I’ve been photographing coral reefs for quite some time now; and not always with success. Getting a great shot of a reef requires the combination of a few factors that you can’t always rely on, but when everything does come together, the results can be great.
In these pictures, you can see what I’m talking about. The sea is flat calm, which has allowed particulates to drop out of suspension, and a period of calm weather has led to dropped nutrient levels, which means that plankton and zooplankton levels are low. I took this series of photographs in summer in the Red Sea, when the water tends to be at its clearest. These conditions were exceptional though, and some of the finest I’ve ever enjoyed.
The angle of the sun is just right as well, illuminating the reef crest and adding some nice glitter lines. Good dive guides will often schedule the day to make the best of the available light, and offer the best possible experience. For all the pictures shown here, I chose to stay in the top five to ten meters, where all the action is and where the colors are at their richest. There’s no artificial lighting here, no powerful strobes; this is all sunlight.
If you look closely you can see some well-known fish species, as well as some tridacnids (the blues show up well) and some nice violet and purple colored corals, in and amongst the browns.