Word and Image

Archive for June, 2016

Lobster

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The don’t like white light. Great! Tell me after the dive. I learned this on my own, thank you very much. My buddy found it, three in fact. He did not bother to chase down the little one. He tells me this afterward! The first one was impossible. Everything was against me. Current, backscatter, and shyness (the lobster’s). Everyone loves to eat lobster. He knows it too.

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Racial consciousness? You know that a one time in Maine lobster was fed to the workers for dinner. And they objected. There are signs saying that lobster could not be served more than twice a week. I paraphrase but that is the gist. Ugly. I was afraid to touch it. It reminds me of a roach. I hate them too. My book names three different lobsters with the same color markings so take your pick. Lobster! No claws! Funny. The lobster has no claws, the best eating part according to my friends who eat them. And the shrimp around here have claws. Go figure?

IMG_8084Shy but not too bright. A pun. The poor guy would hide from the light but as soon as it was off he’d poke his head out again. They also say that lobsters have a brain the size of a roach. Fine. But roaches are a whole lot smarter. I never got a clear shot at any roach in my house. And they are big too. Remember Raid – Roach Motel – roaches check in and don’t check out? It was a box with roach allure and glue to hold the insect. On night the box shook. I thought we’d caught a mouse. Nope, a big roach came out of the box, shook off his legs, and continued on across the floor. They fly too! But that’s another story. But if you’ve never seen a grown man dive for the floor when a roach dive bombed… no, it wasn’t me.


Green Eyes

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Green eyed dancing shrimp. Hard to photograph. Yup. It’s a fact. Everyone loves to eat shrimp and they seem to know this. So they hide all day and come out only at night and even then they hide under the coral. Their eyes reflect your flashlight. So it’s easy to find them. They are small. And so the auto focus on my camera hunts. It does not often deliver the desired results. So when it happens, that is bliss. Wow. Perfect. He stayed around for me to get his picture. There were many shrimp this night. But this was the guy who made my night and my album. Details. Everything has to come together just so. And if not, then there is a blank space waiting to be filled when I finally find the right subject.


Porcelain Crab and Friends

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At the end of the dive – that long night dive – we were hovering at our safety stop. Three minutes. It’s like praying. You just hover and ponder life. It’s a safety stop! It’s not supposed to be entertaining. But this is the reason I ran out of air. Down in the coral – deep down – was a crab. Look. Two eyes over the left shoulder?

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Ok. I see him. Her? But to get a picture is impossible! How so? It’s deep. The light won’t reach and there will be shadows. The crab is shy! And he doesn’t like the light. And auto focus is stupid. It will focus on the nearest thing. That would be the coral and not the crab.

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I don’t control the camera. It does me the favor of imaging what I point at. And damn! Yes! Got several images. Not great. But I got the eye. The eye is the key to the soul. Ok, too much. But the eye makes the image interesting. Got enough so that you know it’s a crab. And I could even identify him in my book. I think?

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And when I reviewed the images, there was an added bonus. A shrimp. And something else. Obviously they were all hiding there. Maybe they were playing, who’s for dinner?


Goby Blenny Longfin

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We found this one fltting about. There’s that word again. Fish don’t flit. At least, well, it looked a lot like flitting. And I took a bunch of shots and got this one. The spots are to distract and confuse predators. You probably knew that, right? Colorful. And detail! See the texture of the fins. I’m proud I got such a nice shot. Underwater, I don’t chimp much. (Look at the image I have taken. Bet you know that term too.) So it’s nice to see my effort was not in vain. As for the name, it’s not in my book. The picture. So, I’m just guessing here. It’s not a new species. Someone just didn’t get a photo for my book.


Green

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Someone I know loves green. So here are color patterns that seem to go together. I would say I’m partial to red. It’s the color of the Red Sea. Red coral – Red Sea – duh! I was struck by the color when I edited. And I could not resist posting it. Otherwise this is just another pajama nudi on the reef. Oh boy! Like they are always just sitting around for a picture. Actually they move, Not fast but they cover territory and move from one dive to the next. Someone has seen them mating. I’d like to see that to photograph. You won’t see that here. I’m strictly G rated. HA

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Big Pajama Nudi

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How big? Everyone was laughing after the dive. These were the largest any of us have seen on the reef. We are all experienced divers. For this pajama chromodorid, these were quite large. As if a nine-foot tall person would be noticed above the crowd.

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But my pictures are all showing close ups and full frame images. So how to prove or how to make the reader realize these were large specimens? Well, fisherman always lie about how large it was, the one that got away… There were four.

