Thoughts about this image
Subject info
Technical / Gear information
About the composition

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Notes from the field :

Wow, it has been awhile since I put a new featured image up. For those that look at or enjoy this portion of the site, sorry about that. Time flies!

This shot was from our recent trip to Dominica. I have made plenty of comments about that trip and various images in my blog. This particular shot was taken on a dive right out in front of our dive resort, Castle Comfort. It was one of the afternoons that we didn't have booked for land tours around the island. Since others were going into town shopping, I decided I would just do a shore dive by myself. I was glad the resort personnel allowed this - they had already been diving with me thoughout the week, so I think they felt comfortable with my skill level. Admittingly, it is a bit erie as well as extremely peaceful diving alone.

One of the best things about the diving in front of Castle Comfort was the enormous garden eel areas. They are actually in this image in the distance, but hard to make out.

It was interesting in that they actually tucked into the sand even when a turtle was swimming overhead - a reaction I tought they reserved towards divers.

I was finding a lot of different subject matter on this dive, and it was about halfway through it, in about 40 feet of water that I turned around to see this turtle cruising the reef. I had heard other divers talking about this turtle earlier in the week from the shore dives they did. He seems to hang out here frequently. This turtle was also worth of talk by divers since he was VERY large. The shell alone was approximately 4 feet long - and that's no turtle-tale!

As with most sea turtles, they pay little attention to divers if they are left alone. But they do tend to go about cruising around minding their own business. This makes it hard to keep up with them or position yourself in a way to make an image. This guy basically cruised behind me, over some of the reef, and then started heading into deeper water. I was fortunate enough to grab a few shots during his (her?) visit with me.


About the subject :

A hawksbill sea turtle, and a big one! Shell was approximately 4 feet long. I don't know how this relates to the age of the turtle, but I will be doing a little research to find out.

He was swimming over a sand bed full of garden eels, but most of them retracted as this turtle swam overhead.


Technical details :

This image was captured on film, Fuji Velvia Pro 100 and converted to Black & White in Photoshop. I had intended on converting many underwater images from this trip to black & white, and this one just seemed to fit nicely because of the nice balance of positive and negative space. I think it also adds a bit more drama to this shot, instead of one looking primarily blue.

I still have my Nikon F100 35mm camera, with an Aquatica housing. The turtle was much too far away for strobes to be effective, therefore this was only with ambient light. And suprisingly, I shot this with my 105mm macro lens, not the idea lens for this type of subject. But I tried to make due with what I had - one of the problems with going either macro or wide angle while shooting underwater.


About the composition :

1] For me, the slight head turn completely makes this shot work. Without it, since the turtle was swimming away from me, it would have been hard to establish a visual connection. I do have another shot where you can't see the head, and it simply doesn't work.

2] I tried to make this image look as dynamic as possible in a very fleeting moment. Afterall, this turtle was not sticking around to entertain me - and was heading off to deeper water, probably in search of an evening jellyfish meal. So the swimming toward the 'deep' and the shadow add to the dimension and dynamic nature of this shot.

3] A very titled ground level - intentional - again - with me trying to add some dynamic nature to this shot

4} The black represents the deep, the unknown, a place for the turtle to go. There were some garden eels visible just at the sand bed horizon, but I wasn't able to retain their detail in the black & white conversion.