Bali Sea Goddess, Saraswati

09-Sep-2013 Back to Image Gallery

Bali Sea Goddess, Saraswati

Balinese people mostly follow the Hindu faith and have a strong spiritual connection to all things on earth, the land the rivers and the sea. Their temples, architecture and art are a pleasure to behold and I never tire of travelling through Bali on our annual journeys to dive Bali's equally beautiful undersea world. Thus, when I discovered an undersea temple complete with Hindu gods had been created by Balinese divers I was immediately inspired to capture images that combined the beauty of their art and the beauty of their undersea world. A compelling concept and irresistible to an underwater photographer driven by a passion for art in the form of architecture, sculpture and photography. The most beautiful statue in the vicinity of the undersea temple was of the goddess Saraswati. She sat astride a metal structure shaped in the form of a lotus, a lotus now adorned with delicate corals, even an anemone with two clownfish sat at her feet. Schools of damsel fish, wrasse and butterfly fish flittered around her while sunbeams danced above. It truly was a most fitting location for Saraswati, historically once a river goddess, now a sea goddess. One cannot gaze upon her without the hymn of Saraswati coming to mind. "May Goddess Saraswati, who is fair like the jasmine-colored moon, and whose pure white garland is like frosty dew drops; who is adorned in radiant white attire, on whose beautiful arm rests the veena, and whose throne is a white lotus; who is surrounded and respected by the Gods, protect me. May you fully remove my lethargy, sluggishness, and ignorance." A visit to the undersea temple will now have to be a permanent option on our annual Bali Safaris.

Photo Data: Location: North Bali. Genre: Extreme Wide Angle. Photo Data: Nikon D800E, Nikkor 16 mm Full Frame Fisheye lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Sea Flash150 Strobes, Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 200. Exposure f13 @ 1/250th second. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: Extreme Wide angle style is achieved by the use of full frame fisheye wide angle lenses used at very close distance. In this example my camera dome would have been about one meter from the goddess. A fast shutter speed was used to freeze the sunbeams thus producing a curtain of light behind Saraswati. EQUIPMENT COMMENTS: Apart from an extreme wide angle lens it was also important to use very long strobe arms to reduce or eliminate backscatter as there is a lot of plankton and nutrients in the water at this dive site. Dual strobes are also very helpful as a single strobe will often produce harsh shadows when the photographer is this close to the subject.

Interesting Facts: Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge and the arts; she represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. She is typically depicted seated on a lotus, the symbol of Supreme Reality. A white lotus denotes supreme knowledge. This indicates she herself is a goddess of supreme reality & supreme knowledge. Quite appropriate for a Balinese goddess guarding over her marine realm. The steel lotus shaped frame is connected to an electrical cable that is powered by solar panels. This technology stimulates coral growth thus Saraswati is contributing to the restoration of coral reefs and marine life habitat in her region. Other sola powered reef restoration structures are also in place around Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. These structures provide some wonderful encounters with unique marine life.

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