Horsing around in the Solomon Islands

To take my mind off of the fires in San Diego, I thought I would post a few photos from the Solomon Islands. I enjoy traveling with people I know well because we frequently end up having a great time underwater.

Eric Cheng, underwater
me, with my seacam/ikelite rig (photo: douglas seifert)

Douglas took the above photo of me, which is perhaps the most interesting portrait I have of myself, to date. Look at those strobes! The image screams SERIOUS RIG, doesn't it? :)

Later on the trip, I grabbed Jaxie's flooded Nikon D200 and swam down to the propeller of the boat with Cor to get some shots. Yeah, there were jokes about me carrying a Nikon camera, but there weren't any flooded Canon ones to go around.

me, by the bilikiki's prop (photo: cor bosman)

And speaking of Jaxie, here I am accompanying him on one of his most effective underwater shoots of the trip:

jaxie and me using his wonderful nikon d200 (photo: cor bosman)

Finally, I thought I'd show what it's actually like down there as an underwater photographer. Some folks out there have a rather glorified idea of what it's like to photograph underwater marine life, but here's what you really do:

  1. find tiny subject in its natural habitat
  2. observe it at a distance until you see a pattern in its movements
  3. approach slowly, hoping no other divers swim over to see what you're doing (and scare the subject away!)
  4. try to keep steady in shallow surge, frequently above sharp and fragile corals
  5. snap a few shots every once in awhile
  6. repeat for 60-90 minutes

Here's an example of me stalking a little red-spotted blenny (Istiblennius chrysospilos):

me, stalking a blenny (photo: douglas seifert)

I photographed these guys for around 2 hours, and here are the shots I got:

a rare shot of a red-spotted blenny out of its hole

this is the shot more commonly seen

So there you go. We're not really recreational scuba divers -- we just happen to require scuba gear to photograph our chosen subjects. Oh, and we like to screw around a lot underwater. :)

// end of fire interlude