3 AugCayman Islands, Fish, Great Barracuda, Hawksbill Turtle, Lea Lea's Lookout, Lettuce Sea Slug, Little Cayman, Nassau Grouper, Nature Photography, Nudibranch, Photography, Queen Triggerfish, Turtles, Underwater Photography / Scuba Diving | No Comment
This was our second day diving off Little Cayman and I was really enjoying it immensely. My warm water diving over the last number of years has been in the Bahamas and the visibility is definitely better in the Caymans than in the Bahamas. We started our dive with a wall dive at Lea Lea’s Lookout. It is a beautiful dive and I was shooting wide angle with my Tokina 10-17 lens. I found some great barrel and tube sponges and spent some time trying to find a combination of flash exposure and background color that I really liked. For those of you who are underwater photographers, the following applies when you are shooting with strobes. The lens opening should be chosen based on the intensity of your strobes and the distance that you are from your main subject and shutter speed should be used to lighten or darken the background. The duration of a strobe flash is usually between 1/200 and 1/1000th of a second and therefore is not affected by shutter speeds used in flash photography. Most digital cameras will not allow you to use a shutter speed faster than 1/250th of a second with a strobe although there are a few that will allow slightly faster shutter speeds. So if you are shooting wide angle and you want a darker background color, increase the shutter speed. If you want a lighter background, decrease the shutter speed.
Warren and Robin Reed and I cruised along the wall. Robin and I were both shooting wide angle. We happened upon a hawksbill turtle munching away on a sponge.
Robin and I spent a lot of time taking photos of the turtle. This makes the 2nd day in a row that we have seen a turtle. We saw a couple during the day yesterday and one on last night’s night dive. Visibility on this dive approached 100’ and I had 50 minutes of bottom time.
We returned to the boat for a Nitrox refill, to download our memory cards, change batteries and have a delicious snack provided by Kimberly. The surface interval seemed to fly by and we were in the water once again. Robin and I changed to our Sigma 28-80 lenses after we were told that this was a great place to photograph lettuce sea slugs.
We stayed much shallower on this dive with a max depth of 63’ and a bottom time of one hour and ten minutes. We happened upon another hawksbill turtle and did our best to capture it digitally. We did find the lettuce sea slugs and another of those friendly Nassau groupers. It turned out to be a great dive.
Lunchtime was always great on the Cayman Aggressor IV. Kimberly made a different soup everyday and each one was a treat. I wasn’t sure that I would like soup when the temperature is in the 80’s but Kimberly made me a believer. Captain Allan moved the boat during lunch to another wall on Little Cayman.
Our first dive was at 3 Fathom Wall. I decided to leave my Sigma 28-80 lens on my camera and it was a good choice. As we swam along the mini-wall, we found some more of those Oh so friendly Nassau groupers. Robin found a peacock flounder and we took turns photographing it. I found another queen triggerfish. I have tried to get some good photos of them in the Bahamas without much luck. They seemed much more friendly and approachable in the Caymans.
And there is my great barracuda story. A few years ago while diving in South Carolina, I found a great barracuda that let me get within a foot of it and take some scary looking close-ups. Since then, I have looked for another one that would allow me that close and I found a friend on 3 Fathom Wall off Little Cayman. I probably was within 6” of his mouth and it didn’t flinch while I took photos. Robin came over and started taking pictures but she wouldn’t get closer than about two feet from the barracuda. I kept signaling for her to get closer but it wasn’t happening. To finish off this dive, we encountered yet another hawksbill turtle. Does it get better than this?
One our second dive of the afternoon, I found a porcupinefish at the top of the wall and shot a series of shots of it. When I caught up to Robin, she was with another hawksbill turtle. We were two happy photographers by the end of the dive. There was a night dive scheduled but we decided to have a glass of wine with dinner and relax for the rest of the evening. Our next stop was going to be the Russian Destroyer 356 MV Captain Keith Tibbetts on Cayman Brac.
Today’s crew member is Lauren. She is from New Zealand and is a bundle of energy. She was the photo pro for the week and we all marveled at how good she is in the water. Like the other members of the crew, she was always trying to make our trip enjoyable. Veronica thought that she was one of the most motivated people that she has ever met.
Our passengers of the days are Sally and Phil from Pennsylvania. Sally is an aspiring underwater photographer who is making a transition to a single lens reflex system. She is looking at a Nikon camera and is exploring the vast housing market for the housing that is right for her.
Sally had the opportunity to rent an Aquatica housing with a Nikon D80 in it. She also received feedback from those of us who had different types of housings. We had Ikelite, Aquatica and Subal housings on the trip. Sally and Phil received an award at the end of the trip for their excellent direction finding.
If you would like to see more of my photos from the trip, please go to my Photo Gallery. To see all the photos taken while on the Cayman Aggressor, type Cayman Aggressor in the search box at the bottom left hand side of my Photo Gallery main page. Leave the box to the right at “All Categories” or select a category such as “Fish” or “Turtle” to see only those photos.