It’s rare when a plan comes together, but when the outcome of your efforts equals your intentions then you can feel pleased that it’s a job well done.
Even if serendipity is heavily involved in the process, as it most definitely was for my split shot pictured here.
My intention was to get a shot of our boat whilst the rib guy and the skipper were working together to get it successfully moored.
This has been a long form project of mine for a while now, and I say long form as I wasn’t expecting all the elements of a shot like this to fall into place just like that.
And I had no idea that the opportunity to shoot this picture would present itself as I entered the water at the start of this dive.
I wanted an end result that had equal parts reef, boats and sky, with ample separation between the elements so as to make a pleasing composition.
This needed a pretty bit of reef, check. A boat positioned just so and juxtaposed with the rib, check. And a time of the day so I wasn’t shooting directly into the sun,check.
We were moored at Ras El Erg at the very end of my most recent Red Sea Relaxed trip.
Fast becoming a popular alternative to the usual Wrecks and Reefs itinerary, for a Northern Red Sea trip.
We’ve bookended the trip with Ras El Erg as I’ve had uncommon luck with dolphins here, as even though it’s alternate name is Dolphin House, with wild animals you have no guarantees.
My previous six visits to this spot had delivered amazing dolphin encounters as our cetaceans friends spun and whirled about us, and earlier in the week on our check dive was no exception with a visitation by these playful beasts already in the bag, so as trip leader I didn’t feel under any obligation to deliver.
Check here for a June encounter we got on the guides GoPro
I know I shouldn’t feel pressured to guarantee sightings, but I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t want our guests to see these things. Dolphin encounters early on really do raise the mood of a boatful of people, so you do feel happier when this has occurred.
A shot in the light
So back to the shot in hand.
As you’re no doubt aware the boat is rarely moving around when you’re on the dive, but very occasionally for reasons of safety if the wind changes and the skipper is assured that there is no one under the boat, they have to up sticks and move the boat to a position where the boat isn’t going to get pushed onto the reef by the change of wind.
I was diving solo, an option on Tornado Marine boats if suitably qualified and insured on a Red Sea Relaxed trip at certain sites.
And I had already decided that I wanted to shoot some available light stuff up near the surface, so was aware when the rib guy came and detached from the mooring point in the reef, where I happened to find myself.
I quickly realised that here was the best chance I’d have in ages to get a shot of reef, boat and rib, juxtaposed in compositional harmony like this.
So I stayed put as I was near the surface and could see the reef as looking good.
Conditions were relatively chop free so even with my minidome I was able to get a reasonably straight line across the picture.
Not always possible and if not don’t worry shoot anyways as sometimes a bendy split can look great.
Ducks in a row
So I waited for things to line up, as I knew the rib guy at some point would be roughly where I envisaged, alongside our boat.
For safety’s sake I’d spoken to him and signalled to the skipper I was aware of him and the rib, thankfully my basic Arabic is up to the task. I didn’t want to be a hazard to him or the rib.
And I am closer than I look here as I’m shooting with a fisheye lens.
The sun was quite high in the sky so there was enough light to get a reasonable aperture and shutter speed to keep everything in focus and blur free.
So after a few minutes of shooting I was happy I’d got something, of course you never really know until you get a look on the computer screen, but it might be awhile before a situation presents itself like this again, so if in doubt keep shooting whilst you can.
I know I could have probably arranged for a skipper and rib driver to pose for me and setup a shot scenario like this, but they work hard enough as it is before I start placing extra demands on them.
And where’s the fun in that? I love it when the photography doesn’t feel forced and staged too much.
So whilst this was planned in a way, it wasn’t on the cards imminently, more a sort of thing that was on the back burner stored away for the future.
I guess with the unpredictable nature of underwater photography this is something I find doing a lot. Having ideas and not being able to realise them until all the various factors are aligned like ducks, or more apt in this instance, boats in a row.
If you’d like to join me for a lovely stress free itinerary, camera or not, no problem.
My Red Sea Relaxed and Winter Warmer itineraries are the perfect opportunity for some easy diving with minimal rib entries, a flexible timetable and me on hand dispensing all sorts of advice, hints and tips, from the more obvious photo help, to guidance on diving and even a bit of simple marine biology to help you understand the environment in a fun and easy going manner.
I do talks during the week, for all including photography and photo editing, fascinating fish behaviour, and improving your dive skills.
So whether or not you’re a seasoned diver or an absolute beginner these trips have been fruitful for all.
So get onboard and see what folk are talking about it’d be great to have you along.
Check out what others have said about them in the links below.