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CRAIG BILL

Waterworld

TP191

Atlantic Stingrays

For years I have wanted to visit the Cayman Islands for its tropical jungle beauty, crystal blue reef waters and indigenous rum cake. But one adventure I have always cultivated in my bucket list was swimming with stingrays. Being both a photographer and a biologist, this aspiration seemed well placed. Twenty five miles out from the island, but partially surrounded by Grand Cayman as a large bay, there are vast shallow, sandy and pure water sandbars that are perfect for stingrays. Known as "Stingray City", this is where ocean lovers can mingle with marine life in three to four foot deep water. By wading among the friendly aquatic life that gather on this sandbar, you get a once-in-a-lifetime experience to get up close to some of the most magnificent marine creatures of the Caribbean: the Southern Atlantic Stingray. In preparation, I brought along my underwater camera with a large dome attached to the front to create "Over-Under" captures, or having both above and under water in one shot. Definitely not as easy as it looks, I swam around and outside of the tourists to patiently compose and capture these beautiful animals moving to and from the mingling event. The sun was diving intermittently behind clouds which added exposure complications. Even in shallow water, the light needs to be bright for good shots. Many of the captures were no good at all, but my experience with other various types of photography helped my planning and expectations in this dynamic photographic environment and held my frustrations in check. In fact, when I first got all my photographic and snorkeling equipment together and sank below the water, a card error made me crawl back out onto the boat and completely undo the underwater housing and camera to address the problem - which is extremely risky on a humidity dripping, rocky and splashy small boat. But still, even with all the planning and readiness, my goal of a panoramic over/under image barely came to reality.

Cayman Islands, Caribbean

Limited Editions 100

Artist Proofs 5

World's Top 10 Landscape Photographers 2019 Bronze Award

IPA Int'l Photography Awards 2019 Honorable Mention

Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Awards 2019 Silver Award

13th Annual International Color Awards 2020 Nominee in Wildlife

Fine Art Photography Awards Int'l FAPA 2020 Nominee in Panoramic

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craig bill photography 2019

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