A Pat on the Back!


Just as I was leaving for a long vacation last month, I received a few honors that I didn’t get to properly revel in.  Being in a foreign country without internet left me unable to toot my horn, so to speak, so I will belatedly honk away now.

Underwater Macro Photography eMAG  featured one of my photos in their top ten for the months of September/October.  Click on the Magazine link to see all the beautiful images that were featured.  Below is the image of mine that was featured:

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The image is of a Hopkins Rose, a tiny nudibranch that is found in Southern California.  It measures around 5mm and can be seen at some of the Channel Islands and along the California Coast.

Another fun honor, was having my review of Sea&Sea’s YS-D2 strobe published by Dive Photo Guide.

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Take a look at the article if you are interested.  I can’t say enough good things about the YS-D2 strobe.  It is a great improvement over the already excellent YS-D1.

Stay tuned for some new and inspiring images from Indonesia.  I’ve been enjoying a solid two weeks in my under water studio and can hardly wait to process the images and post some of them here.  In the mean time, here is one from Lembeh. 20151124-20151124-_BPP7007

This image is of an anemone fish caring for its eggs.  Both the male and the female will aerate the eggs by blowing water over them with their mouths or their fins.  The male has the toughest job though, because the female will scrutinize how well he does his job, and if it isn’t up to her standard, she will rid herself of him!

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 and please feel free to share on Facebook or other social media.

My 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

 

 

 

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You Win Some, You Lose Some


This post is completely self-indulgent, but I guess when you think about it, the whole idea of writing a blog about my own underwater photography is pretty egocentric.  I recently entered an underwater photography contest in which several of my images placed.  So just to drive the whole ego-related point home, You can see the winners and the losers below.

The contest is a local “shootout” in Southern California, known as the So Cal Shootout.  Underwater Photographers have three days to capture images and submit them for judgement.  There are lots of categories and lots of prizes and most people go home happy, even if they don’t have a winning image because it is always fun to scuba dive with friends.

I entered eight images in several different categories.  I believe all the images are good, but not every image takes a prize, so the losers get to go first:

Entered in Portrait:

Giant Kelpfish

Giant Kelpfish

Entered in Behavior:

Giant Kelpfish Guarding Eggs

Giant Kelpfish Guarding Eggs

Entered in Behavior:

Nudibranch laying eggs

Nudibranch laying eggs

Entered in Macro Open:

Tube Anemone

Tube Anemone

Entered in Wide Angle Open:

A Diver in the Kelp Forest

A Diver in the Kelp Forest

And now for the lucky winners:

Best In Show and First Place in Wide Angle Behavior

Sea Lion Blowing Bubbles

Sea Lion Blowing Bubbles

Third Place in Open Macro

Simnia Snail

Simnia Snail

Fourth Place in Open Behavior

Sheephead Eating a Sea Urchin

Sheephead Eating a Sea Urchin

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 and please feel free to share on Facebook or other social media.

My 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

Are You My Mother?


Spring is in the air and it seems like all the little animals are twitterpated.  Outside my kitchen window, two sparrows are building a nest, and a robin has already laid eggs in my wisteria bush.  Under water, similar developments are taking place.  Each time I dive, I look for animals with eggs, or nests of eggs.  The attraction of documenting new life is irresistible to me.  Perhaps it is my maternal instincts, but I often wonder if these little creatures ever know who their mother is?

Cardinal fish with fresh eggs
Cardinal fish with fresh eggs

Cardinal fish are fascinating in that the male fish will gather all the eggs in his mouth and brood them until they hatch.  He will periodically open his mouth wide, and aerate the eggs.  When they are pink, as in the image above, they are newly laid.  Later, the eggs will turn silvery and the eyes of the fry will be visible, as in the image below.  In this case, the babies may hatch to discover who their father is, but wonder about mommy.

Cardinal fish with well developed eggs

Cardinal fish with well developed eggs

Another parent who stays with its eggs until they hatch is this tiny goby.  Sometimes, both parents will care for the eggs, aerating them with their fins.

