There are questions that have no safe answer. Try, “Do I look fat in this dress, honey?” Try to answer, ‘Yes (you are),” or “No (you were, but not now).” Get my drift? I realize that there are a lot of people in my audience who are not attuned to American humor. In fact maybe I don’t have humor at all. Do you see the glass “half empty?” or “half full?”
I shot a moose once. (Yes, it’s obvious. I photographed it.) And someone in the audience asked me if I had really “shot” it. Seriously, he was very impressed (that I shot it)! No, dopey! I don’t shoot animals. I photograph, but I do not shoot. Actually, I shoot whatever is there. Get it? Well, try to understand that I am not working with a full deck and American slang humor can sail right over your head. Sorry.
As long as we are on the subject (vaguely) I was called out by my daughter. “Did you play with the puffer?” Caught! She immediately knew that the puffer was only puffed because I had provoked it. Smart cookie, that kid of mine. I deny that any fish were injured in the making of this photo. However, she contends that I have shortened its life by scaring it. Go figure!
With the very long preamble, I ask, “Do you like your photo portrait with direct or indirect gaze?” Subtle, but definitely different, it’s a matter of choice or taste. For me, I like a direct view straight on. But it’s definitely disconcerting to look straight away into someone’s eyes. It’s much more intimate. Hey! It’s a cat. Lulu’s my cat at the moment I don’t exactly ask her to look at me. I try to get her to look in my general direction and then get my camera into her face. She’s tolerant. She doesn’t get it. But she is occasionally in one place long enough for me to get a couple shots. The portrait is a success based on dead on focus on the eyes. After that composition and the rest are up to you. There are so many bad pics out there. Try harder. And it is affirmative, “a good fish photo has the eye looking toward you!” Mooses too!
The limit for recreational divers is 40 meters or about 120 feet. There is danger in that the nitrogen that dissolves in the blood will cause clouding of mentation. Everything is blue. Red color (light) has long been filtered out. That would mean – getting stupid – in a very bad place. They demonstrate this by asking you to write numbers and letters on a board while at this level. My numbers and penmanship was definitely not too good. I’ve been down here a few times. No ill effects. But I realized that swimming behind my buddy is not a good idea. If I get stupid he’s not watching me. So nowadays I swim along side. So far so good. I might add the water is not that much colder when you are deep.
But for tropical fish it is cold enough to make them lethargic. So we chanced upon this puffer and he reluctantly moved off as we approached. At 120 feet we calculate about 9 minutes of safe time to be at this depth. The fish have no timer. How do they know when to go up? I’ve been told it is quieter at this depth. I just see it as too blue and not too colorful for images unless you have a strobe. Good thing I have a strobe now. …it’s more fun.
Without any guilt I freely admit I am not a fisherman. This is in contrast to my brother John who was an avid fisherman. He’d buy one new rod every season and catch a fish to initiate it. But…Farid and I were on a dive. I had made him a gift of a dive stick. The instructors use them to point.
Last week I almost grabbed one but chickened out at the last second. Today I was bold. Those spikes are sharp! So I grabbed the tail. It worked and the puffer puffed. It’s not air, in case you wonder. It is water that fills up from somewhere inside to discourage other fish from making a meal. As soon as it’s puffed it is no longer aerodynamic and it can’t swim away with any speed. So I tried to position it with Farid in the picture but he couldn’t get with the program.
We did release it after I got my shots. And please don’t tell the family I was out annoying the wildlife, please, please.
There were several out and about on the floor of the sea that night we dove. When I found this guy and the next, they didn’t swim away from me. They just sort of stood there… ok, lay there. Later on I figured it out. Anytime any of my dive companions shined their flashlight in my face, the bright light was all I could see. I couldn’t see the diver behind the light. So it works that way for the fish. The light beam blinds them and they stay still because they don’t sense a threat. As a result I got to shoot in macro right up close. Even the camera flash didn’t not cause them to stir much. It’s a neat observation. But, there aren’t too many fish out at night. I was really struggling to keep the camera and the flashlight in sync. It’s kind of like getting dressed in the dark. You need to be familiar with the buttons and settings, because they don’t glow in the dark to help you see your way.