It was one of those dives that teach you to be mindful of everything around you even if you’re supposed to be doing something else… like deflating your BCD to descend to the oceanfloor.
My buddy Peewee was already down there and videoing something, which I quickly noticed was a flying gurnard. This was in 2008 in one of our regular dives off the Island Garden City of Samal. It was my first ever chance to shoot a flying gurnard, but I was still hovering downward around 20 feet above and the flying gurnard was starting to move away.
I didn’t have the time to tinker with my camera. There was just the time to focus and shoot as I descended…
From experience, waiting to get a good position will mean lost opportunity since fishes will always scurry off at the sight of approaching divers; especially fishes as skittish as flying gurnards.
It’s shoot… shoot… and shoot… while getting your best possible angle as you slowly approach.
The flying gurnard by this time was all set to “fly”.
It was a memorable first. A big one too. My next flying gurnard came four years later, but this one was smaller. Down there, the fish you meet today may not come along until several years later. Thus, with but a point and shoot Canon Powershot G9 with stock housing, the mantra is compose and shoot as you approach because you will never know the exact second when an underwater critter will flip away. And yes, I know the photo is too green. I told you, I didn’t have time to adjust settings.