Underwater in the Desert

Tristan here! It’s been just about 5 months for me here in Mexico since I came to visit (and then was locked down with all the covid madness), and in this downtime there have been many opportunities for amazing snorkelling, even just over seaweed, sand and rocks. Combining this luxury (there’s not been much snorkelling for me back in Australia in the last year and a half) with a newfound interest in photography has yielded some pretty neat results. Mum, Max and I have been doing a National Geographic photography course on Love and Luck with my good bud Heidi, and ever since Mum told me I could use her underwater camera while I was on the boat I’ve been taking photos of fish, rays, crabs and shrimp almost every day. Figured I’d share a few up here to see.


Two varieties of Mexican Barnacle Blennies


The Barnacle Blennies are definitely a favourite of mine, because they are so small (their heads are about half the length of my pinky nail) and yet so aggressive, peering right out at the camera from the mollusc tubes they’ve claimed.

Another classic in the Sea of Cortez would be the mobula rays, as well as the regular stingrays as well, who always find some new way to show off for the camera.


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These two mobula rays were more than happy to put on a show, though the regular stingrays have their own kind of charm.


Hermit crabs and shrimp are pretty easy to find in the shallows, and if you’re patient enough (and can hold your breath) they will come right up to the camera and have a look around; a couple that were a little more shy would be the Panamic Arrow crab, which waved its disproportionately long claws every time I got near, and the nudibranch which hid, almost invisible, in the weed upon the rocks.


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Hermit and arrow crabs, Mexican Dancer Nudibranchs and small shrimp make up just a few of Baja’s many colourful and exciting crustaceans and molluscs.

25-05-2020 - Mexican Dancer Nudibranch 2 20-06-2020 - Panamic Arrow Crab 3


Other than that, most of my photography has been largely experimental, finetuning focus settings and exposure for some really microscopic shots. A couple fish underneath that I have yet to identify, but they still held still for a photo anyway. Kudos to them for making it to the blog post.


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Tiny fish; their identities still elude me.


We are headed back out of internet range soon and hopefully near to another reef; the fish won’t photograph themselves!


5 thoughts on “Underwater in the Desert

  1. Good post, Tristan, & excellent detail on the underwater photography. Cheers from Connie & Tony, ex S/v Sage.


  2. Amazing photos. Well done. I’m sure you’ll soon be in national geographic. On a diving trip i met a NG photographer Alfredo. Mine are all a bit blue. I can’t believe the clarity. Thanks


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