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Underwater Photography

Alien Poser

The Caribbean reef squid is a shooter’s delight and challenge
Text and Photograph by David Fleetham


In many areas of the world squid can be very difficult to locate during the day; not around the island of Bonaire. The Caribbean reef squid population at this diver-friendly island can be found reliably, day and night, and it is perhaps for this reason, among others, that Sepioteuthis sepioidea has been studied extensively. Biologists have even examined individual squid over an entire life cycle, identifying each by a unique display of body colour and pattern changes triggered directly by the brain. Amazing aliens; what they think, they become!

Photographing these fascinating creatures I’ve come to understand that each has its own personality and in that respect they’re not so different from humans. Some are shy types, departing at the first sign of the bubble-blowing paparazzi. Others were born to pose. On occasion I’ve had to break off a shoot only because I’d run out of air.

My results have been hit and miss. After much experimentation to improve the image-making odds in my favour, I’ve learned to constantly change the angle at which I approach a squid. For one reason their eyes are extraordinarily reflective, causing many shots to be overexposed. I never decline an opportunity to photograph these fascinating cephalopods in my ongoing quest for the winning frame that combines animated animal with the ideal exposure.

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