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Under the Sea in Southeast Asia

March 9, 2023

Under the Sea in Southeast Asia

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Gwen Cruz Gwen Cruz

Ever since I first learned to dive, I’ve been taking a camera with me underwater. My pictures were not anything great at first, a blurry fish or a blue seascape. After all, I was only using a small compact waterproof camera.

In 2016, I traveled for the first time to Southeast Asia and was in awe at the biodiversity on the reefs there; being surrounded by large schools of fish felt like swimming in an aquarium. I took this one photo of a blue sea anemone with a family of clownfish inside. When I got back to view it on my computer, I was really impressed at how it turned out. After that, I strove to find more photo opportunities while diving and to improve my underwater photography skills.

Last spring, I found an opportunity to attend an underwater photography workshop in the Philippines. The dive sites were much different than the colorful reefs and vast schools of fish elsewhere in my travels. This was muck diving – sandy bottoms and rubble areas where a variety of interesting critters live. Octopus, cuttlefish, nudibranchs, and seahorses were all fascinating and charismatic subjects. I still have my same camera, but I upgraded my equipment to include strobes, a focus light, and a snoot. I learned all about camera angles, strobe positions, and patience to wait for the critters to be comfortable with my presence.

My photos have come a long way though I still have a lot to learn and will continue working on my skills.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate Women’s History Month, Wild View is featuring posts by and about women and their contributions to science and conservation throughout March.

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