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Dive Photo Guide


Behind the Shot: What a Mouthful
By Debi Henshaw, April 29, 2013 @ 06:00 AM (EST)

By Debi Henshaw

Indonesia, and Manado in particular, have always been one of my favorite dive destinations, and my husband and I have been regular visitors since 2006. The Bunaken Marine Park gives ample opportunity to shoot wide-angle, but for me, the interest lies on the Manado side of the reserve.  Here there is the most amazing muck diving with macro subjects easily rivaling the inhabitants of the famous Lembeh Straight.

The dive guides there are more than guides—they are critter spotting experts and know the dive sites like the backs of their hands. They know the habitat of virtually every critter you can find in the ID books and so its no surprise to them when we hand over our bucket list.

Eight-spined cardinal fish are one of the macro marvels off Manado

The Idea
Shooting macro is my favorite underwater discipline and witnessing any animal behavior has to be the highlight of the dive whether it be mating, feeding or hunting.

So when I saw an image of the prettiest little fish with a mouthful of eggs taken by the macro maestro William Tan, I had to know what it was and whether I could see it "in the flesh.” An eight-spined cardinalfish was now at the top of my list!

I had one chance to capture this dream critter behavior...

The Shot
Our guide Noldy knew exactly where to go and led me to a small clump of soft coral sitting in the barren sandy landscape and motioned me to settle down. I thought we were looking for crabs or shrimps until suddenly I spotted a bright yellow glow.

Patience was key in waiting for the fish to come out for a more exposed subject

I looked closer and realized the glow was sitting inside the mouth of this shy little fish with the most exquisite blue eyes. It was so well camouflaged I almost didn't see that there was a whole family of them hiding there amongst the soft fronds. There was only one with eggs so I gathered myself together and adjusted my camera settings and strobes ready to compose my shot.

I was so lucky the little fish didn't seem bothered by its admirer and allowed me to shoot away. I think I got about a dozen or so shots, but this is the one that offers the best view of the eggs and of course the fabulous blue eyes!

The Final Shot: Nikon D300s, 105mm with +8 close-up wet lens. f/20 @ 1/160 ISO 200



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