Tsoi Lik Island, Papua New Guinea.
A lone starfish shines in the late afternoon light of Tsoi Lik Lagoon, Papua New Guinea. The Tsoi Islands are a secret South Pacific paradise with spectacular white sand beaches surrounding a stunning turquise lagoon. A large tropical tree overhangs the lagoon in this spot and the late afternoon sun was filtered through the branches for a few minutes each day, providing a dramatic backdrop of light rays that danced from one colorful starfish to the next.
I find that underwater photography is the most challenging aspect of my work, so any critique or commentary would be greatly appreciated. This scene was much more difficult to shoot than it appears. I didn't bring a strobe on this trip due to weight considerations so I had to shoot everything with ambient light. To get the depth of field needed for this image, I shot at f22 at ISO 1200 and 1/60 second which was barely fast enough to freeze the camera in the surging waves of the lagoon. The intensity of the light beams and the overall exposure varied second by second depending on the wind and the way the light filtered through the branches of the tree. The sun drops toward sunset much more quickly at the equator than temperate latitudes and I was amazed at how quickly the beams advanced across the sandy bottom and how quickly the exposure time increased as I was following the underwater light. Despite the challenges, the Canon 5D Mark II is the perfect tool for underwater photography with it's resolution and high ISO performance. I used an Aquatica housing and I can highly recommend it for anyone considering underwater photography. My only minor complaint is that the dome on the housing leaves images a bit soft on the edges, even at f22. If any of you guys have any tips on dealing with that issue I would love to hear from you.