Dolphins of Bahamas

Updated: Oct 9

It's hard to contain the excitement whenever dolphins appear out of nowhere. Their energy and curious behavior make you squeal even if you've seen them a thousand times but often the interaction we seek is not what the dolphins have in mind and we have to respect that for many reasons. One - because sometimes they are just not in the mood and possibly sleeping so trying to get an interaction out of them is just not fair. And two - chasing dolphins will make you swim in circles and eventually give you a heart attack. Letting the animals come to you is a more rewarding and efficient experience.

wildlife portrait of two dolphins swimming close to the camera underwater in the Bahamas

This is where as a photographer I struggle the most because underwater photography takes a long time to master and watching it all go out the window every time I get excited is very demoralizing. The very first time I swam with sea lions the entire SD card in my camera was filled with out of focus, blurry and overexposed images.

So whenever a special moment like this unfolds in front of me I get a little anxious. I take the extra second to make sure my settings are right for the occasion and look through the little viewfinder until it's safe to do so because often all you get is that one pass. These dolphins stayed. The amount of side looks we got as the uncomfortable clicks scanned our bodies left no doubt these animals were just as curious as we were. Maybe not as excited but none of those 30 minutes were ever forced. We were gifted the most dream-like interaction as ocean fanatics and personally as a photographer as each individual took a closer look into my lens and my soul.

Bottlenose dolphins swimming closely together in shallow water in the Bahamas

So what happens with photography then? When it comes to taking photos of wildlife the right settings are very important. You never want your shutter-speed to be too slow or your photos too grainy and that's a sweet spot every one of us has to learn by doing because until you see those photos and make those mistakes you will never know what to prioritize and when. Having a camera with a good low light capability is my priority at this point in my career and it’s something I recommend to anyone interested in pursuing underwater photography as a specialty. The camera I work with now is a Nikon D850 which has been a huge upgrade from my old D800 when it comes to low light sensitivity and frame rate.

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