HM Behavior Ocean Art 2015 Richard Barnden

Honorable Mention, Marine Life Behavior

Richard Barnden

"Life Begins"


Richard won a gift certificate from Bluewater Travel!


The story:  As the Moon starts to enter it’s Black phase or New moon thousands of bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometepon muricatum) gather at a special site in Palau for only a select period of time for the sole purpose of reproducing/spawning and continuing their species. To be able to witness the largest parrotfish’s monthly orgy you need to be able to calculate a formula of tide, moon and light. It took me about a year of trying different lens combinations to finally get something I was happy with. These fish are always aware of your presence and getting close to fast moving fish without disturbing their natural behavior, can at times be nearly impossible.

On this particular dive all the factors came together and I was able to be in the right place at the right time as a spawning rush came from right underneath me to spawn and break apart within strobe distance. My two year old son had been playing with my camera the night before and somehow changed my usual settings from continuous firing to single shot, which I had not noticed. This may have enabled me to capture this shot as I was actually trying to fire the trigger a split second before. The shutter however would not fire as it did not have adequate focus. Just as I was about to get really frustrated the bumpheads spawned and broke apart simultaneously right in front of me. I checked the viewfinder to see if I had got anything and could not believe my luck to have one shot with all seven bumpheads breaking apart in different directions and all in focus.

Location:  Palau

Camera:  Nikon D800 - Nikon 50mm - Nauticam Housing - 2 x Sea&Sea 250 Pro Strobes



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