Shine Little Glow-worm, Glimmer, Glimmer…


Glow little glow-worm, glow and glimmer
Swim through the sea of night, little swimmer
Thou aeronautical boll weevil
Illuminate yon woods primeval
See how the shadows deep and darken
You and your chick should get to sparkin’
I got a gal that I love so
Glow little glow-worm, glow

(Click Here to sing along with the The Mills Brothers)

For the past year, I’ve been toying around with a relatively new technique in photography called Flouro Photography.  It is based on the bioflourescence of organisms.  Now, many of us are familiar with bioluminescence, but not necessarily with bioflourescence.  So here is the difference:  A glow-worm produces and emits light.  So do several different types of fish, fireflies, bacteria, and well, lots of living organisms.   As interesting as that is, that is not what I’m about today.  Bioflourescence is when light is absorbed by an organism and re-emitted on a different wavelength than is visible to the human eye.  The way this has translated into recreational viewing is simple.  The viewer must shine an intense blue light on an organism, and as it is re-emitted as a different color, the viewer must look through a yellow tinted barrier in order to see it.  Here’s an example:

White Daisy with green center, re-emits purple and yellow.

White Daisy with green center, re-emits purple and yellow.

This daisy was photographed using a blue light, with a yellow filter over the camera so that the camera’s “eye” could see the color that is emitted back by this plant.

_DSC2830

Here is another example of a “glowing” flower.  In a weird fun-house sort of way, it is more beautiful than it looks in sunlight.

When bioflourescence is viewed at night and under water, the world comes alive with things that may not have even been visible in sunlight.  This tiny anemone looks like a small volcano erupting on a dark landscape.

_DSC5981-Edit

This Lizard Fish is interesting because it doesn’t always emit the same color.  This one emits a greenish hue, but I have seen others that bioflouresce red or orange.

Lizard Fish

Lizard Fish

This organism is intricate and beautiful and all its wonderful detail is emphasized when it is viewed under blue light with a yellow barrier filter.

_DSC6006

 If you are interested in seeing what bioflourescence looks like, you can redneck it pretty simply:  Put blue cellophane over a bright flashlight, and put yellow cellophane in front of your eyes, and go snipe hunting at night.  You might see something you’ve never seen before.  If you are interested in checking this technique out while diving, ask the local dive shop if they rent the equipment.  Many tropical dive resorts now have bioflourescent dives as an option.  I would highly recommend it!

For those who want a little more technical information:  Light and Motion makes a light called the NightSea that is a blue dive light with a filter that can be attached to make it a regular dive light.  They also make barrier filters that can go over your mask and your camera housing so you can see and take photographs.  The photographs above were taken with a wide open aperture about f/5.6, Shutter speed around 1/50th, with ISO set to around 600-1200.  Some experimenting is in order to get the right effect.

I have always thought I must be part mermaid but I have to hand it to Winston Churchill who said,  “We are all worms, but I do believe I am a Glow worm.”

As always, if you enjoy my images please “like” or “follow” me!  You can also visit my website,waterdogphotography.com, or give me a “like” on Facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.
My photographs are taken with a Nikon D7000 in Sea and Sea Housing using two YS-D1 Strobes.

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

Advertisements

All Things Bright and Beautiful


It is a time of thanksgiving and as I have reflected on the season, I can’t help but feel gratitude for the creatures and critters that have left me awestruck by their fascinating beauty.  Some of my posts have focused on the weird and the creep factor of life underwater, but in all reality, it is the beauty that interests me the most.  A picture is worth a thousand words in this case, so I will let my photographs do the rest of the talking:

A Sea Lion poses curiously

A Sea Lion poses curiously

Christmas tree worm

Christmas tree worm

Crinoids and Anthias

Crinoids and Anthias

A Geribaldi peeks at the camera on a beautiful sunny Fall day

A Geribaldi peeks at the camera on a beautiful sunny Fall day

A Hard and a soft coral bask in the sun

A Hard and a soft coral bask in the sun

An anemone borders on the erotic

An anemone borders on the erotic

Please visit my gallery page for more under water photographs!

 

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

Creepy Crawly


The words “Creepy Crawly” often conjure up images of centipedes, spiders, caterpillars, and other unsavory types of insects we would classify as pests.  As I was searching through images I took in Anilao, Philippines, I realized that what we photographers affectionately refer to as “critters” in the ocean, might be considered a creepy crawly if it lived on land.

