HM Place Mirrorless Wide-Angle Ocean Art 2015 Cornelia Thieme

Honorable Mention, Mirrorless Wide-Angle

Cornelia Thieme

"Golden Jelly"


Cornelia won a $125 gift certificate from Ultralight Control Systems!


The story:  The Jellyfish Lake in Palau is a very unique place. It’s part of the rock islands and was formed 10.000 years ago. It’s still connected to the ocean through a lot of small crack and gaps. Over thousands of years, the millions of jellyfish in the lake have evolved to become stingless. The lake is separated into two layers. The upper part contains the saltwater and rainwater, but below 15m there is a chemocline with a high concentration of toxic hydrogen sulphide. Given this, scuba diving is out of the question, and you’ll need to rely on their freediving skills to produce stunning shots.

The dominant species of the lake is the golden jellyfish. At daytime they follow the sunlight, cross from east to west and stay away from the shadows. These little guys move the whole time in random directions and the formations are never the same. According to that you have to move close slowly, stay calm and patient to press the shutter in the right moment. That is the most challenging part. The scenery is so amazing, that it’s really hard to concentrate on the shooting.

You go by boat to Eil Malk Island and stop at the jetty. Grab all you gear and pass the rangers control. After a little walk through the jungle with a bit of up and down you reach the lake. There is enough space to prepare your gear on the platform at the edge.

It was a very sunny day and so I went for silhouette shots especially by using the strobes to get some kind of golden glow. That meant I did a lot of freediving down to 5-10m during the 60 min. stay in this lake. But in the end I came up with a couple of magnificent images.

Location:  Jellyfish Lake, Palau

Camera:  Olympus OMD EM5 in Nauticam Housing. Lens: 8mm Fisheye from Panasonic. Strobe: 2x Inon D2000



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