Squid are ubiquitous in every ocean. On the reef, they are seldom seen alone. Usually, divers and snorkelers will notice a line stretching down the reef — squid all arranged facing the same direction, moving easily along the contour of the bottom. Divers seeking to approach the squid quickly find themselves outmatched; the squid can easily stay out of reach and beyond effective photography range.
Probably the first sea life I saw on my first dive as a PADI divemaster candidate here at St. Elsewhere was just such a line of squid. As I dropped easily from the surface, the squid stretched below me in a line that extended to the limits of visibility in both directions. As my group reached their depth near the bottom, they easily accelerated and were gone.
At night, the situation can be different. Reef squid are sometimes found alone (or perhaps, the diver does not notice the whole line as we might in daylight). Creatures including squid try to avoid too much movement in the dark and can become confused in a diver’s bright lights. Diving in the Lembeh Strait, I began using a Sola focus light from Light and Motion; on its red setting, the light seemed not to alarm the creatures too much. My strobes would temporarily illuminate them, then plunge the world into apparent darkness (where they would be safe). I could still see and focus using the Sola’s red focus light, but that light was much less intense and so less noticeable to my marine subjects. Using that light, the problem became one of adjusting strobes to minimize reflection from the inevitable small particles always suspended in seawater (called “backscatter”).
I have had much less opportunity to attempt photography as a PADI divemaster candidate here in St. Elsewhere. But I am enjoying the scenery and the history surrounding this picturesque small island immensely. Here’s a shot taken just off the pier at St. Elsewhere, near the calm, flat space we have been using to practice and demonstrate dive skill requirements. (Due to bandwidth constraints, this image can’t make it to RickCollierImagery.com until we return. In the meantime, I have posted about it on Nancy’s travel experience blog, “A Shore Dive Kinda Life.” Check it out!)
“Sunken Defenses, American History“
(Top photo [“Reef Squid”]: Night shot with Canon G11 in Ikelite case with twin Ikelite DS125 strobes; integrated lens at 8.1mm, ISO 80, f/5.6 at 1/60 sec.)
(Bottom photo [“Sunken Defenses…”]: Canon G12 in Ikelite case; available light only [no strobes]; integrated lens at 6.1mm, ISO 200, f/3.5 at 1/100 sec.)