Hawksbill sea turtle in El Nido!

Today’s post was going to be one long entry for Ailsa’s “Oceans” photo challenge in honor of World Oceans Day. However, it’s going to take me some time to sort through my favorite photos taken during the past week so I figured I’d be better off making it a series of posts instead 🙂 Presenting the super friendly hawksbill sea turtle I met this morning in Abdeens Reef!

Diving. It’s awesome 😀

More photos will be up by tomorrow! (I hope. Haha.)

Hawksbill sea turtles on the beach

Just when I think of leaving, El Nido gives me a reason to stay. In this case, El Nido gave me 50 reasons.

Hawksbill sea turtle hatchling on the beach. Maybe he's waiting for the right wave.

El Nido’s underwater denizens

I returned to full-time work in El Nido, Palawan last September 18. Much thanks to my boss who let me fly out the day after my birthday 🙂

I’m slowly returning to the swing of things, considering that I’ve been away for three years now. It doesn’t help that I don’t recognize most of the staff, which is especially embarrassing since everyone seems to know who I am *blushes*. So yes, I need to learn everyone’s names ASAP.

One of the bright spots is that I’ve already gone diving twice with my handy-dandy Canon S95 camera in its Ikelite underwater housing and got some decent shots despite the limitations of not-so-good visibility and lack of strobe. Just a reminder: despite what the gearheads say, you do not need fancy underwater camera gear in order to take great photos. The trick is to know what your camera can do and to work with (not against!) those limitations. If it doesn’t do well in low light, then focus on taking photos in shallow water. Take a white slate with you for on-the-spot white balance correction so that you don’t rely on the camera’s “Underwater” setting. Limited flash range? Take macro photos! Again, it’s all about making the most of what you have and not moaning about what you don’t.

And now, presenting El Nido’s quirky underwater denizens!

Disclaimer: since I’m studying to become a marine biologist specializing in coral reef ecology, what I find interesting may be somewhat different from other people 😛

[slideshow]

Yes, that is a hawksbill sea turtle. And it was feeding. And I got HD video too. YEAAH! 😀 For the curious ones, the red spots are caused by the water having lots of suspended particles. This was one of the times it would have been great to have a separate strobe but hey, I’m not angsting about it 🙂