Ok. I got a question. Feather duster worms are fixed to their spot. They don’t move. You see them solitary embedded in the coral. How? How do they procreate? You know, make little feather dusters. How? So here’s the answer? They are seen together. In all my previous dives, I have never seen two together. And here! Well there was a pair, and a moment later a trio. Really! Someone I know says that a lot. Really! She said it once. I’m just repeating. …and repeating…and repeating.
Anemone and clown fish are symbiotic. It means that the fish is protected among the tentacles which are poisonous. And the fish chase off other fish who come round to annoy the anemone. Eat the fish I say. Then eat the anemone. It doesn’t work that way. The poison rubs off on the clown fish. So fish and anemone are symbiotic. Get it? The pictures show the mouth of the anemone? I don’t know.
Anyway it is usually not covered in gooey gel. This was odd. No one could tell me about the gel either. Some things you observe and then make up explanations in your mind. It’s kind of like religion. Nope, strike that. This is not a political blog.
I have lots of shots of turtles now. And, I’m getting in close too. Maybe it’s the same turtle? Familiar face? But no, this one had a barnacle on its back. But they all look alike, pretty much. And so they are common enough to yawn and not get excited. Except, they are not common to see. Maybe now and again so they remain special to sight. And they have a pattern. Like everyone else they swim away. No human encounter or curiosity for them. But they also like to swim in circles. So if you stay still, they may come around to pass you.
And if they do, you get a close up shot. Got to be ready. And got to have the light balanced for what mode you shoot in. Available light or strobe, it’s vastly different and you have a moment to prepare for its close-up. I never said it was easy, which is why it’s so neat to encounter a turtle.
The crystal ball as I call it is shiny and reflective. It really is a coral. I see it frequently enough and saw it in my book depicted with the same ball shape as you see. It needs a little polish, eh? And black and white? Or should I say white and black. Camouflage and confusion keep predators from targeting you. For me it is a matter of getting the right exposure. I think I’ve finally caught on. It’s like shooting snow. My recent shots are better. I always seem to over expose the light sand. No, you do not get to see an example. Trust me (I’m from the government and here to help…)
Ok, if you must, and want to, know, I use an underexposure now. Then I bring up the light to get everything to be more evenly exposed. It’s still a work in progress.
Graphic subject and dramatic lighting, I used to get this on night dives. Now with the strobe and my current settings everything is more exciting. It’s hard to go back to available light.
The soft coral is just so picturesque with strobe. It’s named nephthaidae. I noticed my dive buddies would shoot this coral each time down. Some coral just look great with balanced daylight. And the feather duster worm is self-explanatory. Yes, it shrinks and closes up as soon as you touch it. Remember, don’t play with the wildlife.
TMI – too much information. See the horns? It’s an unretouched photo. Yes, it actually looked like this.
So, after yesterday’s post you have questions. The horns at the front are rhinopores – chemosensory receptors. And the frills at the back end are gills. The Spanish dancer is so named because in the water it moves like the skirt of a Spanish dancer. You can imagine the frilly edge. And it is quite colorful. And, no, we did not play with the wildlife. I would have, but too many people were all around. But it would have been fun to watch it dance. And so I took my pictures and cleared out so the next diver got his chance. What is hard for me to understand is how one is happy just to see the animal without getting a trophy image. I don’t need a stuffed head or anything. But if you saw it and don’t have an image, did you see it? I’m so excited that I saw this! And, it’s my blog and I get to post what I like.
I have seen this nudibranch, technically not a fish, the famed and almost mythical Spanish dancr. I see it every time I dive. There is a picture on a poster at the dive center. It’s not rare. Other divers have seen it. You don’t see it during the day. But on a night dive this is something like a quest for the unicorn. I have seen this nudibranch once in three years and many night dives later. In other words everyone jokes with me that we will see one and I never do. So it was “world night dive” night. Everyone went on a night dive together at 20:15 in keeping with the current year. How nice! Twenty plus divers under the sea with lights and noise and flash and…. So no way we are going to see a Spanish dancer. This is a big nudibranch – about a foot in size. Most are tiny tiny, not this big guy. And bright red and just sitting on the coral waiting, oh my. Yeah. We all got shots. One is enough. They all came out. No fiddling with the camera. The exposure was good from the first image. So I got my shot. And I will tell you it was an outstanding dive. And I will tell you that the next night dive I will quest once again. Have I told you how many divers I know are afraid of the dark? You dive with a buddy – always. I tell my buddy if my light suddenly goes out, it means that he is shark bait. You’d do that to yours too, wouldn’t you?
Jules discovered this trick in Photoshop while we were editing our underwater images. It’s a shortcut. Command shift L. Hit all three keys at the same time and you autolevel. It punches up color like nobody’s business. Really! It works so often that it is the first thing I do with underwater shots. Suddenly the image has contrast and looks so much better. How? I really don’t understand how the algorithm does its magic. And if you ask Jules, she would faint to speak of a mathematical term. She artistic. Which means she only needs to know the end result and how to do it. How and who figured this all out? Well, it was the good fairy.
It’s an eel not a snake. Looks like a snake, huh? But snakes don’t breathe underwater and we are definitely under the water. This slippery guy is hard to catch. It hides. And it stays out of the open. It can slip into a tiny opening in the coral and be gone before you can raise your camera.
We do not mess with the wildlife, remember? “Don’t touch nothin’!!!” So I was very happy to capture these images. You just have to be alert or have a good dive buddy who points and gesticulates and then gets out of the way while you go for it. Yeah, this is pretty uncommon. But like all things, I have seen this eel before.
And now you are too, again. I don’t mind telling you that this is not something you just go down and yawn, “Been there done that.” That said, look closely at its face. He’s a butt ugly bastard.
One fish, two fish, Dr Seuss… Mostly the fish swim singly. There are schools. They swim in bunches. Lion fish and porcupine fish are solitary. Lion fish will sometimes be seen together. But rarely have I seen two porcupine fish together. This might be odd. After all where do little porcupine fish come from? But you just don’t see them together. Maybe they are nocturnal? I can’t ask and they won’t tell.