1st Place Compact Behavior PT Hirschfield

1st Place Compact Behavior

PT Hirschfield

"Mating Seahorses"


PT Hirschfield won a YS-D3 Strobe from Sea & Sea

The Story: After many hundreds of dives with the Mornington Peninsula's Bigbelly seahorses and observing these animals in their pre-mating dances which can last for several days, this was my first opportunity to witness a female transferring her eggs into the male's pouch. 

I had just descended from the Rye Pier divers' platform and had not yet done any test shots on my camera when I noticed the seahorses already joined at the abdomen in the water column in the distance. They quickly separated and I wondered whether I had missed my only opportunity to document their union. 

As the pair settled back onto the sand, I noticed that they stayed close to each other and seemed to continue their dancing ritual, moving gracefully and flirtatiously around each other, so I suspected their union was not yet finished. I waited and watched for a few more minutes while quickly trying to adjust my camera settings to something that might work to capture their mating act should they come together again. 

When they started to rise again into the water column, I kept a slight distance so as not to spook them, being prepared to crop my image slightly in order to capture the action without disturbing it by being too close. It was exhilarating to finally cross this special act of seahorse egg transfer (which lasted only a few brief moments) from my underwater photography Bucket List.

Location:  Rye Pier, Victoria, Australia

Equipment Used: Canon G12 Camera, Sea & Sea YS-D2J Strobe

Camera Settings: F7.1, 1/125 sec, ISO 100


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