Under the Sea, Grand Cayman

I’m not the bravest person you know. I used to be afraid of fish, reptiles and everything that grows and swims underwater. I made huge progress overcoming my fears to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef in 2011 for a practical reason: I may never get this opportunity again, but I have it now. So, building on my newly developed confidence in the marine world, I snorkeled in the coral reefs of Grand Cayman and took photos with an Olympus TG2 camera with a PT-053 housing. Had I purchased this equipment, it would have cost $690, but thankfully, I was able to rent this equipment for a day from Cathy Church, an accomplished underwater photography on Grand Cayman for just $35. (Cathy is originally from Altoona, PA!) Here is an wide angle photo of the reef, so you can see how busy the landscape is. Without a powerful strobe light, the colors all appear in the blue/green range. To capture the coral and fish in a full range of color, you need to get closer with scuba equipment and lights. This scene reminds me of the words, “hidden pictures.” Can you count the fish? Can you even begin to find a composition?

Hidden pictures: Can you begin to count the fish or name the coral varieties?
Hidden pictures: Can you begin to count the fish or name the coral varieties?

As a snorkeler, I floated on the surface, swimming around with flippers on my feet. I could not keep up with the fastest fish, but I tried to chase a parrot fish until I realized that he swam much faster than I could.

First thing I did on this outing was to recognize and identify the rainbow colored parrot fish and brain coral and elk horn coral. You can see them in these two photos.

Brain coral: looks like a brain!
Brain coral: looks like a brain!
GCM-CathyKelly-1303690parrotLR
Parrot fish. A fast swimmer.

Next I admired this needle fish, close to the surface. The light and color are better close to the water’s surface.

Needle fish. Look at that face!
Needle fish. Look at that face!

It was tricky to compose and focus on the fish as I was bobbing on the surface, and the fish are darting about as well, but I did capture photos of these blue and yellow tropical fish:

Blue tropical fish, another fast swimmer.
Blue tropical fish, another fast swimmer.
Cluster of bright yellow fish by the coral
Cluster of bright yellow fish by the coral

This purple fan coral attracted my attention, as it waved back and forth. It is anchored in sand.

Might this be called "fan coral"?
Might this be called “fan coral”?

And Yikes! Just before the three whistles summoned us back on board the catamaran, this sting ray cruised by. Hello!

Surprised by this sting ray in the reef
Surprised by this sting ray in the reef

I think I’m getting pretty brave now. Perhaps I will get some instruction in scuba, so I can get closer to the undersea world next time, use a strobe and capture even more color.

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email cathykellyphotography@gmail.com to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website: www.cathykellyphotography.com.