3rd Place Macro Ocean Art 2016 Lazaro Ruda
3rd Place Macro
Lazaro won a $500 gift certificate from Ikelite
The story: Even after 25 years, diving in West Palm Beach, Florida can still reward me with new and unique encounters. But nowhere is this most likely than during my weekly Black Water drift dives with Walker’s Dive Charters and Pura Vida Divers. Going out at night into the Gulf Stream, I drift untethered in the top 50ft. of water (with a 500-700ft+ bottom) for up to an hour and a half. After two years of doing these unique dives, I still come across new alien-like creatures on almost every dive. This alone makes every submersion so addictive and thrilling.
On one night on September 3rd, 2016, I was fortunate to come across this striking spotfin flounder in its larval stage for the first (and only) time. According to an ichthyologist, at over 2 inches in length, it has the largest larval stage of any flounder. One of the most exciting part for me (and the ichthyologist) is that, like this spotfin flounder, many of these Black Water creatures are being photographed alive underwater for the first time thus helping scientist better understand this magical and unique ocean environment. Along with fellow Black Water Dive Addicts, our collection of photographs and encounters is helping to piece together the puzzle on the animals seasonality, behavior, and much more.
These Black Water dives are a testament to the idea that the age of exploration is far from over. There is still so much here on our precious Earth left to be discovered.
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Camera: Nikon D810 and Nikon 60mm Macro Lens (F27, 1/320, ISO 400) with Nauticam Housing, Dual Inon Z240 and Sola 1200 Focus Light.