Underwater Photography

Maldives – Clownfish Circus

Clownfish (or Nemo’s for most people) are a very popular fish that can be found in colder waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. Clownfish from different areas all have different characteristics.

They reside in anemones and have a symbiotic relationship to them; they protect and clean the anemones from parasites and algaes, in return the anemone provides shelter from predators and strong currents.

Did you know that clownfish are able to change from male to female gender? It’s a good thing Disney didn’t put this in the movies, otherwise it would’ve had a very different ending… 😉

Clownfish are very nice photo subjects, they are funny to see and can be extremely slow or extremely agile. The quicker ones can be difficult to photograph. The more reason to be happy with these pictures. Enjoy them, and feel free to leave a comment.

Netherlands – Dutch derps

A few weeks ago we went to a divesite in the Vinkeveen lakes. The divesite is called ‘Zandeiland 4’ and is very popular among Dutch divers.

Every weekend the parking lot is packed with divers – come too late and you don’t have a place to park your car. Once the car has been crammed into its spot, it’s time to unload your stuff – some divers, like us, only bring their diving equipment. Other divers bring along a small camping; party tents, barbecues, chairs, loungers… It’s always fun to look at.

Down underwater it.. was.. COLD. The surface was a comfortable 21°C but once you were underwater for 6 or 7 meters the halocline said hello. Under there the temperature dropped to a chilling 11°C. And when you’re in a wetsuit, that’s not very comfortable. Look around quickly for somethins nice to photograph… no… O.K. back up a few meters.

Luckily, during the second dive, we found a lobster in its little cavern waiting for us. I decided to play around with it for a while, dropping a small clam just before it. Everytime I did that, he pushed it away. It was very funny to see and it felt a bit like playing fetch with a dog.

So down below are some pictures from these two dives, enjoy them and please let me know what you think! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram as well.

Maldives – Patterns

There are two subjects in underwater photography that attract me the most; eyes and patterns. This week I’d like to treat you guys with a bit more variation in one blog, so I’ve selected a few lovely patterns found on the Maldives!

Enjoy the pictures and feel free to leave a comment.

More information can be found underneath the pictures (scroll down a little bit).

Some species of nudibranches (the slugs) have beautiful patterns. They all have little ‘antlers’ on top of their head, sometimes they’re like plums and some look like screws on top of their head. Anyhow, nudies – once spotted – are extremely rewarding to photograph. For the rusty one I had to hover upside-down alongside a wreck in order to get a nice composition.

Honeycomb morays have a… honeycomb-like pattern all along their bodies. This allows them to hide well inside vibrant reefs and also make great photography subjects.

Lionfish (or devilfish) have a zebra-like pattern over their body. Their stripes continue flawlessly in their fins, venomspikes and eyes. Stunning!

The small duckface-fish is a saddleback puffer. They’re incredibly agile so you could imagine I was extremely happy finding at least one good picture of it. Their pattern reminds me of giraffes and they have these incredibly blue stripes coming out of their eyes.

Whoever thinks seastars are boring – think again! Some species are ‘flat’ to look at, while other species, like the one in this gallery, have spots and speckles all over their bodies. Once in a while you can find a lonely arm swaying along the bottom of the ocean. Hopefully it’ll regrow 😉

Next up we have a really freaky thing; the sea cucumber. They are basically a crawling intestine with spikes and hand-like things, eating and pooping sand. And that’s.. all there is to say. However if you look closely you have to admit they’ve got a beautiful skin.

And last but not least – a close-up of the inside of a clam. I’m still not sure what kind of clam this is – but it sure is beautiful!

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Kuredu – heaven for turtle fans

During almost every dive in the Maldive’s we’ve encountered one or more turtles. Kuredu, the island we were during our holiday, has a lush seagrass garden and homes a lagoon – in which juvenile sea creatures reside.

The seagrass planes are beautiful to look at, under water as well as above. Above water it results in amazing shades of blue when you look over the ocean. Especially when you’re in the seaplane this is stunning. Underwater, you’re surrounded by A LOT of animals when you’re around the seagrass; Napoleons, turtles, sharks, blennies, rays, morays… We wish we had a pair of extra eyes on us!

This part of the ocean is not very deep – the deepest is about 4,5 meters, making it an excellent post-safety-stop area. The turtles use these areas to feed and regurarly come up to the surface for air. These moments make the best pictures. I’ve selected a few for this gallery.

