September 20th, 2011

schools of fish #4

School of bigeye jacks and the diver, Dirty Rock, Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Canon EOS 350D + Canon EF-S 10-22mm, Sea&Sea YS-110 strobe

this image is not cropped, heavy contrast processing and noise cleanup in Lightroom, some garbage and details removed in Photoshop

Location on Google Maps

Wikipedia reference

No "school of fish" week is complete without jack fish school ! This one is my favorite - resident school of bigeye trevally permanently staying at Dirty Rock point of everyone's beloved Cocos Island. Reason why it's called Dirty - it has bird colony which produces a lot of dirty stuff making this small cliff look not very nice from the topside. Despite such unpleasant reputation - down below this place is gorgeous - my favorite site in Cocos after Alcyone.

Jacks are nocturnal hunters - like predators in two previous posts they hunt solitary at night, and huge schools of them often consisting of thousands of fish forming with sunrise. Schools of jacks are usually very static, featuring beautiful moving patterns of silvery shiny fish which makes them beautiful subject for photography. Despite being predatory themselves they are hunted by dolphins and some shark species - big schools for them constitute form of protection, similar to the function of bait balls for sardines.

Model in this picture is my friend Jason Jacques - owner of the fantastic art gallery in New York and great diving buddy. I hope to see him next year on Sardine Run adventure - BTW we have now three places still left - if you are interested to join - please contact me !

This image itself is pretty old, and it required relatively a lot of post processing. I decided to publish this new version of it when noticed that new versions of Lightroom are much better at noise reduction than ones which were available three years ago. Amount of time I have to spend now processing older pelagic shots from my old Canon EOS 350D camera is significantly less - it's great thing that technology actually does improve. Makes it interesting to see what can be done now to some shots from past taken in tough conditions !