Fishies and phoneography

First off, a big WHOOHOO!!! for being included in The Daily Post’s phoneography favorites for March! The staff chose my “My Neighborhood” post to include in the roundup of their favorite entries. It always feel good to be recognized πŸ™‚

Second: one good thing about working in an island resort is that the water is only a couple of meters away πŸ™‚ Beat the summer heat this afternoon by diving our house reef. I used having to download my water temperature sensor data as an excuse. Heehee. That and I volunteered to take photos of one of our guests doing his Bubblemaker course πŸ™‚ Aside from taking pictures of a 9-year-old during his first scuba experience, I also got to take some pretty good pictures of our resident bigeye scad (Selar crumenopthalmus). Swimming through a school of fish who totally ignored my presence was a surreal experience. I tried moving away so that I could take better wide-angle photos but nothing doing. The water was just too shallow and the school was just too big!

Fish in the light
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Window through the darkness
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Just might become one of my all-time favorite photos.
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I said on Facebook that I wish I had extra-clear water for that perfect shot. Jayvee said that the water was already pretty clear. It was pretty clear but you could still see some backscatter. He said I should get strobes. I said he should give me the money for them πŸ˜›

Along the wall


I prefer taking landscape photos instead of wall photos but hey, if the view is nice, anything goes πŸ™‚ Thank you Sir Bobbit for being an excellent model!

Lagen Wall, Lagen Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines.

Dive El Nido (part 2)

Also known as Entry to Ailsa’s “Oceans” Challenge Part 2. Here are three more photos from the past week of diving we did. I can finally sleep now!

The classic shot of the South Miniloc dive site in El Nido. “South Mini” is known for the field of foliose Turbinaria corals (AKA cabbage corals) and the school of yellow-lined snapper (Lutjanus lutjanus) hovering over it.
The yellow-lined snapper (Lutjanus lutjanus). They’re the main stars of South Mini. I wanted to change the white balance of this photo but unfortunately, the dial on my camera housing wasn’t working πŸ™
Edu picked up a friend during the dive! This little golden trevally (Gnathanodon speciosus) followed us from 20 meters depth all the way back to the boat!

Hawksbill sea turtle in El Nido!

Today’s post was going to be one long entry for Ailsa’s “Oceans” photo challenge in honor of World Oceans Day. However, it’s going to take me some time to sort through my favorite photos taken during the past week so I figured I’d be better off making it a series of posts instead πŸ™‚ Presenting the super friendly hawksbill sea turtle I met this morning in Abdeens Reef!

Diving. It’s awesome πŸ˜€

More photos will be up by tomorrow! (I hope. Haha.)

Dive El Nido (part 1)

So. The reason behind the lack of decent posts for the past week is because I’ve been accompanying an underwater videographer during his dives here in El Nido. It may not look it but diving three times a day is exhausting, made especially so by strong currents in the dive sites. The upside? I took some pretty nice photos, I think πŸ™‚

A feather star! Those arm tips are really sticky so don’t get too close.
I swapped out MSI’s tide gauge and temperature sensor and replaced it with my own temperature and light sensor. I programmed the sensor to record the water temperature every 15 minutes.
A sea cucumber! My former college professor (he’s now with the National University of Singapore) tentatively identified it as Bohadschia graeffei.

More photos to come!

El Nido’s underwater denizens

I returned to full-time work in El Nido, Palawan last September 18. Much thanks to my boss who let me fly out the day after my birthday πŸ™‚

I’m slowly returning to the swing of things, considering that I’ve been away for three years now. It doesn’t help that I don’t recognize most of the staff, which is especially embarrassing since everyone seems to know who I am *blushes*. So yes, I need to learn everyone’s names ASAP.

One of the bright spots is that I’ve already gone diving twice with my handy-dandy Canon S95 camera in its Ikelite underwater housing and got some decent shots despite the limitations of not-so-good visibility and lack of strobe. Just a reminder: despite what the gearheads say, you do not need fancy underwater camera gear in order to take great photos. The trick is to know what your camera can do and to work with (not against!) those limitations. If it doesn’t do well in low light, then focus on taking photos in shallow water. Take a white slate with you for on-the-spot white balance correction so that you don’t rely on the camera’s “Underwater” setting. Limited flash range? Take macro photos! Again, it’s all about making the most of what you have and not moaning about what you don’t.

And now, presenting El Nido’s quirky underwater denizens!

Disclaimer: since I’m studying to become a marine biologist specializing in coral reef ecology, what I find interesting may be somewhat different from other people πŸ˜›

[slideshow]

Yes, that is a hawksbill sea turtle. And it was feeding. And I got HD video too. YEAAH! πŸ˜€ For the curious ones, the red spots are caused by the water having lots of suspended particles. This was one of the times it would have been great to have a separate strobe but hey, I’m not angsting about it πŸ™‚