get started early. About the dive Due to the unexpected redirection I got to Flinders about [read more…]

Aug 052013
Yabbies in Pines Cave

  About the cave At a certain point in cave training, most CDAA members do a lot of diving in Pines Cave. There are five main cave-rated sites in Mt Gambier, and Pines is the largest and most interesting. In order to rack up the hours and experience required, those who don’t travel to other cave diving regions do a lot of diving here. It’s also a dual rated site and once you’ve passed the Advanced Cave course there are a bunch of tunnels to explore. The main cavern is fairly open and on clear winter days sees good sunshine down the rockpile. In the shallows there’s lots of timber scattered around. About the dive This was our last dive [read more…]

Jun 242013
Weedy seadragon portrait under Flinders Pier

About the site Flinders Pier is known for weedy seadragons and it would be rare to dive there and not see one. It can be a very shallow dive – I’ve spent an hour underwater at low tide and not been deep enough to turn my dive computer on. The pier is a great dive when the wind is blowing from the west as it’s on the other side of the Mornington Peninsula and sheltered when Mornington and Rye Piers are exposed. About the dive I dived at Flinders on the long weekend Monday. The conditions were dead flat up top. Underwater the vis was milky but there wasn’t much floating sand, and the water temperature was finally down to [read more…]

Apr 082013
Shrimp on the wreck of the Ozone

About the site I’ve been talking a lot about cave diving recently…because that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing. I rectified that this weekend with two lovely dives out in the Bay. The wreck of the Ozone lies very close to shore and half out of the water at Indented Head, on the Bellarine Peninsula. I waded out towards the isolated danger marker and the struts of the wreck sticking up, and I reckon there were only a few times during the “dive” where I wouldn’t have been able to stand up. The hull stretches out flat on the sand and then there’s a few sticky-up bits down one end. About the dive After a lovely dive on Lonsdale Wall [read more…]

Feb 072013
Lessons from a macro lens: Isolating the subject

When I take large, wide angle shots of reef there are several ways to overcome the confusion of a densely packed ecosystem swirling through the scene. By getting up close to a foreground feature, using strobes to highlight reds and oranges, or choosing an angle where the reef stands out against a blue background, there are techniques for drawing the viewer’s attention to the subject. With the above water photography I’d done before taking a camera into the depths, these techniques came naturally. I hadn’t done all that much macro photography above or below water, and I had to sit down and think about what I was trying to achieve with my various subjects. As in wide angle underwater photography, [read more…]