Ocean Art 2023 - 4th Blackwater

4th Place Blackwater

Chris Gug

"Dangerous Shelter"





Chris Gug won a Bluewater Photo or Bluewater Travel Gift Certificate!


The Story: 

Larval-stage jacks sheltering in various species of jellyfish are somewhat common in blackwater diving off coastal Florida, and after shooting them countless times over the years, I nowadays hunt for both quality and quantity.  The quality comes from a jellyfish that is perfectly round, with aesthetically perfect tentacles, with an unbroken bell, and the quantity comes from the number of jacks living within it - the more the better, and while one or two is the norm, nine is exceptional!  Always striving to "do no harm", I've learned that with these particular subjects, the jacks may be somewhat resistant to the jelly's sting, but definitely not immune.  I therefor limit myself to 2 or 3 rapid shots, then I avert my lights and swim away, so as not to disorient the jacks, causing them to bump into the tentacles.  Similarly, I've learned the best way to approach, is to immediately shut off all but the dimmest light upon locating such a subject, and approach with only the bare minimum light needed for the camera to focus by.  To the best of our knowledge, this is commensalism symbiosis, wherein the jacks receive the benefit of a dangerous shelter while drifting through the open ocean as they mature, but the jellyfish is neither helped nor harmed.  


West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Equipment Used: 

Camera Settings: 

  • Aperture: 25
  • Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec
  • ISO: 320



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