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Marine Life & Conservation

Photo Gallery: Grey Seals

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The third feature in our new Gallery series where we let the photos tell the story… This week, Nick and Caroline turn on the cute factor with a look at Grey Seals.

The Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) are a large seal species that lives all around the UK coastline. In fact, over half of the worlds populations calls these waters home. Some colonies have become meccas for diving, like Lundy, The Farne Islands and Puffin Island (North Wales), as the young seals sometimes show a keen interest in diving groups and will come up, pull on fins and even pose for a selfie. It is an incredible experience and once we try to make sure we do at least once a year.

The key to success with close encounters, and therefore, great photo opportunities, is to act cool! Do not chase after the seals, as they will just zoom off into the kelp. If you wait near a gully, or near the surface where they haul out of the water, soon the younger, paler, smaller seals will be too curious and have to come and take a closer look at you. With a bit of patience, you can soon be playing tug of war with your camera, having your camera housing “mouthed” and your fins pulled. This is the time to head up to the shallows and get some natural light shining on your subject and keep shooting until your fingers are too cold to shoot anymore. There are very few dives anywhere in the world where you can have this much fun!

For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Image 1: Seal Selfie
Caroline waits for a curious young seal to come up and investigate her and then tries for a selfie. As the dives are shallow you have lots of time to try out new shots. Farne Islands. Nikon D7100, Tokina 10-17mm lens, Nauticam Housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/9; 1/160; ISO 640.

 

Image 2: Please don’t leave me!
A grey seal hangs on to Nick’s leg as if to try to stop him heading back to the boat at the end of the dive. Notice the cheeky nibble it is having on Nick’s drysuit! Farne Islands. Nikon D700, 16mm lens, Sealux Housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/16; 1/160; ISO 400.

 

Image 3:  A very young seal is surprised to come across us and puts on the brakes. The visibility was dreadful on this dive, but it was still huge fun. Puffin Island. Nikon D200, Tokinal 10-17mm lens, Subal housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/11; 1/160, ISO 500.

 

Image 4: Give us a kiss!
A diver on our group underwater photography trip makes a special friend. This seal spent the whole 90min dive with this one diver, giving us photographers a perfect subject. Farne Islands. Nikon D7100, Tokina 10-17mm lens, Nauticam housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/9; 1/160; ISO 640.

 

Image 5: Whiskers
A curious seal comes right up to the camera lens and seems to gaze at its reflection. The white whiskers standing out against a dark sea made it a good image to try a conversion to black and white. Farne Islands. Nikon D700, 16mm lens, Sealux housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/11; 1/160;        ISO 400.

 

Image 6: It was this big…
If you are patient and stay still in the water, the seals will come in close and put on a display. Their fins will come out wide as they stall and turn in the water. I always like shots that have the surface of the water included. Farne Islands. Nikon D200, Tokina 10-17mm lens, Subal housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/8; 1/250; ISO 400.

 

Image 7: Photobomb!
A grey seal pops into the shot just as Nick presses the shutter button. Got to love the cheeky (and toothy) grin. We had lots of fun on this dive. Farne Islands. Canon EOS 6D, 15mm lens, INON housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/10; 1/125; ISO 320.

 

Image 8:  Caroline plays with a seal and ends up face to face for a close-up shot. Farne Islands.
Nikon D800, 16mm lens, Nauticam Housing, INON Z-240 strobes; f/11; 1/125; ISO 640.

If you plan to photograph seals then remember, they are fast moving so you need to have a fairly quick shutter speed. As we shoot them in the UK, sometimes it can be in poor visibility or in darker waters, so set the ISO up a bit and your strobes down a bit. As we always shoot them with fisheye lenses we tend to have our aperture set in the f/8 to f/16 range to give a good depth of field.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Video Series: The CCMI Reef Lectures – Part 3 (Watch Video)

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Introduced by Jeff Goodman

Never before since human beings have had major influence over our earths climate and environments, have we come to so close to the brink of global disaster for our seas and marine life. We need to act now if we are not going to crash headlong into irreversible scenarios.

A good start to this is understanding how the marine environment works and what it means to our own continued survival. We can only do this by listening and talking to those with the experience and knowledge to guide us in the right direction.

CCMI (Central Caribbean Marine Institute) are hosting an annual Reef Lecture series that is open to the general public and Scubaverse will be sharing those lectures over the coming months.


Part 3: Coral Health: from microbes to branches – Dr. Anya Brown

Healthy corals are critical for sustaining reefs. Corals are in a tightly coupled relationship between bacteria (like in your gut!), microscopic algae, and the coral animal itself. This seminar, presented by collaborative scientist Dr. Anya Brown, focused on trade-offs between types of coral growth, a coral disease outbreak, and what clues the microbes on corals tell us about their health.

Dr. Anya Brown is currently in the Ewel Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Florida.


For more information about the CCMI click here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

White Shark Interest Group Podcast #007 – with ROB LAWRENCE

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Seventh in an exciting podcast series from Ricardo Lacombe of the White Shark Interest Group.

Episode 7 of the White Shark Interest Group Podcast, Facebook’s’ largest White Shark specific group, covering science, conservation, news, photography, video and debate.

This episode features Ricardo and Dirk speaking with the White Shark pioneer Rob Lawrence – the man who practically put False Bay, South Africa on the map for White Shark breaching behaviour.

If you have ever seen an image from South Africa of a white shark breaching from the water, be it on Airjaws, Nat Geo, BBC, Shark Week, or any photographs online and in books, you have Rob Lawrence to thank. He has worked behind the scenes with all those film crews and photographers to get them to where those sharks are, on a regular basis.

With his highly successful company African Shark Eco-Charters he has worked with hundreds of thousands of people to visit and dive with Great Whites and see the natural predation behaviour that False Bay is famous for. He has, without a doubt, been to Seal Island, False Bay, more than ANY other human being alive! He is here to share his experiences and knowledge – including the much talked about topic of where the White Sharks may have gone in the last couple of years.

This is a MUST LISTEN podcast and a rare chance to spend an hour in the company of a true pioneer and advocate in the shark world.

Click the links below to listen to the podcast series on the following audio channels:


Join the group: www.facebook.com/groups/whitesharkinterestgroup/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/whiteshark_interestgroup/

Website: www.whitesharkinterestgroup.com

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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