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                Winter Solstice is a time to celebrate the return of the light

In northern latitudes, our days have been getting very short and the angle of the sun very low. I thought this would be a good day to share some bright colorful tropical light, bejeweled by water. Bathe yourself in warmth and sensual watery colors.

(all photos in Lightbox; click to enlarge)


Some background: After I first began seeing the beautiful images created by the reflection and refraction of nearby features by water (some of which I posted in this earlier diary), I've been carrying a camera whenever I'm on the water - at the ready for ephemeral moments of beautiful water movement and sunlight. My first attempt in the tropics was in 2010, on a dive trip to Roatan, Honduras. These are some photos from that trip. In future I'll post some photos of subsequent trips to the tropics and also some from local waters where I live in the Salish Sea.

How do I take these photos? Straight down into the water. On dive trips, I go out to the dive sites on a boat. Usually the water looks like this as you're cruising along: pretty, but it's only the surface of the water you see, not the depths.


(more tropical water and light photos below the coil...)

Different depths of water appear varying shades of blue and green and purple, as sunlight is scattered by particles of water. Turquoise, cobalt, teal, azure, indigo, periwinkle, sapphire, ultramarine are a few names we use to try to describe these shades. The water around the boat in the photo above is a teal shade, while the water in the next boat pic is more a cobalt, meaning the reef is deeper down.

Here the dive boat is tied up at a buoy for the "surface interval", the time divers must wait between dives to allow nitrogen gas to seep out of our blood, to avoid getting the bends. The surface interval is a golden opportunity for me to take photos over the side of the boat, if the water surface isn't too rough or too smooth, and the sun is blazing. And if the surface isn't cluttered with seaweed or garbage.


In the photo below you can see the difference between seeing the surface of the water (farther away) and into the depths (nearby). Photos taken perpendicular to the surface of the water eliminate reflection off the surface, getting only reflection from the reef below, refracted by moving water in between:


                       Some images from the southern Caribbean in 2010

(I've done some cropping but no manipulation of colors, tone, contrast, etc. These are all true colors. Various coral reef  structures are below. I see faces in these images too. Do you?)









I welcome any thoughts or suggestions. Please tell what you see or feel, in a comment below.

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