Finally! I get to do a lot of diving that isn't from a cattle boat.
In fact, I towed my own boat from Illinois just so I could dive
where and when I wanted to. Man was that sweet! I hope to be able
to do this again in the near future. Sitting back after the fact
I'm kind of annoyed with myself for not taking more photos of my
boat being in the ocean. All I got was this one photo -
But hey, at least I got that much - the prop and aft of ole Mental
Floss just off the coast of Islamorada. One less thing to scratch
off my list :)
This tripped marked my first dives with my Nikon 5700 digital camera
with Ikelite housing. For the most part, the pictures turned out
well. I am still missing the strobes I plan to add to this package,
but I stayed shallow for most my diving, anyway, so lighting wasn't
an issue. Still, macro strobes would have helped immensely on photos
like this one -
Still a good photo, but just missing the proper coloration. I'm
sure I could adjust colors in Photo Shop to make it appear as I
had better lighting, but I both don't like the idea of editing my
images as well as I'm not proficient in the use of Photo Shop so
it would take me hours to break the learning curve.
This photo represents my first run-in with a Green Moray. It's
a horrible photo, but the only one I got. Typical for Florida Keys
Morays, this guy came out for a closer inspection of *me.* I panicked
and fled. You would, too, if it were your first time seeing a Green
moray in the wild and the sucker came right out to greet you!
So I worked around the lighting issue as best I could and was rewarded
with several really nice shots thanks to natural sunlight. This
Cocoa Damsel, Stegastes variabilis, framed himself nicely for me
and thus I was thankful enough to post it here. This is the juvenile
color phase, while the adults are almost entirely chocolate colored
(hence their name).
Christmas Tree worms were very plentiful in the Keys, and seeing
as they were easy to photograph, I made them the subject of many
images. Sometimes I would find them as solitary individual on large
moon corals -
But other times I would stumble across them in large groups. Regardless,
the coloration was highly variable -
Check out these stinging hairs, called Nematocysts, found upon
the Caribbean Fire Corals. Normally these guys are hard to see with
the human eye, but my macro lens captured them well enough to make
them just barely visible. These micro-fine hairs are what cause
the excruciating pain and welts resulting from brushing into Fire
I think this may be one of my all-time favorite photos regardless
of how many more times I have the chance to do underwater photography.
It is called the Stoplight Parrotfish aka Sparisoma viride, and
is seen here in the Terminal Phase for males.
To give you an idea of how different the Terminal Phase male is
different from the Initial Phase female, here is a nice close-up
of the female color variation.
Everybody loves a Puffer fish, and this Diodon holocanthus, referred
to as a Balloonfish amongst divers, gave us a good view of their
The Florida Keys fish were overall very friendly, with few exceptions,
which made photography a bit easier. Additionally, the Keys experience
very little current on the shallow reefs which makes diving as easy
as swimming in a pool. Both factors contributed to getting close
to normally shy Butterfly fish, like this adult Foureye aka Chaetodon
This little guy was pretty cool, too.
Queen Angels were almost always present on a dive.
Overall I had a great time photographing the reef off of Islamorada.
I was able to capture many images which I will be proud of for years
to come. To see all the images from this underwater excursion, nearly
200 in all, please
view this link.
To check out the story and photos from the top-side of the Keys,
please click over
to this page.
Top of Page