This 500-mile-long, double chain of atolls, reefs and castaway islands north of the equator is a diver’s paradise. The entire country swarms with subject matter: rich reefs, fish, macro critters and big animals. However, while the dives are often spectacular, conditions can be unpredictable, which means as a photographer you have to be ready to think on your feet (or fins).
You can descend, planning to shoot macro, and be surrounded by a vortex of mantas in 200-foot visibility; or plan to shoot wide-angle reef shots and discover strong currents and murky green water. Sometimes in the Maldives, enjoying the ride has to come before the photos.
There are dozens of manta dives spread across the 26 atolls. Most sites are cleaning stations, where the rays come to the reef for their spa treatment. Great photos come with patience, and the less you move, the closer the rays will circle. If everyone in the group behaves, you’ll soon have them directly overhead.
In a few areas, like Hanifaru Bay, you can see mantas feeding, often in large numbers. In a spot like this, you could point your camera virtually anywhere and record something memorable. — AM
Dive with an idea of the types of photos you want — macro versus wide-angle — but be adaptable. Shoot what is exciting on the dive. A compact camera with interchangeable wet lenses is perfect for this.
The Maldives is very “fishy,” and there are chances for fish portraits on every site. Stay motionless and wait for the fish to turn toward you to capture its character.
If the visibility is poor when the big animals turn up, turn off your flash. Get below your subject and frame it against the sun — both turtles and mantas look great in silhouette.
( Live It )
( Live It )
Four Seasons Explorer Cruise the Maldives in style on the Four Seasons Explorer live-aboard. fourseasons.com/maldivesfse