Diving the Fish Shoals at Ras Mohamed, Northern Red Sea.

Diving with the fish shoals is a fantastic experience, 'hanging out' with hundreds of fish in mid-water defies description as you become part of the shoal, particularly with the Bohar Snappers who are not usually found shoaling in this area, except at this specific time of year. It is an important time of the year for these fish as mating is on their agenda, so they are very tolerant of a diver or two and will allow you to share their 'space'.

Photographing the shoals is fun because you can take-up any position in the shoal and fill a card with wall-to-wall fish, but getting shots which show the shoal as you remembered it, is a different thing altogether.
In the excitement of diving with so much photographic potential one forgets the basics of taking a photograph in mixed lighting conditions, moving subject (s), often a strong current and at changing depths.

With most of the diving 'hazards' under control, you can make up your mind about the kind of shot you are looking for - full shoal, focusing on one fish with a 'fishy' negative space, a profile of the shoal, head on to the shoal, or a stunning silhouette, literally hundreds of potential shots.

How can one reduce the odds of getting poor lighting and blurred pictures, if you are in manual mode with such a lot going on?
My method, which I use with sharks, mantas and shoals, in most circumstances, is to get onto the sunny side of the subject, set your camera mode to shutter priority, and the speed at a minimum of 1/125 and keep the sun out of the picture. This allows you to concentrate on your composition and not having to worry about, camera settings. However, once you are happy with 'snapping' around the shoal then you switch back to manual and start to look for the more 'artistic shots' which require greater visual concentration.

I have become used to diving with shoals of barracuda, but I still love to swim with them as they scythe through the water with such ease and grace, I always feel totally inadequate, finning like mad, only to have them turn and dive in an attempt to leave me stranded in open water. I find great enjoyment in swimming with such beautiful creatures and long may it continue.
Now my hearing is not that good, after forty odd years diving, but I swear that they communicate with each other by sound as I can hear an audible 'swishing' sound once I am in the middle of a shoal. It could just be the sound of their movement through the water, but I like my theory best. My friends think I am suffering from 'raptures of the deep', but I am sticking to my story.

We regularly see six or seven different species of shoaling fish on our June trip to Ras Mohamed, this year was no exception with Snappers, Barracuda, Emperors, Puffers, Unicorn fish, Spadefish and a lovely shoal of Goatfish / Long spotted Snappers at the 'Mushroom' a beautiful little pinnacle close to R.M.
If you get bored with the fish, then you can photograph the Spinner and Risso's Dolphins who are frequently encountered in this area, plus Turtles, and the best soft corals to be found anywhere in the World.
Try to book your weeks diving as near to the full moon as possible, because that in the best time to see the greatest concentrations of shoaling fish. Click here>>>



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