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Brilliant Underwater Photo Composites Show Dolphins in Action

dolphin and human underwater

Five photographs were recently commissioned by a Dolphinarium based in Cancun, Mexico that showed their dolphins in action. What were mainly featured were their dolphin’s swim programs. The trick, however, was to show in a single image one of the dolphins performing what is referred to as  a “footpush” for purposes of viewers to understanding  the action. Commercial photographer Felix Hernandez R. based in Cancún, Mexico, was tasked to take care of this project.

underwater dolphin

What the “footpush” is all about is actually quite an amazing feat.  It is an action where one or maybe two dolphins push individuals by the feet through the water. Unfortunately, without the aid of special photography, photos of this activity only show the guest being pushed on the surface of the water. The novelty of the action is hidden from sight.

dolphin moves underwater

Hernanadez’ ­initial idea was to get the photo in one shot. Using an underwater housing kit and the right shooting conditions seemed all that was necessary to get the shot. Things turned out to be more complex than that. Getting the right image needed a more planned approach. This is how Hernandez captured the five shots that would collectively be called Magic Moments.

dolphin kissing human

“For the composite I needed 4 main imagines or photographs: One for the underwater scene with the dolphins pushing the guest. One for the horizontal line that divides what is underwater from the surface. You get that line when you use a housing (it also lends more realism to the photograph). One for the guest being pushed on the water surface, and the last one for the background, in this case, the sky and clouds.” Sounds complicated, but straightforward, however many more details made this a really multifaceted undertaking for Hernandez.

dolphin and girl underwater

Hernandez shot close to 100 photos, where he only got to use two that he felt were worthwhile for a composite. “At the end I think that what really matters, at least for me, is bringing alive your ideas and dreams. For me, this experience was a true “Magic Moment,” say Hernandez.

See his work for the Magic Moments project here.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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