I got eggs! Be suitably impressed please. I don’t think anyone has this shot. And if they do, great and good luck to them. I have another somewhere. I’ll post it when I edit it later. But this was an unexpected find from the dive I made this past weekend. The senior and more experienced dive photographers as making fun of me. I have discovered what they have known about before me. I just discovered how to find hermit crabs. Ho hum. No big deal. Right! I’ve been tormenting all the hermit crabs that will come out to play on the reef. The others just shake their heads and photograph something else. I’m old. My vision is not what it was once. Add motion, and blurring with a dive mask, and then a gentle current pushing you around, and finally a subject that would rather you leave it alone. You cannot stage this. You can’t even know what’s going on. You certainly can’t see the eggs when you shoot the image. This crab is small. The eggs are miniscule. Yeah, wow! I have to say that this is pretty good. Right place, right time, luck is a great thing. Or as our neurosurgery departmental motto went: “It’s better to be lucky than good.”
I’m behind. You’d never know it. A day late and a dollar short… So this is what I did yesterday. Maybe I’ll catch up to myself soon. Diving. Tax day and other significance…. Shhh! It was the big one. Yeah, alone, but not really. But I did this selfie. My dive buddy thought I had nitrogen narcosis or that I’d run out of air. Fortunately, it was just insanity. He kept on going with just a nod to mania.
I decided to do a selfie. It ain’t easy with this rig. And it was a matter of lighting and…. Well, shoot, it worked. Those are bubbles not blemishes. And the wide-angle does nothing but distort my appearance. And the mask and the regulator don’t help either. So off with the regulator. Don’t lose track of it; or you’re gonna have trouble on the very next breath. I’m writing so I managed to do it. Auto focus does a lot. Got the exposure on the first try.
And then the pose. Well, you can’t do much better. Hey, it’s a selfie.
And what else did I do while diving? Why, I found more hermit crabs. I got the hang of it now. I find them all the time, almost at will. Imagine that. I’m a hunter. I’m a tracker. I just discovered nature. Neat So, this is out of the box and unedited. Really, no enhancement as in no plastic surgery or photoshop stuff.
I can do this but it’s still a work in progress. I need better focus technique. My subject is very small, shy, and does not wish to be disturbed no way no how.
Here is an example of how pitiful things can be. See the eyes? I was pretty clueless. And this was only this past summer.
I got these images on a night dive. That would be diving under water in the dark. No, silly, we use flashlights. This is an entirely new and different experience. Yes, your imagination runs wild. I have friends who are afraid of the dark. Really? Yup! The usual, a shark will get you. He sees the light and comes for dinner. Well, you know that I have been told that the shark sees the light and thinks you are a bigger fish. So they stay away. To which I ask, “Whoever spoke to a shark to find out? And did all the sharks read the same rule book?” My strategy: Always dive with a buddy. Duh! Basic diving 101. And…if a shark comes along, turn off your light. You might have to explain how your buddy was eaten…. So, I got a hermit crab. I saw a shell tumbling. In the dark! And it was a hermit crab! Neat! I got a really bad picture which I was pretty proud of until now. Yes, it’s a pitiful picture considering the luck I’ve had lately. He read the same rules about sharks that I suspect is closer to the truth. Be ready to turn off the light….shhhhh.
And then there was a shrimp inside a coral. Their eyes reflect the flashlight. The problem is that they retreat from the light. So you’ve got to play peek a boo. Well, about all I got was the glowing eyes. Yes, it is only a matter of time before what you thought once was good, was not so good after all.
So what are the odds…in the very same next dive. You know the second dive from yesterday’s post. Following along here? Yes! Ali found this at the end of the dive. Oh! Ho hum…ahem.
Another? Yes! And red! And feisty. We’d turn the shell over and this little one held onto the coral! Yes! My exposure and focus were good. And we were at the end of the dive again. How much luck can one have in a few dives. I don’t think I’ll see this again. But wait!
Oh well, the next dive I did see another hermit crab. No shot. Drat. They all look different if you’ve been following and paying attention. No doubt there, right? But my dive book is woefully poor at distinguishing the names. So for now we’ll just go with generic hermit crab.
Hey, it’s about the image, right? I got color, focus, action, exposure, detail, what more? Priceless. I know. I’m congratulating myself. It has been a wild sequence.
Another shell appeared and there was another hermit crab! Wow! It was the end of the dive again. I carried that sucker back to the safety stop. Farid was frozen.
Ali, my other dive buddy, was hovering patiently overhead. I was down till my air was nearly depleted. And I got the shots. I took the shell with me. Sorry kids. And then on the next dive, Ali got to stage his own shots of the crab. Neat!
Yes, I played with the wild life. Sorry! He survived and we put him in a nice cozy new place. And he will live happily ever after….
