Afternoon Watercolours

There is nothing quite like a late afternoon dive in the middle of summer, when the seas are oily calm and the boat is safely anchored for the night. We were at one of the most colourful reefs I know of on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef, where the pristine hard coral gardens stretched in either direction for as far as I could see. The sun was low on the horizon casting a luminous glow at an angle across the shallow reef top, igniting the corals with colour not often seen with the naked eye underwater. I turned off my strobes and sought to capture this glorious scene in its natural light.

As light filters through the water column, colour is systematically absorbed giving the reef a blue hue. In underwater photography, artificial lights in the form of high-powered strobes are generally used to bring back the colour on film. On rare occasions, when all the elements of light, depth and colour come together, there is an opportunity to capture the natural essence of the reef on film, which is seldom replicated with the use of artificial lighting. This particular afternoon provided one of those unique and special occasions.

Photography by Kimberley Payard
Nikonis 5, 15mm
F11 @ 1/60
Fuji Velvia

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