New Nudi’s! A Nudiphile Episode


After a somewhat disappointing week in the Caribbean (photographically speaking), I came home and did three days of diving along my beloved California Coast.  What a wonderful week it has been!  The ocean seems to be coming alive again after taking a break over the winter.  The warmer “El Nino” waters seemed to have been detrimental to our local small marine animals, but now they are making a comeback.  I found many species of nudibranchs and their eggs on my dives and even some I haven’t seen before.  Here are a few of my favorites:

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This nudibranch is actually a headshield slug called a Navanax.  It is carnivorous and will track it’s prey (other nudibranchs) by following their slime trail until it catches them and eats them.

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This Hopkin’s Rose is one of my favorite nudi’s.  It is very small (about the size of a fingernail).

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This was one of hundreds of Hermissendra crassicornis that were all over the rocks.  I haven’t seen any for a few years, so this was particularly exciting.

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Here is a Porter’s Chromodorid, which is only about an inch long and seems to be proliferating in the Laguna Beach area.

MacFarland's Chromodorid

MacFarland’s Chromodorid

Porter’s cousin, MacFarland was also present and accounted for.

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There were so many Hermissendra crassicornis at this site that they were crawling all over the other nudibranchs, including this Diaulula sandiegensis (San Diego Dorid).

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And to my great joy and satisfaction, I found this Polycera tricolor, a nudibranch I have never seen before.

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Lately, I haven’t seen the nudibranch in the above picture (which I discovered a year ago at Catalina Island, and which has not been defined yet), There have been reports that it is alive and well on the island and hopefully here to stay in California.

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog!
These photographs are taken with a Nikon D810 or 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
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Welcome to Aquaholics Anonymous!


One year ago I “came out” and admitted being an aquaholic with the following blog post. I am here to report that my condition has intensified. Are you an Aquaholic too?

Waterdog Photography

Hello. My name is Brook, and I am an aquaholic. I crave salty water and don’t care whether it is warm or cold. Being in and around the sea lowers my inhibitions and allows me to express myself openly through digital film.  While I enjoy photographing the miniscule creatures under the sea, I occasionally shoot wide angle scenes as well.   What is your favorite type of underwater photograph?  Do you prefer reef scenes or unusual creatures?  If you are a diver, where is your favorite place to dive and why?  Please feel free to post your comments in the “comments” section below.

Anthias on a coral reef Anthias on a coral reef

Crinoids and Anthias Crinoids and Anthias

Duck Billed Shrimp Long Nose Rock Shrimp

Pygmy Seahorse Pygmy Seahorse

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Underwater Photography 101: Dehaze Your Underwater Photographs


Adobe Lightroom has a nifty new tool that is especially helpful to underwater photographers. My friends, Todd Winner and Michael Zeigler, have written this great tutorial with lots of examples to help you get acquainted with it. I look forward to making the “Dehaze” tool a part of my workflow.  For a quick video on how to use it, click HERE.

Samy's Underwater Photo News & Tips

By Michael Zeigler and Todd Winner

Adobe recently rolled out their 2015 update to the Creative Cloud suite of products. Amongst a myriad of enhancements and performance boosts is the Dehaze effect. Also included in Photoshop, the Dehaze feature in Lightroom lets you eliminate fog and haze from your images … and it even works for underwater images! In addition, you can also add haze for an artistic effect.

Dehaze In the Lightroom Development Module, the Dehaze slider can be found at the bottom of the Effects Panel.

We took a few images and tested out this new feature in Lightroom CC. The results are impressive, and we will most likely be adding this tool to our workflow with some images. Just like all of the other great tools in Lightroom however, it is really easy to over do it. A little goes a long way!

Test Images

The series of images…

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The Cenotes of Mexico


I love traveling and although I have been diving in the Caribbean several times, I could not resist the opportunity to return.  This time, our destination was Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  With plans to dive Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, the cenotes, and visit the whale sharks off Isla de la Mujeres, it should have been a week of fantastic photographic opportunities.  Not so.  We arrived late due to mechanical problems in our airplane, to a tropical storm that lasted for the next two days.  We ventured in to the water after the storm only to find 5 knot currents and 15 ft. viz.  Hmmm.  What to do?  Well, we decided on a visit to Chac Mool, one of the beautiful cenotes which was not affected by the weather.

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I was pleased with the beauty of the cenotes.  They were just what I expected. The calm, cool water was beautiful when the light from the surface peaked through and cast beams of light down into the caverns.

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The water was fresh and clear and yet in just this one spot, the light coming through had an eerie green cast to it.  The water there also had a distinct layer between the hazy salt water on the bottom, and the clear fresh water on top.  I have heard that when the two layers have not been disturbed you can see your reflection in the salt water layer while diving in the fresh water layer.

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At one time this cavern was not full of water, but was a cave.  With time, stalactites formed on the ceiling, and then the ceiling collapsed and the cavern filled with water.

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Diving through these caverns is a great experience.  It was as if you were exploring a cave by floating through the air.  No slipping or climbing involved.  Just serene floating and an occasional kick.

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog!
These photographs are taken with a Nikon D810 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

Sea&Sea Alpha and Scuba H20 Adventure Magazine


I have been involved with Sea&Sea Underwater imaging for a little while as an Alpha in their ambassador program to promote Sea&Sea Underwater housings and strobes.  H20 Adventure Magazine has written this nice little article about the program.  Currently Sea&Sea is interested in expanding the Alpha program.  If you are interested in learning more about it, or becoming a Sea&Sea Alpha, this article sums up the details nicely.

