Feeding Time

Time to post an underwater image!

To be honest, I am not sure how exactly I feel about shark feeds.

In general, shark feeding can change shark behaviour—making them reliant on being fed at a certain time and certain place, and perhaps on food stuff they wouldn’t normally consume.

In the Marovo Lagoon region of the Solomon Islands the shark stocks were almost wiped out by overfishing, namely by fishing boats from Greater China who paid local communities for the rights to fish out the shark stocks.

Uepi Island Resort has worked with a variety of conservation groups and the local communities to build awareness of the value of sharks to marine diversity, and the value in terms of tourism dollars.

As part of this, Uepi conducts feeds under the pier whereby photographer guests can get in and shoot as I did, whilst eliminating waste food product. The feeds are conducted irregularly, at different times of the day.

There has been a noted rebuilding of shark life around Marovo Lagoon.

So a shark feed for the sake of an adrenalin rush alone I am against. But when it is being done as part of a concerted effort for conservation purposes I can support.

I did enjoy the adrenaline rush, but I also have to say that I was honoured to have the chance to document the experience.

Photographically this was a tough gig—the water was already a little cloudy on the day. Throw in the food stuff and a bunch of sharks to stir things up, and it made for quite a challenge.

I was under the pier snorkelling, with the pier itself affording some protection from curious sharks (they were never aggressive).

Meanwhile Belinda was on the pier above me with another camera. As they were both time synced, it was interesting to see the sequence of shots—in some cases Belinda and I made shots of the same ‘action’ from above and below.

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Welcome to Uepi

Welcome to Uepi by DesParoz
Welcome to Uepi, a photo by DesParoz on Flickr.

Getting to Uepi Island Resort is an adventure in itself – it is one of the most hidden away places you can imagine. First you must fly to Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. Then a domestic flight to Seghe. Then a short walk through bush to the water’s edge where you board a "motorised canoe" for the 40 minute ride to the very edge of Marovo Lagoon where Uepi is situated.

Marovo Lagoon is the world’s largest natural lagoon, and Uepi is on its very edge, near where it meets a deep ocean area called "The Slot".

This is the Welcome Jetty at Uepi.

Uepi is isolated, wonderful and spectacular. I think it would be my single favourite diving destination.

Dekudekuru Split

Dekudekuru is a reef close to Uepi Island Resort in the Solomon Islands. It is an ideal place for both over and under shots and images made from underwater shooting the nearby jungle canopy. This is due to the protected shallow waters of the reef inside a reef, and the nearby jungle canopy.

Under & over shots like this have held a lot of fascination for me for some time. There’s a reason that you see comparatively few of them published – they’re difficult to setup and difficult to execute well.

To make an under & over image you must shoot through air and water simultaneously, with the different lighting that brings. You need to minimise water droplets on the “dry” part of the image. And you need to focus near and far.

To create this image I used a very wide angle lens, used a small aperture for depth of field and shot in shallow, clear water on a bright, sunny day. Even then, this image was the best of quite a bunch, and is far from perfect. But I am quite happy with it!

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Red On Blue

Red On Blue. Photo by Des Paroz
One of the beautiful flowers growing around the gardens of Uepi Island Resort, located in the remote and spectacular Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands.

I loved the colours of the flowering bushes, with the saturated reds and greens, and the blue sky really enhanced the overall scene. Just a touch of HDR has been applied to give the image just a bit more pop.

This image is part of my Photos of the Day album, which can be viewed in high resolution at photos.desparoz.com.

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