Conservation Heroes - Capturing the deep

Date posted: 8 March 2019

Sue Forbes

On International Women’s Day - we’re celebrating one woman who’s underwater photography was featured in our recent membership magazine on underwater heroes.

Sue Forbes has been creating photos for over 30 years, travelling to over 90 countries on all 7 continents. What started as a hobby beside Royal Air Force and Silicon Valley careers is now her main focus. Since 2011 she’s been working on expedition ships teaching photography and guiding from the Arctic to the Antarctic. She’s been recognised internationally, including at this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.

FEATHER STAR, SOLOMON ISLANDS

You hear so much about the bleaching of the coral reefs around the world that it’s so important to recognise and pro - tect the healthy areas. So I was really pleased to see the healthy, vibrant reef in the Morovo Lagoon located by the Georgia Islands off the Solomon Islands where I took this image.

Sue Forbes - FEATHER STAR, SOLOMON ISLANDS

This area is protected by a double barrier and the crystal clear water reflects the blue of the sunny skies above. The image is actually of a marine animal called a feather star, or crinoid, that I spotted while snorkelling in the lagoon. It is a filter feeder with arms wafting with the motion of the sea, feeding on small particles of food that float by. This one is attached to the coral but the adults can also swim from one location to another – although it’s really rare to see that!

They are often seen in the shallows but can be found at depths up to 9,000m! This one was only about a couple of metres below the surface.

I was putting together a slideshow to help educate the passengers on our little expedition ship, to include all the things they were experiencing (and for them to take home and share with family and friends). So I dived down to get a better angle with the brilliant blue of the water behind the feather star and to see the coral and sea squirts below. I had to be sure not to touch the coral or feather star so I didn’t risk damaging anything. We were touring around the islands of the Pacific Ocean and had seen many areas with limited or dead coral so finding this area full of life was a real highlight of the voyage. Taken with Canon G7x Mark ll, Canon underwater housing, 1/500 second at f/4.0, ISO 320 at 33mm.

Sue Forbes - FEATHER STAR, SOLOMON ISLANDS
© Sue Forbes

This article was written for our winter 2018 membership magazine ‘Marine Conservation’. If you’d like to receive our fantastic quarterly magazine straight to your door, you can become a member from as little as £3.50 per month.

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