SCUBA & H2O Adventure (2015 06) SS Alpha (1)-1

SCUBA & H2O Adventure (2015 06) SS Alpha (1)-2

SCUBA & H2O Adventure (2015 06) SS Alpha (1)-3

For more information, visit Seaandsea.com, or ScubaH20mag.com

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog!
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

Underwater Photography 101: “Azure Blue” Tips for achieving a beautiful blue background


Beautiful blue water behind a mesmerizing subject is one of the goals that every underwater photographer strives for.  It is not always easy, especially if the water you are diving in isn’t a beautiful blue!  This tutorial will address a few ways you can achieve great backgrounds in-camera, while giving your images a little creative punch.

Snake Pit small

Underwater photographers shooting with a DSLR or compact camera with a manual mode, have several options when it comes to capturing the color of the water behind a subject.  These options include the ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and strobe use.  I always shoot in manual mode when I am under water.  It allows me to control how much light reaches my sensor.

In the photograph below, I used a higher ISO to boost the ambient light in the image.  In this case, I had the ISO set to 500.  This allowed more color and light saturation.  Historically, DSLR’s have a lot of “noise” when the ISO is higher.  However, the newer cameras are capable of getting a finer image with a higher ISO.  This can be a great advantage to the underwater photographer.

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Aperture is one of the tricky concepts when trying to control ambient light and get a bright blue background. Opening up the aperture does allow more light and may be necessary if you are using a high shutter speed. If for example, you are trying to freeze the sunbeams coming down through the water, you would want a high shutter speed to stop the light (1/250th or higher) and meter the background for aperture, so the sun isn’t too bright. This image has a shutter speed of 1/320th (the highest speed my strobes can sync with). The aperture is f/11.

A Hard and a soft coral bask in the sun

A Hard and a soft coral bask in the sun

If you are using strobes, (and sunbeams aren’t a factor) I advise using an aperture of f/8 or above, and metering into the blue water for the shutter speed.  The ISO may need to be a bit higher as well. The strobes fire at a fraction of the shutter speed and will freeze the subject so you can use shutter speeds as low as 1/13th, 1/25th, or 1/30th for close focus, wide angle shots, and macro shots.  The image below has an ISO of 200, high aperture at f/18, and very slow shutter speed at 1/13th.  The strobes fire at about 1/1000th of a second, so the movement of the subject is frozen because it is only lit up for a fraction of the time the shutter is open.

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Macro shots can be very interesting when they utilize ambient light.  This tiny nudibranch was created using a higher ISO (400) and shooting almost directly into the sun to get enough light to expose the blue background.  Because I wanted a sharp focus on the entire nudibranch, I stopped down the aperture to f/36, and the shutter speed was metered against the sun to 1/80th.

Placida cremoniana

Placida cremoniana

It has been very trendy lately to get a black background behind your subject.  To achieve this, you need to have nothing but water behind your subject, and a high shutter speed.  Here is the same nudibranch with drastically different settings:  ISO 100, f/36, 1/320th.  This lets in no ambient light.  Only the strobe lights the subject.  Which image do you like better?

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If you are new to underwater photography, you should spend some time experimenting with the aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings on your camera.  Light plays such a big part in creating images, that it is arguably the most important concept to master as a photographer.

If you have questions, or suggestions for underwater photography tips, please feel free to leave comments below.

As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here atwaterdogphotographyblog!
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

 

 

 

The Colors of the Sea


The colors of the wind, the colors of a rainbow, and the colors of the mountain have nothing on the colors of the sea!  One of the most beautiful places to see beautiful underwater reefscapes is Verde Island in the Philippines.  This island has an interesting history.  In 1620 the Spanish galleon known as Nuestro Senora de la Vida, sunk off the shores of this island.  It wasn’t until 350 years later that this ship was discovered and excavated.  Now the currents have washed the remains of the ship away, but shards of blue Chinese pottery from the ship’s galley can still be found on the shores of the island.  Some of the local people collect the broken dishes, vases, and tea sets and make them into jewelry, or sell the pieces to tourists.  Some of these shards can even be found in paving stones in some of the local resorts.  But this isn’t the reason tourists visit Verde Island.  They go there to dive the very beautiful reefs that surround the island.  When there is a lot of current present, the corals will open up to feed and this is what makes the reefs so beautiful.

In addition to the beautiful corals and anemone's, fish abound.  These beautiful pinkish fish are anthias.
In addition to the beautiful corals and anemone’s, fish abound. These beautiful pinkish fish are anthias.
Here a crinoid or feather star has crawled out on the tip of the coral to catch planktonic nutrients as they pass by in the current.
Here a crinoid or feather star has crawled out on the tip of the coral to catch planktonic nutrients as they pass by in the current.
This massive sea fan is not only large, but has a beautiful color that compliments the schools of fish.
This massive sea fan is not only large, but has a beautiful color that compliments the schools of fish.
The variety of corals and anemone's on this reef are astounding and beautiful.
The variety of corals and anemone’s on this reef are astounding and beautiful.
This coral head is one of my favorite images because of the diversity of life surrounding it.
This coral head is one of my favorite images because of the diversity of life surrounding it.
As always, if you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.  Don’t forget to follow me here at waterdogphotographyblog!
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