28/07/12We had been sailing the vast expanse of open ocean called White Sand Ridge for hours, in search of a resident family of dolphin that we knew inhabited these waters. The conditions were perfect. Calm seas and the bluest skies imaginable. We were planning to freedive with them, which is the best way to keep up with their fast-paced action and of capturing something a little different with our cameras.
After a couple of hours we found a small pod of six, three mothers with their gregarious, spot-free calves. Their characteristic spotted markings only develop as they mature. In no time at all we were in our wetsuits and had slipped into the water. The next few hours turned out to be the most exhilarating experience as the dolphins chased, played and hunted in their magnificent azure playground.
Minutes before I took this shot, the dolphin had been foraging for razorfish along the sandy seabed before heading for the top, not far from where I was taking a bit of a breather. I had decided to photograph the dolphin using natural light, and had left my strobes on the boat, which meant also that I was a little more hydrodynamic. Freediving with a large underwater camera rig can be hard work at times, and just when you’re almost out of energy, the unexpected happens!
This young calf began surfing the pressure wave just beneath the surface of the ocean. Skimming along, belly-side up, with its mother seemingly encouraging it with clicks and nudges. One of the things I love so much about wildlife is that it’s unpredictable, and that you have to be ready to react fast if you want to capture something unique. This was one of those moments.
Photographed at Little Bahama Bank at an area called White Sand Ridge. The Bahamas.