Ocean Art 2022 - 1st Place Macro

1st Place Macro / Best of Show

Kat Zhou

"Octopus Mother"


Kat Zhou won a dive trip on Carpe Novo liveaboard for two people!


The Story: This photo shows a Caribbean reef octopus guarding her eggs, found off the coast of West Palm Beach, Florida.  Like all other species of octopus, this mother does not eat while she tends to her eggs, and she will die after they hatch.  It was a bittersweet feeling to watch her protect her eggs, knowing that this sad end was coming!

West Palm Beach, Florida, is my favorite diving destination in the USA for the variety of both wide angle and macro subjects it offers, and I visit a few times each year to dive and photograph around the area.  I had started seeing photos on social media of this reef octopus with eggs in early March 2022, and I was ecstatic to hear that she was still there when I visited later in the month, as I had never seen an octopus with eggs before.   Over the next three weeks, I spent 4 dives observing her.  Though it was fascinating to watch her protect and aerate her eggs, it wasn’t possible to get good photos on every dive, as she was situated in the middle of a tube, and she would often either block the eggs with her arms or move so far back into the tube that it wasn’t possible to get both the octopus and her eggs in focus.  On the dive that I obtained this shot, there were fewer divers around than normal, and she seemed much calmer as a result.

Location: Blue Heron Bridge, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Equipment Used: Nikon D850 Camera, Nikon 105mm Macro Lens, Nauticam Housing, Dual Inon Z330 Strobes, BigBlue Dive Light

Camera Settings: ISO 250, F29, 1/250 sec



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