Another new one! I have never seen this. Actually it looked more like a random coral. It actually photographs quite well. But the muted color underwater fooled me. Now that I made you look, it resembles a party dress.
I would never have noticed it except for my dive buddies. Everyone had a shot at getting an image. Then they moved off along the reef. The problem with subjects is that they move and you don’t see them again. So take your best shot. You might not get another for a long time if ever. The nudibranch moves slowly as measured in millimeters a minute. But they move. And this guy moved under the coral.
Bad for my shot, so… I played with the wildlife. I moved it gently and got more shots. Ok, I thought I was free but Marie asked me if I had moved it after she swam away. Don’t ask don’t tell. You must admit the name is pretty clinically boring for a rare subject. Technical note: if you shoot underwater, and most of you don’t – I now understand strobe lighting better and how it makes better images. How did I do without it? Here I used a fast shutter and increased the F stop. The lighting was really nice. Maybe next I go over to two strobes.
I have not seen this until now. Interesting color pattern, the large spots make you think the tail is the front end of the fish. It reminds me of a cartoon. Who thinks up these patterns anyway? Nature and genetics, it makes you wonder how this pattern was adopted.
To me this is colorful little tidbit. So the story follows. We were at the end of a long cold dive and doing the three minute stop. I’ve learned not to put my camera away at the end of the dive. There is always something that shows up when your camera is secured. And this time I was not disappointed. This little guy was just flitting in and out and under the coral. He was tiny and skittish. We played peekaboo. I got shots.
My spiffy camera let me enlarge the image and still be serviceable. I love seeing things right at the end. When I looked up, everyone else had hustled out of the water and was warming in the sun. I never noticed the final cold minutes. Um? Read the title and tell me which is the one spot?
Open mouth. Lionfish are common on the reef. They are considered to be pestilence in some places because they eat all the reef fish. To aquarium owners they are a rather striking addition to the collection. And I have seen them often enough that you almost ignore them. Usually shy I am usually pointing my lens at their back and tail. So it’s not much of an interesting shot anymore. The newbes love them. First time underwater and all that… but me, I’m pretty much bored with the subject. We were cold and near the end of the dive. A stately lionfish was drifting in open water. They never swim fast but always swim away when I approach. Huh, I’ve told you that most fish don’t like big things (me) blowing lots of bubbles and swimming toward them with something pointed in their face.
This one challenged me. He stayed at 90 degrees watching me with one eye. And then he turned. My shot! Head on straight and I looked into his eyes. You can see the bubble of his fish eye lens. Yes, that’s where the term comes from. I have this shot too. Many times over…but! He opened his mouth. Fish don’t do that! Occasionally maybe sometimes I have seen this. But he opened his mouth right as I was aimed and focused and exposed. Oh shoot! Got it. A single frame. Yes, there are so many unusual shots people are no longer amazed and they are truly jaded. Well, I got it and it’s my image and I did it. Proud! And my dive buddy in a turnabout proudly showed me his frame in profile. Right place right time, I scooped him on this shot. Yeah, turnabout. Yay!
It’s a gold spotted flatworm. Names aside, it is a black flat thing with golden spots. The name – duh! I have never seen it move. Any time I ever encountered it was a black leaflike thing that just was a curiosity and a few images. It’s got a head! Well at least there are horns.
And it flies! Imagine that! The dive was going along and I was seeking things to image. If I say shoot, people think I’m using a gun. Yes, I got that question once. An elusive trunkfish was swimming away under a coral and as I gave pursuit, there in front of my eyes… a flying gold spotted flatworm. No! They don’t fly. Right. It’s not possible. Read: Disbelief! Yes, I love finding unexpected things.
The first time someone pointed this worm out I thought it was just some black debris on the ocean floor. I image everything and discovered it was a creature later. They don’t fly! But, to my utter amazement this guy was undulating in open water and headed for the coral to land. Yes! I got pictures. Great! I called over my dive buddy and he got a spectacular shot. Yes! I’m embarrassed. He shot a couple images and got a true Nat Geo image. No, you don’t get to see it. It’s his image and this is my blog.
But the image was exposed perfectly and showed my camera lens aimed at the flatworm from the opposite angle. Phenomenal! I thought I had a good shot but his was a learning experience for me. So, now I’m experimenting with technique and getting better. New and improved.
