Trip Report 2016
My 5 guests and myself had a very successful 5 days of photographing sailfish. My sailfish and other underwater photo trips
The weather was overcast, but we were able to find sailfish each day we headed out. The first day we found dolphins and sailfish working the same large bait ball. This was fast and chaotic scene. We did several drops from the boat to keep up with them. It was a great trial by fire for my guests who are new to sailfish.
Our second day stayed with smaller groups of sardines and bait balls. I found that the smaller the ball, the slower the sailfish moved making it easier for us slow humans to keep up and photograph the action. We were privileged with several hours long sessions in the water with the sailfish and their prey .
For processing the photos I used Adobe Lightroom with some scatter and spot removal via Photoshop. I used Sharpening and Contrast tools to bring out the detail. Some required a Curves adjustment to brighten them up.
During our stay on Isla Mujeres, we took one of the days to try out the new cage for mako sharks. We loaded the cage onto their largest boat and headed out. We picked a likely spot off shore and chummed and trolled bait.
Overall I am very pleased with our results. The crew was excellent and very skilled at getting us to the right places and finding the sailfish. Once we were on them they could get us in the water and back into the boat for another drop. I thank them for making it a special trip for our first time guests and those who have been before.
I was very conscious of baggage volume and weight when I made my equipment choices. My biggest decision was between my 16 – 35mm lens and the fish eye. I have used both before for sailfish. While the images with the fisheye were nice, one drawback was how close you need to be to get a good shot. Also if you get too close, your subject gets distorted at the edges of the image. I did not want to bring both or switch my equipment halfway through, so I opted for the 16 – 35mm.
I have a Nauticam housing with my best glass dome port. I also had a 2nd 5DMKIII as a backup and set for land images. No strobes as they would just slow down my swimming.
I have had my housing from my old Canon 5DII converted to fit my 2nd 5D III or a future RS. I like things to be interchangeable and to carry less equipment.
My initial setup was thus:
Canon 5D MKIII with a 16 – 35mm lens ISO 500 1/250 and f5.6
The conditions were cloudy much of the time so I stayed in the ISO 400 – 640 range, Shutter priority
You can enjoy my sailfish images from past season in my online gallery
As always, Isla Mujeres is a fun and comfortable home base for this adventure (and out whale shark trip). We had nice rooms which were so new they paint was barely dry. We were right on the beach and the pool was very refreshing after a day at sea.
There are more good restaurants than we could get to for our dinners. We feasted on fresh fish, Mediterranean dishes, local tastes and Cuban.
The shops are colorful and the people are friendly and we enjoyed just walking around town. The guest and I had happy hour around the pool with great conversations . I hope to share another adventure with each of them.