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Both male and female yellow bearded gobies stay with their eggs until they hatch as well.  These fish lay their eggs deep inside the hard corals where they live to help protect them from predators.

Yellow bearded goby with eggs

Yellow bearded goby with eggs

And in the image below, a male and female robust ghost pipe fish await the arrival of their brood which are developing inside a pouch which the female has made between her pelvic fins.  The interesting thing here is that after the eggs have been deposited into this pouch, small branches will grow from her skin and attach to the eggs.  It is thought this acts as a sort of umbilical cord.  Although the robust ghost pipe fish is related to other pipefishes such as sea horses, it is the female, not the male who has the brooding pouch.

A male and female Robush Ghost Pipefish with eggs.

A male and female Robush Ghost Pipefish with eggs.

Clearly, there are responsible mothers AND fathers in the kingdom of the fishes.  We may never read about the tiny newborn fish who wandered around asking the kitten, the hen, and the dog, the cow and the snort, “Are You My Mother?”

 If you enjoy my images please visit my website, waterdogphotography.com, or give me a like on facebook at Waterdog Photography Brook Peterson.
 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

 

California’s Underwater Halloween Party


To celebrate Halloween and in honor of all things orange, I thought it might be fun to go through my archives in search of images of orange sea life found in California.  Of course, the top prize goes to last weeks post of the orange and black nudibranch that made it’s first appearance in California.  But surprisingly, there are quite a few creatures of the orange persuasion in the sea!

 The Geribaldi is the California State Marine Fish.  It is found mostly in shallow coastal waters in Southern California.

Geribaldi

The male fish builds a nest of red algae every year in the same place, attracting females to lay their eggs.  The female will check out several nests before she decides on one.  These fish protect their nests while they are brooding.   They are the largest of the damsel fish.  I have found that I can attract them to me by tapping two rocks together.  They are curious, and unafraid of divers.

Geribaldi protecting it's nest.

When a juvenile, the Geribaldi has bright electric blue spots.

Juvenile Geribaldi

The Spanish Shawl is a nudibranch that takes the cake when it comes to dressing for Halloween!  It’s orange mane and purple robe put it fully in the Halloween category, but those maroon colored rhinophores make it very eccentric.

Spanish Shawl

Sea Stars are a rarity nowadays along the California coast because of the devastating Sea Star Wasting Syndrome that has been wreaking havoc on our echinoderms.  I found this guy just last month, and was intrigued by it’s texture and color.  He is certainly a survivor as he is the only sea star I have seen for months.

Texture on the back of a Sea Star

This Skeleton Shrimp gets double Halloween points.  One for being a skeleton (well not really, but they look like they are), and one for being mostly orange.  These guys are tiny (only 5 to 8 mm long), and have so much character.

Skeleton Shrimp

Here is a Bluebanded Goby that is found all over the place in Catalina.  They are tiny and this one was hiding in a deserted tube worm’s hole.  When he poked his head out, he seemed to have his tiny teeth barred.

Bluebanded Goby

Last, but not least, and certainly not all of the orangey types, is a Simnia.  This is a kind of snail that pulls its foot up over it’s shell.  It is very hard to see while under water because it appears brown and is perfectly camouflaged with the sea fan it lives on.  But just add light, and WOW!

Simnia

Waterdog Photography, Brook Peterson wishes you a happy and safe kickoff to the upcoming holidays!

 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.

 

 

Hare Today, Goon Tomorrow!


Little Bunny Foo Foo went hopping through the forest,

picking up the field mice and bopping them on the head!

Down came the good fairy, and she said,

“Little Bunny Foo Foo,

I don’t want to see you,

picking up the field mice and bopping them on the head!

I’ll give you three chances, and if you don’t behave, I’ll turn you into a goon!”

If Little Bunny Foo Foo was a cute and furry (albeit obnoxious)  little rabbit, then meet his evil goony twin, the California brown sea hare!  The first time I saw one of these brown slimy lumps of flesh in the ocean, I thought I had discovered a new creature.