Look closely. There are tubular structures on the side of an octopus’s head. They expand and I assume this has some respiratory function. It surely isn’t the mouth. That would be a single structure. I think most animals have one mouth and two nostrils. Hey, maybe I’m wrong and there’s one nose and one mouth. But fish have gills and they are paired. Right? Well, the point is for you to look. I sure did. I have too many octopus pictures to put in another post. Except, I’m fascinated.
This guy has his tentacles in his mouth and nose? Both sides and I count six tentacles. For me this is a first. I don’t know the behavior but I can tell you that I have never seen a girl admit to or pick her nose in public. It’s a boy octopus.
I can’t tell you how many times I have taken an image and missed another. That is to say, a fish I would love to have a picture is chased while an equally great fish is there in the periphery. I saw a trunkfish. They are extremely shy. And they are wary. So I pretty much never get a shot. While chasing down this fellow I pretty much stumbled upon a snowflake moray.
No trunkfish today, the moray is much more rare. I’ve only seen one once for an instance. Off on a quest, and this guy was on the move. I chased him up and under and around coral. I caught the attention of my buddy who joined in. But I had the inside edge. I got a few headshots. Yellow nostrils, ugly, just like the picture in my book. Right about that moment my dive guru returns and checks on the two of us and discovers we are in decompression mode….
I made a mistake diving. It did not end in catastrophe. I was with an instructor and I mistakenly depended upon him to keep me out of trouble. We ended the dive in decompression mode and I sat for 18 minutes and he for 24 minutes at 10 feet. It’s a long story but I do not yet understand the conservative algorithm for my new dive computer. I knew it was warning me. I failed to go to the dive ceiling point and the computer penalized me. No big deal. I was out of air. I am not a fish in water. The usual dive buddy, also an instructor, saved us with a spare tank and we cooled our heels at ten feet. The water was relatively cold. Everyone around here has been staying away because it’s January. And of course, I set a personal record for time underwater, in the cold (shivering) at 101 minutes. It’s a lesson I shall not forget. Please don’t worry. We were smart enough to listen to the warning eventually and were never in true danger. Nonetheless, I question the physiology of the difference ten feet will make on nitrogen desaturation. I may question but I still follow the rule. Oh, the shot I have is the last shot I took before I headed to the decompression area, like the penalty box in hockey. Yup, I had to cool my heels. And brother, it was cold sitting around that extra time.
Well actually it’s a countdown. This featherduster worm is pink to my eye underwater. I was surprised that it is not so brilliantly pink with a strobe. What you don’t see and I never show is that these worms react and will shrink up when threatened. No, I did not threaten this one. I can’t curse underwater. But the sequence is here to see. I never got a sequence as the worm closed up. Dumb luck, diver, not worm.
It’s a decent image. But the point here is that the image represents a story. After time spent in the old city I detour to the Red Sea again. I dove at Christmas. And though I am an accomplished amateur diver there is much to learn. I was given the opportunity to dive with a nitrox mix in my tank. This was a 38% mix of oxygen. It allows you to stay down at depth for longer than with room air 21%. I have two dive computers. The second one was not set for nitrox and it was bleeping unhappily for a couple days afterward. Fortunately my spiffy new dive computer was accurate and kept me safe. It’s a Suunto – made in Finland – and widely in use around here. It has a computer cable to hook up and download the dive memory to your computer. It doesn’t work on a Macintosh. (Just a bit of public rebuke for Suunto who has thus far been clueless on how to solve this problem. Hint: I’m still waiting for an answer and am pissed.). Meanwhile I’m more than nervous about a nitrox dive. It’s a new experience. You don’t mess around underwater. Safety! I was warned my bottom was 85 feet. Do not go below 85 feet! You won’t explode but the enriched oxygen is not good for safety below your bottom limit. And…. this electric ray was at 89 feet! I drifted down and shot a few images and then was scolded and sent higher. Nothing happened; the sky did not fall. And I got a shot. In medicine we use high concentrations of oxygen to treat medical problems. But I am not familiar with underwater concentrations and how they affect physiology. Some late night reading…
No silly. It’s two animals. Did I mislead you? I’ll switch back to land soon. I’m just posting stuff I’ve seen recently and catching up. So you land folks, there’s a change coming soon. I caught a turtle. It’s probably because the water is cooler and the animal was lethargic. We saw it and I took off to get a photo. I was actually about a foot away. No, I did not grab it or play with it. And it still swam faster than me. I was surprised to catch up. Maybe it’s my spiffy split fins that helped?
And then someone pointed out a ray. This was one of the deep water ones. You see them swimming up and down the reef. I was too far away to get anything but a taste. Someday…. Meanwhile, I have this poor image. But it’s an image…