This colorful guy is a regular on the reef around here. The horns and the tuft are the essential elements in the image. The fact that there is a second one present suggests a period of procreation? I was delighted to test out the flash once more. I can get this image without added lighting. But it was fun to isolate the animal with even and more predictable lighting.
Nudibranch. I was diving with some heavy duty photographers. They all had big rig cameras and lights over $5k. I had my point and shoot Canon. No camera envy. I got the most out of my camera and won’t have heartache if there is water that gets inside my housing. It will hurt but I will not have a heart attack. Down at around 80 feet there were two. Same species and they were big. The subject doesn’t move fast so you have plenty of time to get a shot. What you try to illustrate is the tuft and the horns. Looking closely it is easy to see them.
Meanwhile there was some very expensive glass shooting while I stuck my Canon into the fray. Knowing your gear is a key to getting a shot. At this depth I utilized flash to get more natural color. Do I have camera envy? In this case, yes. But the price is prohibitive. Note to self – the price is prohibitive.
This was a big one in relative size about two inches in length. It was still hard to see. But the horns are a part of the picture. You try but don’t always catch them. And, no, this time I did not play with the wildlife to get the shot. Finding nudibranch is like the game we played in school where you had to spy objects in the classroom. Once I show you where to look and my enlarged image, hey, it’s easy. No, every time down does not result in a sighting.
This one is fairly common on the reef. It is not easy to see but you do run across them. The key again is to try to see the horns. If you don’t play with the wildlife then the scene and the background are determined by your subject.
This particular one is not common on the reef where I dive. Yellow black and white, it should be pretty distinctive too. But no it’s not easy to spot. It is tiny. So it’s easy to miss it. One of the senior divers spotted it. It is courtesy to point out subjects. Then it is on me to get an image. I did.
Okay another but it’s different than the other. My dive buddy kindly pointed this one out. It’s the size of a penny. At 60 feet color is not good. I tried flash but no good. It was uneven. I took my best shot. The focus was dead on. You can see tuft and one horn. Not too bad. This one is not common on the reef. I have only seen one other.
Another rule in the sea: anything brightly colored should be avoided. From my reading these creatures store poison in vesicles, which it releases when threatened. So the bright markings are a warning. The shot you need is to see the horns and the tuft. These two guys were not too far from one another. I lifted a prayer rug and there they were. Prayer rug? Yes somebody discarded a rug into the sea. And the one on the white coral is striking in contrast. The actual size is about that of your little finger nail.
Now that I recognize the anatomy, I can say that it’s a nudibranch. I would otherwise I would have called it a snail. It was slowly moving along the bottom all stretched out and vulnerable. It’s soft bodied and seemingly unprotected. I have to credit Farid on seeing it. He is the best finder. I’m always missing things. And to think he wears glasses but doesn’t wear them when we dive. I have to ask him next time, whether he is wearing prescription lens on his mask. I found out that they make them but I don’t actually know if he uses a pair. He sure does find some great things.
I have seen these creatures infrequently and usually singly. We were swimming along and I found four – the fourth is just above on the coral and out of view. Maybe they were gathered to mate. They have rhino horns in the front and the frond in the back is for breathing. I read it somewhere. You want to have both ends in focus when you shoot. And I didn’t know there’s a footpod. Once again the first time you get an image you feel so lucky. After that you try for the classic image. No, I didn’t Photoshop and clone these three together.
Before I knew what to look for I had taken several pictures of different kinds of nudibranchs. Some of them look like little bits of coral debris. I now know better. They don’t look like much and they are generally small. You need to keep a sharp eye for different. This one I had seen in another picture somewhere so I knew to get some shots before my dive buddies disappeared from view. I can’t say how I know, but it just isn’t coral. Looking and finding is like playing ‘I spy.’ So when you actually come across one, it’s a fun find. They don’t move much and certainly move slowly if they do. You’d think they are easy to find. But no, it’s not easy at all. So even yesterday’s post had one very similar. I had taken the shot but didn’t know what it was at the time. I follow the thought, when in doubt shoot the image if the subject is different from what you usually see. It can be hard to know you got the focus right. With this image, I knew better and got in for a good close-up.
This is a very broad category of soft-bodied marine gastropod mollusks. I got one, then two. The identification is somewhat suspect since they come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. So I show some things tiny and colorful which may or may not actually be a nudibranch. At least one has been seen on the appropriate web page of examples. This colorful tasty morsel without an exoskeleton just seems to be saying, ‘eat me!?’ Wow! Two together… mating?
They can retract fast… really fast. But if you sneak up, you can get some great shots. They are just so small that it’s hard to get the details and focus accurately. And I’m wondering who came up with this name? I was lucky to come upon some examples as I perused the web pages for identification. As i have said before it’s taking your ‘own’ picture that challenges me, not the ‘seeing’ in a book.