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Maldives – Cute Critters

In this blog I’d like to take you with me to the cute critters living in the Maldives. As I’ve said before, the Maldives are known not only for the pelagic fish (i.e. whalesharks and manta rays) but also for the abundant macro life. And that makes the Maldives an amazing place to dive (and shoot pictures… loaaads of pictures).

The fun thing about cute critters… you never know if their picture is going to be cute at the moment you make it. Some critters have a high cute factor, of course. But sometimes you expect something to appear in the screen that will make you melt immediately, and it turns out.. not like that.  It turns out cute or not. The other way around works as well; you expect to look at a Godzilla-like creature and turn out to get a Furby. Surprise surprise!

Enjoy the pictures, feel free to leave a comment! See you next week!

Maldives – Moray Mania

One of the reasons the Maldives are AWESOME is the abundance and variety of moray eel species. They appear in different colours, patterns and sizes and, no matter how they look, they’re amazing to capture. Moray eels can be dangerous, but if you approach them calmly and don’t try to poke them in the eye they’re very social creatures. I’ll slap your face too if you poke me… they bite.

IF you get bitten by one the wounds are comparible to puncture wounds and tend to bleed a lot. They’re not immediately deadly but the wound needs to be treated to prevent too much bloodloss and/or infections.

Moray eels have a second pair of jaws hidden in their neck, if you look closely at one of the ‘open wide’-pictures below you can actually see them – along with some leftovers from his last meal. Yummy. When hunting, the eels use this pair of jaws to keep hold of their pray and to reel them in. Gladly we’re not in the same foodchain…

So that was the small biology lesson for today! 🙂 Enjoy the pictures and feel free to leave a comment.

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Maldives – Muckie day

The Maldives give a great variation of underwater photography objects. You can encounter them all – huge pelagic fish like whalesharks and manta rays, but also a lot of cute muckies. Whenever I spot something tiny or a beautiful pattern while underwater, my air consumption peaks a little.

In this blog you’ll find a close-up of a seaturtle’s seashell. They look as if some Maori or Tribal pattern was covered in rust, and then someone scraped half of the dust away. I could hold on to a turtle to look at this for a full day and still be amazed.
You’ll also see a Blenny on the lookout, a blue Maxima shell, a very curious boxfish (speedy little thing), a posing mantis shrimp, a firefin goby (even speedier little thing), a nudibranch which I found on the side of the local shipwreck and one of my favourites; a close-up of a juvenile lionfish.

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Enjoy the pictures!

Maldives – Part 1

Just 2 days ago we arrived back home from our dream holiday; the Maldives! White beaches, crystal clear waters, waving palm trees… And an absolutely wonderful underwater world. Special thanks to ProDivers for making these dives happen!

I’ve made so many pictures I’m going to add them in smaller groups this time.

Part 1
Here you see a porcelain shrimp, two eagle rays, a turtle, a beautifully posing mantis shrimp, a sea urchin, a small peaking fish, a lionfish and a baby yellow-mouth moray eel.

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Enjoy the pictures!

TODI – Portrait day

Last weekend, we went to the Belgian Ardennes to enjoy some forest air and kayaking. We stayed in a lovely little bungalow for three days and on our way back we swung by … drum roll… TODI! =D

Today I wanted to experiment a bit with my flash-strobe and fish-face portraits. Sadly one the puffers was a little bit cranky and decided to nibble on my finger! TBH it didn’t hurt at all and it was kind of funny. But you bit me, you little a-hole. So in return I didn’t give them a lot of attention after that.

But good for you little buddy, defend your home from those pesky divers!

Spring is in the water at TODI

The last time we visited TODI my ear didn’t equalize well, with a nasty ear infection as a result. For a few weeks my hearing and balance was disturbed, which was a real nuisance. Luckily, my ear wasn’t damaged and everything healed perfectly!

With everything functioning as it should, Mark took a day off from work and we went to TODI on a weekday (wednesday’s my day off, yay!) to say hi to the fishes.

After waddling through traffic we plunged in and almost immediately our little puffy friends wiggled up to me! I don’t know if it was my new devil-horned cap or if they just like me, but all puffers followed me around all 76 minutes of our dive. I like you too, buddies! 🙂

A lot of fish were guarding the eggs, so I didn’t disturb them for too long. I shoo’d a little brat who thought it was funny to scrape off the eggs from a rock with his fins. So I scored a little karma on the way, too.

Anyway, enjoy the photos from this dive and feel free to leave a comment!