Saturday, April 26, 2014

Announcing a Weekly Series: Favorite Images from my Career and the Stories Behind Them

Hi folks:

Thanks to all of you who have been following my blog posts here at
As of today, Saturday evening, April 26, 2014, this blog has accumulated 64,500 hits.  I'm impressed that there have been so many readers of my blog posts, especially considering that I have not made much effort so far to advertise the blog (hey, I am still new to all this social media stuff). 

Starting this week, I hope to start posting my favorite photographs from my career.  I will announce new posts of photographs on my Facebook "Norbert Wu Productions" page which can be found at:

I invite readers to post questions here or on my Facebook page.  I will strive to answer most if not all questions, and I hope that the discussions will cover photography techniques, locations, business issues, and philosophy.   Once or twice a year, I hope to informally offer the series of images as a screensaver for a small fee.  

Here's the first in this series.  I've been thinking about doing this series for a while, but an email I received today got me thinking that I should start this today.  Here's the email: 

      Dear Norbert
I live in Australia and I enjoy seeing the daily Bing homepage photo and today I saw your amazing photo of fluorescing coral at Palau - it's a stunning shot with beautiful colours.


Thanks Barry!  I always welcome kind words on my work like this.  
Microsoft's search page, found at, features outstanding photographs each day.  They featured my image of flourescing corals today, April 26.  Unfortunately, by the time most of you see this post, it will be the next day.  You can see an archive of images at this website:

 Fluorescing coral off the coast of Palau (© Norbert Wu)


I've been licensing images to Microsoft since the 1990s when Encarta was put out as a CD-ROM.  Am I dating myself?

This image was taken on 35mm film.  This image was taken with ambient light, with the camera on a tripod (or I may have held it very steadily, using a wide aperture and slow shutter speed).  I only used ambient light in order to show the fluorescence of this coral.  The blue of the image is due to the fact that nearly all red and yellow colors have been removed from sunlight at 80 feet, the depth that this image was taken.

I attach a photograph of this same coral head, but in this image, underwater flash units supplied the light.  The colors in the attached image are "realistic"; these are the colors you'd see if you brought the coral up to the surface and viewed it in sunlight.  The fluorescence is there, but the strobe light overpowers it so you don't see it.

Bing has a very good write-up about flourescence.  Here's what the US site had:

At 80 feet below the surface of the Pacific, in the reefs off the coast of Palau, some of the coral fluoresces in what little natural light reaches it. The coral absorbs light of one wavelength—which we perceive as a given color—and emits the light as a new color.

Scientists still understand very little about the function of fluorescence among corals.  Theories range from suggestions that it’s a defense mechanism against predators to a form of sunscreen to guard against ultraviolet rays.

Palau, a chain of islands in Micronesia, has some of the world’s best snorkeling and scuba opportunities for swimmers interested in exploring life on the reef. During the past decade, the government and citizens of Palau have made major strides in helping to preserve the coral habitat off the shores of the islands. Not only are the reefs a source of tourism, they’re the foundation of the broader ecosystem, sustaining daily life for the islands’ residents. 

Next week: another image, one of my favorites (and a favorite of my good friend and "angel" Emily Seifert, who happens to be the  wife of awesome underwater photographer Douglas Seifert), of orcas in Antarctica.  There's a funny story about that image!  

1 comment:

David Fleetham said...

and you can go back seven days on Bing, so you can still see Norb's shot. Check it out before it's gone!