chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano

Hawaii, Spinner Dolphin mother & calf



Off the island of Hawai'i, a wild spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris-Nai'a in Hawaiian) mother and her calf glide freely through the warm ocean water, occas...
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Off the island of Hawai'i, a wild spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris-Nai'a in Hawaiian) mother and her calf glide freely through the warm ocean water, occasionally emitting their telltale squeaks to communicate with ten to twelve nearby pod members. The sun shines in rays down to the deep and paints itself across the spinners' torsos.

I swam by myself with them about 200 yards off the coast for nearly ten minutes and it was the purest, most beautiful time I've had in the ocean. Two terrestrial beings of different origins simply coexisting...I will forever remember the calming euphoria I felt in these moments.
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26 Comments | Report
sheriminardi
 
sheriminardi October 28, 2013
Beautiful. Congratulations.
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Yes they are! Cheers.
AlanJakarta PRO+
 
AlanJakarta October 28, 2013
Terrific shot. Congratulations.
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thank you Alan!
jojoxena
 
jojoxena October 28, 2013
Wonderful moment captured forever,congrats on a beautiful photo!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thank you Joanne, I hope everyone can experience such an interaction :)
drakkardarkblade
 
drakkardarkblade October 28, 2013
congrats, fantastic, please check out my works
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thanks Lenny, will do!
WileKyK PRO+
 
WileKyK October 28, 2013
Beautiful shot! congratulations!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thank you, much appreciated!
FredGramoso
 
FredGramoso October 28, 2013
Superb!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thanks a lot Frederic!
rmr731 PRO+
 
rmr731 October 28, 2013
Beautiful capture! Congrats!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Cheers Ronda, they did most of the work :)
patrick9x9 PRO
 
patrick9x9 October 28, 2013
Wonderful, congratulations
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Glad you like it Brian, thank you!
iceman2
 
iceman2 October 28, 2013
Wonderful shot.Congrats!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thanks William!
PhotoAlaska
 
PhotoAlaska October 28, 2013
nice shot
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thank you Chris!
parkerrobertson
 
parkerrobertson October 28, 2013
This is an amazing photo! Well done
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Just documenting what's around me :) Happy you enjoy it!
CanonCarolyn PRO
 
CanonCarolyn October 28, 2013
Love this picture of my favorite animal, besides dogs, in the world! Congratulations- well deserved!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
They are such wonderful beings, I am honored to have had this experience! Happy to share the moment :)
BowmanLifeStudios
 
BowmanLifeStudios October 28, 2013
Peaceful and Beautiful... Great Capture!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
It was very much so, appreciate it Robert :)
tlotter
 
tlotter October 28, 2013
Beautiful shot,congratulations
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Thank you very much!
princessdi6305 PRO+
 
princessdi6305 October 28, 2013
Love the soft rays shining through the water..beautiful capture..Congratulations!!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Many things came together for this moment, I was fortunate :) Cheers.
daphnepebbles
 
daphnepebbles October 28, 2013
OMG I need to do that. How incredibly spiritual. I need that experience. Call me weird but I feel like a mermaid outof water. I miss the ocean so powerful and fierce yet it soothes inner rage. I need to swim with dolphins. Your picture really captured the euphoric feeling of being there that I could feel a glimpse of it too. Thank you
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 28, 2013
Agreed, Daphne! I would say it should be some form of therapy if not for my fear of the likelihood of their abuse/exploitation. I just hope everyone is lucky enough to have a pod of wild and free dolphins swim by and enrich their lives! Glad to pass along the moment.
MarcoPoveda
 
MarcoPoveda October 28, 2013
ESPECTACULAR
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 29, 2013
Gracias Marco! :)
jleiweke
 
jleiweke October 29, 2013
Congrats!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 29, 2013
Cheers Jon!
subhadeepdas
 
subhadeepdas October 30, 2013
greatttttttttt :)
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano October 30, 2013
Thank you Subhadeep! :)
redwriter PRO
 
redwriter October 30, 2013
Wonderful capture. Congrats. - Jake
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano November 01, 2013
Thank you much Jake!
sskyrm Platinum
 
sskyrm November 02, 2013
Great capture of a sublime moment. Congratulations!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano January 25, 2014
Thanks so much!
Jettinabout
 
Jettinabout November 02, 2013
This photo warms my heart! Beautiful and thank you for sharing.
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano January 25, 2014
Mine as well, happy to share the feelings!
CLG_
 
CLG_ January 23, 2014
WOW!!! Well deserved!!!
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano January 25, 2014
Thank you!!
SpokeninRed
 
SpokeninRed May 05, 2014
Beautiful--very haunting quality.
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano December 01, 2014
Thank you Jennifer, I felt the same thing!
JoseV
 
JoseV November 22, 2014
Wow, a real beauty of an image....
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano December 01, 2014
Cheers Jose, happy to hear it!
gondmagdi Premium
 
gondmagdi November 27, 2014
woww, love it ! great capture !
chrisgiordano
chrisgiordano December 01, 2014
Thank you Magdi!

