Story of the Shot: Guadalupe Island

By Todd Winner

Story of the Shot: Todd Winner

Baitball & Sea Lion at Guadalupe island

By Todd Winner


baitball and sea lion at Guadalupe island


I took this image about a year ago at Guadalupe Island, Mexico. This is a good example of why it is important to have your camera and strobes turned on and set up to shoot as soon as you hit the water. 

I was the last one in the cage and we just started to descend when this massive school of baitfish came swimming thru as it was chased by a sealion. I was able to fire off three shots before the school swam off into the blue. This is one of those great moments captured in a still image. If I had the chance to do it again, I would like to try and make it even better, but I am still very happy with the mood it creates.


Nikon D2X, 1/125, f/6.3, 10mm fisheye lens, dual Ikelite D200 strobes, Nexus underwater housing


Q&A with Todd Winner

Todd,  how is it that you have your aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and strobe power set correctly..  did you take a guess on the boat based on the previous dive?

"I probably just guessed before I got in the water of did a quick light meter check when I got in. I typically set up to what I think will be the right setting especially for high action dives like sharks where it's easy to forget about camera settings. I usually don't check my LCD after every shot and rely more on my light meter."


Editor's note on Todd's underwater photography advice

No less than 24 hours after receiving this article from Todd, I was diving the Oil Rigs in Southern California, thinking about his advice. Before entering the water on each dive, I checked my settings and turned on my camera and strobes. On the 2nd dive, just after descending, a large sea lion swam very quickly right below me. I didn't even have time to raise the camera, I just had to pan and shoot blind from the hip - just one shot. I was extremely lucky to get him in the frame and I kind of like the shot, what do you think? Thanks for the advice Todd!

sea lion underwater photography

Fast moving sea lion. F6.3, 1/100th, ISO 200, Tokina 10-17mm@16mm, strobes on manual power setting


Further Reading

Learning wide-angle underwater photography

Photographing Schooling Fish




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