I have heard that story about the discovery of alcyone. very cool that you have a personal connection to it.
I am interested in your camera settings because the colors in your pictures are tres bien! Ils sont magnifique. The colors are dark, saturated, and "rich". The blue water is beautiful. so, i am interested in your camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, iso) and how you produced the dark colors. I have heard that a higher aperture setting (small opening) will make the background blues darker. it seems to me that if you under-expose the shot and use strobes to light the foreground, you'll get this effect. anyway, good job!
Thank you very much for your nice comments about the dark and saturated colors of my pictures. I received many comments saying the opposite, too dark, too blue, too satured, but I don't care, as this is the way I like the BLUE
I am using the following path:
Usually you have to set the exposure based on the spot metering on the water column.
I do it, but I underexpose my picture using a higher aperture (small opening). I have no concerns to go between f/14, f/16 or even f/20 depending of the amount of light available.
For the shutter speed, i rarely go under 1/60.
ISO: this is the trick, I compensate under exposure with higher ISO (250, 320, 400). New bodies provide high quality shots even with high ISO.
For the blue itself, it will depend of your color calibration on your camera.
On Nikon, I choose "landscape". I manually change the landscape settings on my D90 body: Accentuation is +2 grades, Contrast +2 grades, Saturation as is, Hue as is and luminosity +1.
Then, for my strobes, I use them full speed.
You can visit my photostream on flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/bigeyebubblefish for each image that you like, click on "more details" on the right side of the page, you will access EXIF with all infos about the shot.