Dragon Shrimp, AKA Rhino Shrimp

Dragon Shrimp, AKA Rhino Shrimp

The critter in the image above is a dragon shrimp.  Not the kind you might have as a sushi plate, however.  This little guy is only about a centimeter or two in length.  It lives on whip coral and black coral.  The way it clings to the branch of the coral reminds me of a grasshopper.

Zanzibar Whip Coral Shrimp

Zanzibar Whip Coral Shrimp

The Whip Coral Shrimp looks similar to the dragon shrimp, only it doesn’t have three spikes on it’s back.  It does have a pointed spike behind its eyes, though.  These shrimp are translucent, making them very interesting to study closely.

Anker's Whip Coral Shrimp

Anker’s Whip Coral Shrimp

Another Whip Coral Shrimp looks a lot like the Zanzibar, but doesn’t have the spikes on its back.

Anker's Whip Coral Shrimp

Anker’s Whip Coral Shrimp

Here is an ocean-dwelling spider-like crab, called a Conical Spider Crab.  It also dwells on whip coral, and reminds me of a spider getting ready to jump.

Conical Spider Crab

Conical Spider Crab

Broken Back Shrimp AKA Ocellated Tozeuma Shrimp.

Broken Back Shrimp AKA Ocellated Tozeuma Shrimp.

This is one of the larger creepy crawlies, coming in at about 5 cm.  I call this the Pinnochio crab because it’s nose is almost as long as it’s body.

Elegant Crinoid Squat Lobster faces off with a Slender Crinoid Shrimp.

Elegant Crinoid Squat Lobster faces off with a Slender Crinoid Shrimp.

I was lucky enough to spot a Squat Lobster on the same arm of a crinoid as a slender shrimp.  Both are about a centimeter long, and just happened to be facing each other.

Whip Coral Shrimp

Whip Coral Shrimp

My last image is of another Whip Coral Shrimp.  This one matches its host, and is almost impossible to find, making it invisible to predators.  It is also about a centimeter in length.

One of the interesting things about the creepy crawly critters in the ocean, is that they don’t creep me out like the creepy crawly critters on land.  I wonder what the difference is?  It can’t possibly be because of their ability to crawl down my neck, because I did find crinoids creeping up my leg several times while in Anilao, and I didn’t freak out.  I guess it is just another one of the wonders of the sea!

 

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please contact me.

Love Affair, A Nudiphile Episode


I am having a love affair with this tiny little Sacoglassan sea slug called Placida cremoniana.  I know, it all sounds like scientific jibberish, so putting all the big words aside, I’ll just call it PC.

In the past few weeks, I have made several trips out to Catalina Island to search for the tiny beast.  It was necessary to collect some specimen so that their DNA could be analyzed, as they have never been found in California.  This will tell us whether PC came from the bilge of a passing ship, or if it has spread slowly from the south, or if it is an entirely new critter altogether. Interestingly enough, the slug seems to be plentiful in numbers.  I found them as small as 1mm and as large as about 6mm in length.

Placida cremoniana

Placida cremoniana

The unusually warm waters along the Pacific coast for the past year or more have encouraged many warm water life forms to journey north.  Most of the sightings have been of very large creatures such as a Whale Shark, Sperm Whales, Hammerhead sharks, and a plethora of fish such as yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and even Ono.  I was lamenting the fact that I haven’t seen any of these southern visitors yet, when I found this very tiny sea slug.  I guess I should have set my sights smaller in the first place!

Placida cremoniana.  As it turned around, it reared up and showed it's underside.

Placida cremoniana. As it turned around, it reared up and showed it’s underside.

If it is just a warm water visitor, then it may be a temporary condition.  Kinda sad, when you think about it.  If it cannot survive in California’s usually temperate water, then an entire population may disappear from our waters.  When you consider that I have been able to find them on every dive I have been on since I first found one, that becomes a very large population.   I hope to be able to report soon where this critter has come from.  If it truly is Placida cremoniana, then it is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and spread to the western Pacific from Japan all the way to Australia.  Several years ago, one was found in Baja, so the possibility of it coming up from the south is an interesting one.  Stay tuned….

Just for the sake of size context:  the bottom right corner is the texture of the skin on my finger.

Just for the sake of size context: the bottom right corner is the texture of the skin on my finger.

All images are copyrighted by Brook Peterson and may only be used with written permission.  Please do not copy or print them.  To discuss terms for using these images, please use the contact form below.