Underwater Photography

June 4th, 2009

I have always wanted to go underwater and explore the “different world” out there. There was never a time or place. Then last year when Renata and I took a trip to South Caribbean islands for a weeding we were shooting we extended our stay to make it a little vacation. We did little snorkeling with stingrays and turtles, some sightseeing and even watched planes land in the wildest place in the world to watch airliners – St. Maarten Airport runway that is few feet from the beach and the ocean. On that trip I came by an offer to discover scuba diving. Since I wanted to try scuba for the longest I did not think twice and went for it. We did a lot of great things on that week long trip but scuba was the highlight of it. I then did it again on Barbados and while the sea conditions were less than perfect since they had storm coming it was still very cool. I was hooked, Came back to NY and started my research about certification and scuba spots. And then the normal, busy life came back and I did not have time to think about scuba….. it was pretty cold and long winter so that did not help either. The spring came in and one of my friends told me one day that he found very friendly local dive shop and he was scheduled to take his certification classes in few weeks. Few phone calls later and I was scheduled for my class that was to begin in two days. LOL There is something in my life that makes things come up at the last minute… little hectic and stressful but otherwise cool. Love it. And so my journey with scuba begun. After I was done with my certification and open water dives I took quite few dives without the camera. First to get used to the equipment and the environment and then just to perfect the skills before taking one more task (photography) which is not easy as it looks. Even that I have been a photographer for the last dozen of years underwater photography is very different. But since I love new challenges its a lot of fun learning new skills.

Last week was the first time that I took my camera for two of the dives that we did. The bottom of the lake looks very interesting and sandy but actually is sill that is very soft and easily stirred.

Bottom of the lake

Bottom of the lake

Its very quiet but you can still have fun. Well the conversation is a little different… or should I say even non existent.

Conversation or is it a dance

Conversation or is it a dance?

There is a lot of interesting things underwater. You can run into a staircase leading to the surface, or maybe leading to nowhere.

Underwater Staircase

Underwater Staircase

So what do you do when you encounter a stairs totally covered with Zebra Mussels except the steps at a depth of 50 feet? Well You can do a lot of things… You can sit on the stairs for example, you can walk the stairs, you can just hold on to the stairs…. Or you can try running up the stairs as my friend Ed demonstrated which did not really worked.

Running up the stairs does not really works

Running up the stairs does not really works

OK, enough talking, dancing and running… Lets just observe and enjoy the views. The world underwater is very different and you never know what you are going to run into. The lake that we were diving into is a 50 acre lake with depths up to 120 feet. It is spring-fed from and underground aquifer that filters trough limestone to provide pretty decent visibility. There is a variety of interesting fish and aquatic life including Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Palomino Trout, Koi, Yellow Perch and Goldfish. While we were exploring the lake we run into a school of Koi fish that was hanging around a big steel structure of an old pump house. There were all the colors that we could imagine, from an albino Koi to all shades of yellows, reds and oranges.

Koi Fish just swimming around the structure

Koi Fish just swimming around the structure

So lets just stick around for a while and try not to disrupt their habitat, lets see how close can we be without the fish being scared off. Well we just stayed by the structure and let the fish choose how close to us they wanted to be.

Koi up close

Koi up close

Albino Koi

Albino Koi

Yellow Koi

Yellow Koi

There was one yellow Koi Fish that was a lot bigger than any other fish…. I know everything underwater looks closer and bigger. But that is only when you have nothing to compare to. In our case we had other fish to compare this guy to.  Just take a look at the size difference.

Big Koi Fish

Big Koi Fish

How is that for a comparison? This guy was huge. I had a lot of fun diving and looking at those beautiful Koi fish.

Till the next time.

Martin Renee Photography

December 27th, 2008

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