Feb 212014

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I am slightly obsessed with quite fond of photographing islands from the airplane window.  Despite sometimes receiving strange looks from both flight attendants and passengers, I’m not shy about whipping out my camera during take-off and landing.

Here are some shots from a recent Bonaire departure.

Lac Bay Photographed During Takeoff

Lac Bay Photographed During Takeoff

Another View of Lac Bay

Another View of Lac Bay

Shortly after I snapped the second photo, I noticed that a strange (and very beautiful) reflection had appeared out the window of the right side of the aircraft.

Airplane Rainbow

It was a reflection of our aircraft, encircled by a rainbow halo, and it stayed with us for over five minutes.

Pilot's Glory

Despite being a fairly frequent flyer, this was my first time witnessing this stunning phenomenon.  A subsequent google search unveiled more information.  The circular rainbow is called Glory, and the aircraft shadow is called Brocken spectre.  Together they are sometimes called The Glory of the Pilot.  Apparently, I was lucky enough to witness to a rare sight that some pilots never see.

The Glory of the Pilot

The Glory of the Pilot

Have you seen this phenomenon for yourself?

You can find more of my aerial photos here.

Feb 142014

There is a certain frogfish on a certain unnamed reef that receives far too much attention.  On almost every dive we’ve done on this reef, we’ve encountered a cluster of photographers and divers hovering over this poor fish. Most are polite, thankfully.  But all too often we’ve seen this fish blindsided by far too many high-powered flashes, focus lights and bright video lights.  Some photographers don’t know where to draw the line.  Unlike a jack or an angelfish, the frogfish lacks the speed and agility to escape the light.

I’ve recently witnessed some poor and unsettling behavior on the reef.  Sometimes it’s the new diver, who can’t yet control his/her buoyancy, and who decides to take a camera on a dive.  We were all diving novices once, so perhaps this diver just requires a bit of education.

But other times it is the experienced diver, handling a domed SLR with dual strobes and focus lights, that is desperate to get “the shot” at any price.

If we as photographers all follow a few basic guidelines, we can continue to coexist peacefully with both divers and critters alike.

Underwater Photography Etiquette

Underwater Photography Etiquette

Do you have anything to add to the list above?  Do you have pet peeves about underwater photographers?

Download this guide as a PDF by clicking below.

Underwater Photo Etiquette

Feb 122014

As I surfaced from a recent dive on Bari Reef in Bonaire, I noticed that my dive buddy, Mr. Reeftraveler, was lingering in the shallows, seemingly infatuated with something he’d seen in the water.  This is a regular occurrence, so I took little notice and began disassembling my gear.

A few minutes later, he surfaced with wide eyes and exclaimed that he’d just seen the most unusual jellyfish of all the jellies he’s spotted in his 35 years of diving around the world.  On the pier our friend Michael, who happens to be the beloved authority on all things Bonaire, immediately identified it as the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. Scientific name – Tamoya ohboya.  Yes, you read that right (more on its scientific name here).

Tamoya ohboya

Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish – Tamoya ohboya – Photo by Steve Schnoll (aka Mr. Reeftraveler)

Officially declared a new species in 2011, Tamoya ohboya is highly venomous.  It’s vibrant bronze/yellow/sepia banded tentacles announce its presence, unlike the completely translucent (and relatively harmless) moon jellyfish that commonly speckle shallow coastal waters.  This beautiful creature’s flamboyant coloration is a prime example of nature’s warning sign (called aposematic coloration) at work.

Tamoya Oboya

Tamoya ohboya in Bonaire – Photo by Steve Schnoll, aka Mr. Reeftraveler

Mr. Reeftraveler’s sighting was quite a privilege.  Since 1989, only 50 (+/-) sightings of Tamoya ohboya have been confirmed.  Most of these sightings have taken place in Bonaire.

Have you been one of the lucky ones to spot Tamoya ohboya?  Check back soon for more on this exciting species.

Feb 032014

I was descending down to the reef after a giant stride into the turquoise sea at Bonaire Dive & Adventure’s pier on Bari Reef in Bonaire (the most diverse reef in the Caribbean according to REEF).  After several seconds of fiddling around with my camera settings, I noticed a dark shadow just inches above my head.  Feeling certain that an unknown diver was accidentally encroaching, I spun quickly around and saw this swimming over me.

Manta Ray in Bonaire

Thankfully, I was not rigged for macro!

Have you spotted Bonaire’s mantas?  This beauty was slowly cruising south in 15 feet of water, just earlier this month.