From the pictures and the dates, it would appear that I last dove only a few days before I departed Saudi. Decompression protocol says you don’t dive 24 hrs before you (fly) leave. It looks like I got on a boat dive with the Filipinos. Nice! I learned this trick in my last few dives. All the nondescript shells on the reef harbored hermit crabs. Turn over the shell and voila! A hermit crab! Isn’t that a neat trick? Well, I guess the hermit crabs weren’t so amused. … giant clams, Christmas tree worms, clown fish, and pajama nudibranch numbered among my photographic subjects. One two three nudibranch, unusual to see them grouped, they are loners on the reef. Bright colors mean, danger, eat me and you will be sick. The details are what standout in these last images. My dive days are pretty much over, now.
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.
They come in many colors but the anatomy is essentially the same. There are two fans with feathery ends. And there is a central trumpet structure. I shot these before and always the detail was brought out with some aggressive enlargement of the image. Here I have unretouched images with just the close up lens to thank. No cropping. Nope. Cool. The depth of field is shallow. So to get the image in focus is a challenge. You settle for what looks pleasing.
This suffices until I improve and get an even more splendid image. Yup, you keep shooting and trying to get better.
Close up macro underwater photography. You need a close up diopter. There are many but the de facto model in use here is a #10 model which I just ordered. My dive buddy loaned me his lens for use a couple times and I have images to post before my spiffy new lens arrives. I feel like I borrowed his toothbrush but I guess the loan of a lens is not quite that personal. And so it’s on to a new learning curve. Focus and settings are different. And I am doing this with gloves on. My fingers were so cold I could not last to the end of the dive not being able to feel the tips of my fingers. I found dive gloves without fingertips. That will help. And meanwhile I muddle onward. Focus, light, and composition are all different. Detail! Suddenly, maybe, there is too much detail. Or, there is not enough to really appreciate the whole sea creature. Nah! Among experts, this is pretty much ok. Detail work is more about seeing what the average reader and diver cannot see. A dive instructor/photographer intimated…”I can’t see what it is that I’m taking pictures of; the subjects and details are so tiny.” Ah! The emperor’s new clothes. Equipment makes a difference. But the photographer makes the image. You can do well with a point and shoot camera. But you can do better with cameras that do what you want when you want it. Therein lies the conundrum. At what point does the price exceed practical desire? For professionals, there is no price too high for the latest greatest gear. And for the advanced amateur it is a matter of what your wife will object to when you don’t get the new refrigerator you need. Yeah, I had a ton of American Express reward points and fantasized over a new Macbook computer. We got a refrigerator. Yup, brand new and spiffy, delivered shortly after she discovered my points. Hey! We needed a new refrigerator. Yeah, right! And Christmas tree worms? Well they are so called because they are worms. And the stick out of the coral and retract when disturbed. And the tops that stick up look like upside down pine trees.
The come in different colors and they are neat subjects to photograph. I saw two close by. I got images. They usually retract but this pair was cooperative. I shot. The images are not perfect but the detail work is pretty awesome. It’s a jump up from enlarging a small portion of my image. Yes, this is macro photography. Another day, another lesson, I’m still self teaching myself on the fly and getting images that keep me interesting in getting better.
I promised Carol not to have so many fishies. Sorry. But it is my passion of late. I could show gory operations but blood is red and it’s hard to distinguish things. I love these guys. They come in many colors, blue, yellow, brown… I don’t know who decided they are worms. I fished with worms and they are not like these. They do not wiggle and jiggle. They sit there on the coral and will disappear at the hint of danger. So there is something that must like to eat them. They stick up like an upside down Christmas tree. There is a horn like structure in the middle. There are always two trees straddling one horn. I like yellow and blue not brown and green. But I don’t get much choice. They are tiny and hard to photograph. But then you might not know that. So I’m telling you so.
You know, perhaps you don’t, or you weren’t paying attention… did I mention the first lesson I learned in med school is that at any given time only 25% of the audience is listening. In that case repeat yourself… repeat yourself… if you are paying attention I apologize for repeating. I did a post right after Christmas. They are tiny and fold away in an instant. So for me to get one with detail is not easy. We look everyday at images and think nothing of it. The Nat Geo guys shoot sharks breaching like it is easy to see and easy to photograph. Well, it ain’t. You spend a ton of time hoping and waiting. I have said it before, I am glad this is not my day job. Meanwhile I hope that you appreciate that this is pretty and damn hard to do.
How appropriate! Right after Christmas I am able to sneak in a dive shot that works for the holiday season.
These tiny creatures are about ½ inch in size. I do not see them too often. Now I have found a group of them and will take the opportunity to get better shots. The colors vary. There are blue, brown, yellow, and orange so far that I have seen. There are usually two trees that stick up and then there is a smaller side projection. The worms will disappear folding themselves into nothing as soon as danger is perceived. If you swim upon them and slowly move closer you might get a shot. But the tiny subjects are really at the limit of my camera’s ability.
Yes. Camera envy. I could get a much more expensive set up. Then it would be really like work. And there is the heartbreak if the camera gets wet and dies. And remember I am doing this for fun. Yes. Yes. It is for fun. There is a fine line between madness and fun.
This is a worm. At least the reef guidebook says so. They contract and disappear when danger is about. The worm is on the reef in the shallows. It seems they like the sun. It looks complicated and it surely doesn’t look like it moves. They are seen in different colors. They are tiny and easy to miss. You still have to sneak up on it or it will contract and disappear.