More underwater loveliness

We had a lot of comments on the underwater photos, so I thought I’d share a few more. Raja Ampat was simply breathtaking. Several people asked what kind of camera we use- ours is a Canon Powershot D20. It’s just a nice point-n-shoot, not a fancy setup (but I learned that if you’re fancy you probably use “lights”!). But we were lucky to be in Raja Ampat at the best time of year, and enjoy sparkling water clarity.

Our friend Dan took some really spectacular photos. These are a few of my favorites (thank you Dan!). He’s a pro freediver, so was able to get down and hang out with some of the really cool stuff that we didn’t see closer to the surface. Freediving isn’t just about getting down deep- it’s about being able to stay below the surface, and look around for a while. We weren’t in any crazy depths, so the photos are all done with natural light- it’s not super deep. But the difference is that Dan can hang onto his air and take the time to explore when he’s down, and as a result saw some really beautiful things. As these show, his specialty is macro.

First, my favorite: just look at this amazing thing! I can’t remember (and maybe we didn’t know?) for sure if it’s eggs or an anemone. I think the conservation crew saw this and speculated that it was a clutch of cuttlefish eggs. Whatever it is (anyone? Buehler?), it’s gorgeous.

After an expedition underwater, we liked to sit with our field guides and look up the plants and animals we’d seen. This one took some hunting: what we thought was a sponge turned out to be a variety of clam. Makes sense once you know it, but puzzled us at the time.

The variety of anemones was incredible… this is just one variant.

These feathery fans are graceful, but don’t touch, or you’ll be in for a shock! I grazed one by accident, and that was enough to make sure it didn’t happen again. We usually wear stinger suits (for sun protection as much as anything), but the water was so warm here that we were sometimes just in skins.

These beautiful organ pipes stretched up to the sun. This group was covered in worms. To give you a sense of the scale, I believe those worms are as big around as my index finger. Yes, that thing is really big!

A folded crinoid, captured with beautiful delicacy.


11 Responses to More underwater loveliness

  1. Angelica March 25, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    wow amazing under sea life is. very Natural pics.
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  2. Anonymous March 26, 2013 at 2:58 am #

    Do the photos were taken with the canon D20?
    Nicolas desde Galicia, España

    • Behan Gifford March 29, 2013 at 5:14 am #

      Nicolas, these were with Dan’s Olympus Tough. Prior Raja Ampat posts were with my Canon D20.

  3. Deb March 26, 2013 at 4:23 am #

    Can you please talk about the camera you used and if you used a waterproof case can you please mention the type?


    S/V Kintala

    • Behan Gifford March 29, 2013 at 5:10 am #

      Hi Deb- these photos of Dan’s were taken with his Olympus Tough. No case. My photos, prior Raja Ampat posts, were with a Canon D20. Also no case. They are underwater point-n-shoot cameras. Dan makes good use of the macro function and spot metering on his, I haven’t played with ours nearly as much yet!

  4. Carolyn Shearlock - The Boat Galley March 26, 2013 at 5:56 am #

    Oh, I want to be there! I got into underwater photography when we were cruising. I found that wearing some weights (not quite to neutral buoyancy, but almost) really helped me both get to depth and be able to hover. Similar camera — Canon Powershot A710 with the Canon underwater case. BTW, the underwater case is also good if you’re anywhere with lots of sand or dust storms. We had friends totally ruin their camera in a dust storm in Mali, while we just got a sandblasted case (our case didn’t come with a lens cap, but a peanut butter jar lid can be jammed on so that the lens area didn’t get sanded).

    • Behan Gifford March 29, 2013 at 5:12 am #

      That’s really good advice- the case can be great to add extra protection! Plus, you can take them deeper- 10m runs out fast. Even these little point n shoots aren’t THAT rugged.

  5. The Ceol Mors March 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Just stunning photos. You have made me put Indonesia on the bucket list!

    • Behan Gifford March 29, 2013 at 5:18 am #

      Cidnie, we love Indonesia, a big *yes* for your bucket list!

  6. Sarah March 28, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Amazing pics, looks like professional nature photography. Those worms are freaky, took me a second to realize that’s what they were. High Adrenaline Activities across Oz & NZ with FreemanX Extreme

  7. Mark April 27, 2013 at 2:16 am #

    Very nice pics.

    Safe travels,


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