Jessica Haydahl Richardson shot this photo of a 230-pound blue marlin 35 miles off Venice, Louisiana, earlier this year. She was aboard a SeaVee 390Z with Capt. Moe Newman of Journey South Outfitters, and the team had just tagged the fish. As Newman released the marlin, Richardson leaned over the gunwale and plunged the first 5 inches of her Nikon D810’s 180mm dome port into the water. She held the shutter button and hoped for the best, since she couldn’t see what the camera was capturing. She calls the technique “spray and pray.”
Richardson had experimented with partial lens submersion, though not with a marlin. The result is a perfectly framed glimpse from above as the fish swims away, its new tag a shimmer of neon in an otherwise blue image.
Richardson, who posits that she might be the only female photographer who shoots sport fishing full time, does all of her underwater work from boats. She says she jumped into the water once to photograph a sailfish, and she didn’t last more than a minute in the briny. “Being in the water with a fish with a sword on its face, fighting for its life, isn’t safe,” she says. And photographing from the boat hasn’t held her back.