IT WASN'T A DIVING HOLIDAY but a trip to Spain with great friends, staying in a villa at Javea on the Costa Blanca. We flew from Exeter to Alicante in just over two hours and hired a car.
The intention was to travel around each day and go snorkelling with basic equipment and camera, plus a pouch weight-belt filled with pebbles. We were in for some artistic surprises.
The area has both sandy and pebble beaches, in rocky coves beneath rugged cliffs, and is pretty spectacular.
So there we were in Sunny Spain: Scubaless, Snorkelling, Shallow, Suitless, Strobeless and Seventy. I like natural-light photography, hence the decision to leave the strobes at home and rely on sunlight and high ASA settings.
A diving tourism pamphlet for the area listed many snorkelling trails and beaches, with routes, depths, reefs and marine life. We also visited the marine reserve at Cala Tango just north of the Javea port and marina. Everywhere we came across overhangs, swim-throughs and caves that lured us into a world of contrasting colours and reflections.
In some places I placed the camera on a rock to hold it steady and gather all the available light. Each image when viewed in playback revealed vivid colours and patterns, mainly of sponges and encrusting reef life.
Away from the cliffs, nearby shallow reefs also provided colours and reflections of fish, soft corals, plants, octopuses and starfish. Off La Granadella there were pieces of wreckage and an engine-block, and I attempted some swept panoramic images. Set the mode, take a breath, dive down and sweep the camera in one continuous movement.
When snorkelling it's easy to set the camera on the surface, dive, take the image, surface and review. If it's not good enough, delete and try again – there's plenty of time.
Snorkelling in the shallows with a camera was a different adventure that gave us the satisfaction of obtaining some great Spanish reflections.