Editor's Note: Francis' shot nabbed bronze in the "Divers" category at DEEP Indonesia 2013.
By Francis Perez
Around the north of Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, it´s very common to see large volcanic formations jutting out of the abyss. The result of ancient volcanic eruptions, the formations are created when basaltic lava comes in contact with the sea and cools. The lava contracts and breaks creating these spectacular sculptures.
I have photographed these formations many times. Near by this very site where the image was taken lies ancient basaltic formations, called Rapadura, dating to over a million years old.
Last year, with some friends, we found these pinnacles in different shapes and sizes in much shallower water, only 35 feet deep. In August, after one dive, we decided to go for a snorkel to explore the formations even more—possibly even for the first time.
I realized that combining these amazing masses with the right light could create a beautiful picture. Initially, I took a number of shots without a diver model; but the light wasn't good and the ocean was not so clear. I thought that I should come back with better conditions.
A month later, we returned to the site for some free dive photography. It was a beautiful day, warm water, sunny, no wind…
I went straight to the rock and as usual I did some tests without free diver, working out different exposures and angles. After some shots, I realized that there were beautiful sunbeams cutting through the water. I thought to myself, "this is the perfect time," as the water was very clear, the angle of the sunbeams were perfect for natural light photography.
I shouted to my free dive partner “come over here!” She must have thought that I saw some shark or dolphin, but still smiled as I asked her if she could free dive a few seconds after me above the rock, with the light behind her. After all, finding beautiful sunbeams is just like finding some beautiful animal.
We didn´t have too much time, only few precious minutes. After several shots where the model worked out her posture, I looked through my display and screamed, “Wonderful”! Almost right after that, the sunbeams started to disappear.
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