LOCATION: Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea

STORY:  The coral reefs of Papua New Guinea are among the brightest, the most vibrant, the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet.  And that is, of course, why I spent over 2 years of my life living on a boat on here.  Much of my time in PNG was spent in Kimbe Bay, on the north side of New Britain Island.  Shallow reefs, steep drop-offs, plenty of sharks, and coral as far as the eye could see – these were my every day norms for those years.  But one coral pinnacle at the northwest end of the bay always stood out for two very special and very photogenic species of coral.  The Red Sea Whip generally grows a bit deeper than other, more familiar corals, because it is non-photosynthetic.  It is something I enjoy using in many of my coral reef compositions because of the striking red color that is brought out by my underwater strobes.  But perhaps even more special is the blue elephant ear sponge.  It is quite rare indeed, and its geographical range is extremely limited.  Since it is also non-photosynthetic, it is also generally found deeper than normal scuba diving depths.  The third featured coral is the stony Scroll Coral towards the bottom, with it’s overlapping plates spiraling outwards.

Firewater is an excellent example of how light transmission works underwater.  Collectors of my seascape art who scuba dive or snorkel, often marvel at the vibrancy of the reds & yellows, feeling like they’ve never seen this while in the ocean.  But the reality is – they have actually seen it.  It’s just that those portions of the spectrum are rapidly filtered out by water, and by the time you’re 2 meters deep, much of the reds are already gone.  But I carry very powerful daylight-balanced strobes to bring back the light.  And since I generally shoot with the widest lenses, that means I’m very very close to the coral – almost touching, in fact.  The light from my strobes (being the same spectrum as daylight) bring out the real colors of the reef.  But you can see how quickly the water eliminates my light, as the reds, oranges, and yellows don’t exist toward the periphery of the photo, where the distance from the wide lens is just 18-24′ further away than in the middle, and those wavelengths have been absorbed before the light gets from my strobes to the coral and back into my lens.

For similar color and feel, check out two of my other scenic colorful coral reef photographs: Rainbow Reef and Fireworks, or for a horizontal composition, try Candyland.

For printing this seascape art, Firewater is somewhat flexible for cropping away from it’s native ratio of 3:2 into more panoramic art, and is available in large art sizes up to a maximum of 120″ tall.  You can purchase this luxury wall art online in our standard sizes, but if you’d like to discuss a custom crop or size, please contact one of our design consultants at the art gallery.  Get it printed on aluminum if your décor is more contemporary and has good lighting, or get it printed on canvas if your décor is more transitional or traditional, and the lighting isn’t set up for highlighting artwork.  For canvas pieces, our floater frames add an elegant touch.

Client Installations