So what are the chances? The very next day. Another shell fell and tumbled and I found another hermit crab! We were headed back to home. The dive was nearly over. Cold and nearly out of air… My buddies had headed toward the safety stop. I snagged this shell. The hermit inside was not very active nor accommodating. Drat! I placed it on a background coral and waited. It peeked a couple times. Mostly it was reticent. So, I did a bad thing. Sorry, kids. (Mine hate me to play with the wildlife) I took the shell to the pier and planned to bring it back on the second dive and continue the shoot. Unfortunately, the weather was a problem. A storm…the one I wrote about….that sandstorm….well, it was blowing about and the second dive never happened.
I had Mr Hermit in a bottle of sea water. I think they can breathe on land? But anyway, I had to abandon him and dumped him back into the sea without getting a proper close-up. At least there’s something to talk about. But…. Darn! I’d like to have had a little more time….
Say wow! Really! This was a find! I happened to be shooting a nudibranch and the shell tumbled in front of me. Voila! I was curious and turned it over. The crab inside was active. Too bad for the snail that once lived here. My luck! We played peek-a-boo for a while. My dive buddy’s camera had malfunctioned. He hovered while I shot away.
Depth of field is near zero at macro. I learned a new trick. Make your aperture small. Well, it’s a good tip if you understand the terminology. And for anyone else it means that the eyes and the claws were hard to get into focus at the same time. But the detail using the close up lens was priceless. I didn’t know the claws had hairs. And I shot and shot. It takes a lot to get the technique, exposure, and focus. Yeah, it ain’t easy. I’m posting three shots. I could pic a favorite. But there isn’t a perfect image. And besides, you can see I got it about right three times.
Can you see the difference? I do. I’m a hard critic. I’ll get better at this. I appreciate more than you will ever know – how it is that the Nat Geo guys get the pic: Patience, perseverance, and luck. Yes, luck! Yup, I feel lucky. Right place, right time, and with right gear. Oh boy!
I would be happy with any image and got none the first dive….nada, blank, nothing….equipment malfunction…like that wardrobe malfunction during superbowl… only no fun at all.
Did you ever wish you could do something over? My first dive of the day was over before the first image. Memory card error! Maybe I just forgot to put in the memory card after I downloaded my images from yesterday. Dementia? I’m old enough. Oh bother and worry! Nope it was simply a contact issue. I found out later. So, the water is cold but I simply explored. I looked and poked and saw what there was and did not take a single picture. My my! It was torture. And if you know me, it truly was a hard thing to be freezing and cold and not be able to shoot a single thing. I followed the group and was as good a sport as I could be under the circumstances. Everyone else was happily shooting away.
Ah! A shell. I guessed and I was right! It was the home of a hermit crab. And he was home! And he was active. He did not like his shell being turned over. He was hiding. So for about five minutes I turned it over and watched him turn the shell back. Hey! A shell game!
No image, camera malfunction. I was heartbroken. I’ll never have another chance like this again. One of the group wandered by but was pretty blasé and didn’t even take a shot. He simply nodded and moved on.
Drat! I still think about that shot that wasn’t. I know I’ll never see it again. Underwater things are not found by landmark. I pass something, turn around, and can’t find a thing that I just saw the moment before. No! Not dementia. The landmarks are simply too confusing. It is akin to directionally challenged on land. And to the many women in my life for which this applies, you know who you are and what I mean. I used to hang back leaving a restaurant because someone I knew always walked in the wrong direction from the car. You would think the odds are fifty fifty. Nope. About 99 to 1. Second dive: I was banished toward the upper reef. It’s a long story short. I had been in “deco” the day before and was not to be diving deep and really not even diving. Sorry mom… And then low and behold! Wow! I recognized the spot and the coral and the shell! Yes! Happy day! I actually found the shell and the hermit crab. And I got to shoot him to my hearts content with a spiffy close up diopter that I was given loan. And I got shots! The crab would stick out his legs and claws and right his shell and hide. And I would tip it back over and over and shoot and shoot. Yup! Good shots, good focus, good exposure and… a do over!
The picture is confusing. I’m still doing shots from the time of Ramadan a couple months back. The hermit crabs are hard to appreciate. Look for the eyes. They are hiding in shells. They don’t want to be seen. You don’t see them during the day. So this was a night dive. It’s dark all around you. Big fish are out there in the murky night waiting to eat you. The soundtrack for the movie “Jaws” is running in your head. I was with five other divers. No, we did not get lost or separated. But I was hanging with a guy I had never buddied before. I did not know he was good. But! Yes!! Good! He was seeing stuff in the dark (well, with a flashlight) and I was shooting what he was seeing. At the very end of the dive, we were all waiting to go in. We were at the decompression stop. He looked down and then pointed and then we all went nuts. Flashes were popping. Two! Count ‘em. Two hermit crabs were scuttling away trying to avoid capture and eating. Yes, that was the exclamation to the dive. Thank you!
I could not quite get color balance perfect. But the crabs are distinguishable, even though they are ugly.