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You see three. The other was not next to the others. Were they mating? That would have been neat to see too. The images here are uncropped. So, you can appreciate that my macro technique is a whole lot better too.

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The equipment doesn’t make the photographer. But it helps to have good euipment. Hmmm do we need a bigger fishing rod?


Willey’s Dorid and Pajama Chromodorid

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Here’s an odd couple. They were coexisting. Friends? Traveling buddies? Fighting? The big guy was picking on the little one? Anyway, it’s an unusual grouping. At this point the Willey’s is not usual but no longer unusual. Nudibranch have rhinopores and gills. You can see them. Sometimes you see them better. My macro work needs more work. I could not quite demo the rhinopores on the big guy.

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Tsk tsk, I think the point was to demonstrate the pairing. It brings up and interesting question. When is enough?

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I shot from different angles, from different focal lengths, changed the strobe settings, zoomed in, focused on parts, got a wide view… then you leave, swim on. At what point do you go? After one image? There was a time with film photography when you had a roll of thirty six exposures (one film roll) per dive.

IMG_6816Wow. My dives are about 100 to 200 images per dive. It’s not unlimited. Batteries run out. That limits your capacity. …unless I get a bigger camera… with a bigger battery.


No Cropping

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Another day, another Christmas tree worm. That’s what it’s called. It does look like an inverted pine. And this allows the worm to retract into the coral and be eaten. Hey! I’m not harassing the thing. But it will retract. No rhyme or reason. Some are more skittish than others. But here two things occurred. I got this beautiful background. And the worm is almost full frame. Huh? It means that I was able to macro image and this is pretty much full frame and uncropped. This is the only acceptable shot of ten that I got. It’s hard to focus. Remember? Everything is moving. I would like to say that I don’t shake. But it wouldn’t matter if my hand did or not. Either you are sharp or you aren’t. There are no excuses. Meanwhile great images accumulate and only a few are posted. I just use random choice to pick and choose. But this worm always makes me smile.


Night Hermit

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Those guys in the last post – the ones taking their night dive specialty – one of them found this at the dive platform. I find the tiny ones. You’ve seen my pictures. No matter. The guy pointed this out with his light. I knew immediately what it was. It’s nothing to look at – a gnarly shell moving on the bottom. But large! How large? The size of my fist. Well, maybe I exaggerate a bit. But it was large. This is nice. It’s a lot easier to see the crab. And so I got a nice shot or two.

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A crab this large is not seen much on the reef during the day. And if it already has a shell, why does it carry around a second shell on its back? Meanwhile it’s my mission to photograph all the hermit crabs I come across. In order to do so you have to turn them over. That would be messing with the wildlife. Sorry kids….

 

 


Cuttlefish

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Hooded. As opposed to non-hooded. It’s not much to look at. And it likes to camo – as in camouflage. So we saw it on a night dive. It’s ugly and really not terribly photogenic. So, you make do. You try to get the eyes. There is one in the picture. And I think he’s winking at me. No, I’m not paranoid. He’s also got this pink antenna like thing in front of its face. I assume front end is where the eyes are. Although they always say moms have eyes in the back of their heads… It was just happy enough to have me leave it alone. And like everything else, I don’t touch nothin.’

As an aside, there are very few people who enjoy night diving. Afraid of the dark? You bet. I think that the mind envisions a big shark lurking in the black waiting to gobble you and your flashlight in a single gulp. Yes, there are sharks. So at night the number of divers dwindle to about 2%. Well, whatever, it’s very very few. Grown men – afraid of the dark!

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Too funny. Yes, yes, I was too – at first. There is a dive specialty for night dives. I never took it. I just did it. The guys I was with were doing the course with the instructor. Funny. My son did a night dive right after his open water qualification. No instruction except for what I briefed him to look out for. He didn’t even have his official card. He was brave. I talked my daughter and him into it. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how many night dives she has done. No matter, it’s pretty straightforward as long as you have your trusty flashlight. They followed me into the murky dark of the Red Sea at night. No one else was there to do night dive. It was New Year’s eve in Jeddah. The water was too cold for the local folk. Looking over my shoulder in the eerie light, I saw both kids holding hands and flashing their lights in all directions with the other. Cute. They never did tell me if they were a afraid of the dark. The highlight of that dive was that they found a hermit crab. When I went to position it for a good shot, they pulled my hand away. No messin’ with the wildlife. Their mother taught them that. I’m much more casual.