Behind The Lens

Location
I snapped this image at Two Steps beach in Hawai'i, about 20 miles from Kona, on the Big Island. Nestled in a small bay and brushing up to Pu?uhonua o H?naunau National Historical Park the beach is named for the rock steps used to enter pleasantly warm water so clear that sunlight radiates from the sandy shallows. It's easy to slide in if you have a seat on the steps, after that your breathing slows as you are surrounded by schools of resplendent fish. The undulating drift of the current lessens when you take a dive and swim around coral reefs, the occasional curious turtle, and if you're happen to be as lucky as I was that day, wild Hawaiian spinner dolphins.
Time
The middle of another day in paradise where the oceans seem to be as warm as the air! Having a look around, the beach isn't necessarily crowded, but parking along the street can be difficult. Homes line part of the road and, turning around in someone's driveway, we all chuckled "Okay! Were home!" Walking off the road and onto the rock slabs we see a crew of scuba divers lining up their tanks and BCDs on a table by the rocks - a good day to dive! There's a little line of people at the water's edge; those must be the rock steps and our ticket to cooling off!
Lighting
In terms of lighting, nothing special, but indispensable nevertheless. Midday sun beamed down overhead with very few clouds for diffusion which provided those magical light beams that danced as they refracted in the salty water, illuminating portions of the dolphins.
Equipment
My Canon 20D was enclosed in a rugged Ikelite underwater housing -- a little overkill for simply snorkeling and doing a bit of light freediving, however, it was what I had to work with and got the job done! The image was shot without flash in full manual control: 1/320th @ f/4, ISO 200.
Inspiration
The moments leading up to and after this image was taken are some of the most memorable of all my outdoor adventures. I had been snorkeling around the reefs near the rocky steps when my dad got my attention from the beach and signaled that he saw a pod of dolphins in the distance. Wild and free dolphins. I jumped out of the water, grabbed my camera which was already in the underwater housing and briskly swam the few hundred yards offshore near where the pod was. Keeping my head underwater, I knew I was getting closer because I could hear, almost feel, their squeaks and clicks of communication. The best par so far: none one else swam out to them; all alone I began to see shadows moving below me and up ahead in the distance. Suddenly ten or more Hawaiian spinners surrounded me! They darted past me and then back again, they swam below me so I dove down and then they would swim above. They swam away for a minute, and then came back. I felt friendship, however plausible that is. Their energy enraptured me in a blissfully surreal moment of peace between man and nature. I looked down, snapped a photo of the pod below and when I looked up...that's when I saw the mother and calf swimming in the distance; sun rays illuminating them, like actors center-stage for a play. I snapped two photos, my camera soon displayed an error and became unusable. Their playful calm, zest for life, and absolute freedom inspired me to take this photo.
Editing
I cropped in on the dolphins a bit to bring them closer, adjusted the colors to return their gray skin tone, and did some spotting. After that I darkened the overall levels of the scene and added vignetting to capture the dramatic intimacy of the moment as I felt it.
In my camera bag
Unless a project necessitates a specific setup, I'll usually grab my Canon 7D, 11-16mm wide, the nifty 50mm, and a 70-200mm telephoto. I bring a tripod & intervalometer for time lapses or simply extra long exposures achieved with 4-stop and 9-stop Neutral Density filters. A nice circular polarizer filter (one of my favorites) heavily cuts down on water & window reflections and leaf shine while adding a deep, rich coloration to the scene. I'll also bring a cleaning cloth or LensPen, multiple CF cards & batteries, a pen & notepad to take field notes for spicing up the caption. Sometimes my GoPro camera will come with me for various documentations.
Feedback
Shooting something similar to this can be difficult due to the ever-changing face of nature. I knew what settings would yield a workable image, however, if the dolphins acted differently I may not have gotten this shot, period. From a different perspective though: be passionate and push yourself. I had never swam with dolphins before, wild or captive, but I appreciate & respect them and some primal curiosity just urged me to go out there to hang out! So I lugged that housing out and I suppose they temporarily took me in :) It's tough to hear it over and over again, but just keep shooting. Read up on BDE or the Sunny F/16 rule, and equivalent exposures and work from that. In this digital age it's ok to make mistakes as hard drive space can always be purchased and old failed attempts at something can be deleted to free space if you've already learned a lesson from it. Also, "chimp" if you have to, that is, look at the picture after you've shot it, potentially delete it, adjust settings accordingly and recapture. We all learn differently.

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