nudibranch

The Art of Fish Portraiture

Of all of the possible underwater subjects fish can be among the most elusive. It may be difficult to get the proper angle for that once-in-a-lifetime nudibranch shot, or you may not be able to communicate effectively with your underwater model. Fish, however, rarely hold still and they’re lousy at following instructions. They require the photographer to exhibit the most fluid and unobtrusive behavior, while at the same time assessing the fish’s mood and comfort level. The quest for the ultimate fish portrait is the […]

Seeing Spots: Studying the Two-Spot Octopus

While two-spot octopuses are not uncommon in Southern California waters, they are usually found tucked away in a crevice. Thus, when I came across one sitting quietly on top of a ledge, I took a photo. I expected the animal to flee when my strobe flashed but it did not. I took another photo and ventured closer. That’s when I noticed there were two octopuses, so well camouflaged they blended into the substrate.  The cephalopods were about eight inches apart, linked by an arm that […]

Bunny Love: The California Brown Sea Hare

Although the California brown sea hare bears a faint resemblance to a rabbit, it is actually a very large sea slug. A member of the phylum mollusca and class gastropoda, it is a cousin of both nudibranchs and octopuses. Like nudibranchs, brown sea hares are hermaphrodites. Like octopuses, they can produce ink.  The brown sea hare has a reticulated color pattern that resembles that of the two-spot octopus, also found in SoCal waters. And despite the name, these animals aren’t always brown; sometimes they are […]

Soft Bodies, Striking Beauty: Uncommon Opisthobranchs

Some of the prettiest creatures in the sea belong to the phylum Mollusca, most specifically the subclass Opisthobranchia, which includes sea slugs, sea butterflies, sea angels and sea hares, along with sacoglossans. Though they may have shells when they are embryos, most have lost them by the time they are adults. Never heard of sea butterflies or sea angels or know what sacoglossans are? Me, either! So pardon a short digression. While you may be envisioning ethereal creatures, sea angels and sea butterflies don’t look […]

Marine Life: Bad-Ass ‘Branchs: The Mighty Aeolids

In researching last month’s article on dorids, I finally got around to sorting my more than 370 photos of nudibranchs according to their classifications. I also looked for images for that article (on Doridacea) and this one (on Aeolidacea). The majority of nudibranchs are dorids and when the sorting was complete, that was overwhelmingly evident. I had loads of dorid images and they were of several different species. My many images of aeolids, however, were of just four species.  Aeolidacea are named for the Greek […]

Those Darling Dorids: SoCal Nudies Exposed

Many underwater photographers love nudibranchs and I am not the only one with numerous images of these colorful creatures. We Southern California divers are lucky; of the more than 170 species found off the Pacific Coast, a large number live in our part of the ocean.  Most nudibranchs range in size from less than an inch to several inches long and can have unusual shapes. While a few have colors that serve as camouflage, most are flamboyant eye-catchers. They can afford to be highly visible […]

Lions Invade La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores is well known to most San Diego divers. Many local divers received their scuba certification there, including myself. Some divers after being certified at “The Shores” swear they will never dive there again! Many comments from new divers are, “There’s nothing but sand!” Veteran “Shores” divers know better. There is a great deal of marine life in the area and all one needs to do most of the time is slow down and keep their eye’s peeled. This is not to say […]

Improve Your Photography: Get Better Macro Images

Macro photography is generally considered to be a bit more approachable than wide-angle photography by underwater photographers. The lenses and strobes are smaller and less expensive compared to what is needed for wide-angle photography, and macro subjects are easier to find and compose. Importantly, most macro subjects cannot swim away and allow divers plenty of time to practice to get the image they want. With a modest investment most photographers can acquire great images from their very first dive. The first thing to remember in […]

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