From Sea To Scenery

Azizul: “Abang Rahmat submit je gambar yang abang Rahmat suka.”

Me: “Alamaaaaak…bukannya ada yang elok pun. Orang lain ambik gambar dengan strobe dua tiga. Kita ambik habis tinggi ada LED light kecik aje.”

That was part of the conversation I had with Azizul when he pestered me to submit my best photos for an event called A Day if Photographic Memory – Underwater Sceneries of Malaysia. I have never done underwater photography seriously; those photos were just aide memoire for me of my trips. Anyhow, I submitted a few.

Sometime late January, I was informed by the Program Manager, Miss Hanim Pahron, that one of the photos I had submitted, have been chosen to be displayed at the National Art Gallery. The first question that popped was: “Which one?

The day came. During the slideshow presentation, they showed this photo of mine:

Chromodoris magnifica at Kador Bay
Chromodoris magnifica at Kador Bay

But when we went up to the gallery, I was surprised to find that the photo chosen to be displayed, and later be part of the gallery’s permanent collection, is this photo:

Me with my photo of a Scorpionfish at Mabul displayed at the National Art Gallery
Me with my photo of a Scorpionfish at Mabul displayed at the National Art Gallery

And now this photo of mine has become part of the National Art Gallery’s collection, part of the nation’s heritage…now that is an ultimate DIVE SATISFACTION.

THE STORY BEHIND THIS PHOTO:

Scorpionfish beneath the Seaventures

It was the third of our five day trip to Mabul and Sipadan, and the first dive that morning was beneath the Seaventures. There were two other dive boats there, one from BDMR and the other from SMART. Therefore there was a lot of divers beneath the surface converging upon the same area. The main attraction there are the frogfishes (Angler Fish) and the Pygmy Seahorses. And they were all there snapping away.

So, I ventured alone and found this big ugly creature and approached it slowly, well aware of how painfully poisonous it is. It reared its venomous and spiky pectoral and dorsal fins…I stopped and did not look directly into its eyes, for fear that it might interpret me as a predator. I waited for it to calm down and gained its trust before moving in closer for this shot.

I didn’t give this shot much thought as not many are interested in Scorpionfishes, preferring nudibranchs and other strikingly beautiful fishes instead, but this one has made it into the archives, and has made me smile.