Two Sea Hares coiled in a ball

Two Sea Hares coiled in a ball

Sea Hares are rather large; about the size of a big rabbit, and are so named because of the two tentacles on their head that resemble rabbit ears.  Until a few weeks ago, I thought they were an interesting novelty in the ocean, but not particularly photogenic.  Their eggs look like a big pile of spaghetti and they often hang around their eggs long after they have been laid.  A few weeks ago, I found a dive site that had many, many Sea Hares.  They were a bit smaller (maybe more like the size of a rat), but finding nothing else more interesting to photograph I began looking for ways to make the ordinary look a little more extraordinary.

Small Sea Hare

Small Sea Hare

Suddenly, the mottled patterns on the skin became beautiful, and the waving tentacles fascinating to me.

Sea Hare Head

Sea Hare Head

When I got the images up on the computer screen I discovered a tiny “eye” on the front of the head.  They have eyes?!  They really are goofy looking creatures, or should I say goony?

So, Little Bunny Foo Foo, it appears that you really were turned into a goon!

The “Eyes” have it!


I have often heard that the eyes are the window to the soul.  We view the world around us through our eyes, and we express our innermost feelings through our eyes.  Couples fall in love by gazing into each other’s eyes.  Truly, the eyes are one of the most important aspects of our persona, because so much more than vision is conveyed through the eyes.

In the under water world, eyes are very important.  Some fish have large markings that look like eyes to make them look like a predator.  Some have camouflaged eyes so that their prey don’t know they are looking.  Some eyes are very tiny, and some are hugely out of proportion to their bodies.

There are many songs that have been written about eyes. Poet-Songwriters have described all kinds of situations, feelings, and circumstances by singing about eyes.   I thought it might be fun to view the underwater world through some of these song titles:

First up:  “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue” by Crystal Gayle

Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

Fun Fact:  Hermit crabs have very expressive eyes and they come in all colors, including polka-dot!
Hermit Crab

Hermit Crab

Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles

The Stargazer buries itself in the sand, with only it's eyes exposed.

The Stargazer buries itself in the sand, with only it’s eyes exposed.

These bottom dwelling fish have lyin’ eyes.  They are hard to see, and don’t really convey the danger “lyin” in wait under the sand.
This flounder's eyes look like the sand around which it has buried itself while waiting for it's prey.

This flounder’s eyes look like the sand around which it has buried itself while”lying” in wait for it’s prey.

Can’t Take My Eyes off of You”  by Franke Valle

Conch Eye

Conch Eye

I Only Have Eyes for You” by The Flamingos

Anemone Fish Eggs with eyes developed

Anemone Fish Eggs with eyes developed

 Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

Scorpion Fish affectionately called a "Lion fish"

Scorpion Fish affectionately called a “Lion fish”

Behind Blue Eyes”  by The Who

Frogfish with lure.

Frogfish with lure

Eyes without a Face” by Billy Idol

This fish is a deceiver.  It looks like it has one huge eye, so that larger fish think it is bigger and more menacing than it is.

This fish is a deceiver. It looks like it has one huge eye, so that larger fish think it is bigger and more menacing than it is.

And last but not least:

Cotton-Eyed Joeby Rednex

Cotton-eyed Mantis Shrimp

“Cotton-eyed”  Mantis Shrimp

Click Here for Interesting Facts and Video

The Mantis Shrimp have the most interesting eyes.  They move independently and are sometimes cross-eyed.  This one is a Peacock Mantis

The Mantis Shrimp have the most interesting eyes. They move independently and are sometimes cross-eyed. This one is a Peacock Mantis

 

 

How Would You Like Your Eggs? (Part 2)


The eggs featured in this post come from a variety of sea beasties.  The interesting critter below, is a Hairy Shrimp.  The first time I encountered one, a guide was pointing it out to me.  I looked at the end of his pointy stick only to see a tiny bit of moss (no bigger than half my pinky fingernail) floating around some leaves.  I looked closer at the leaves, and rocks, thinking he meant something hiding underneath.  The guide tapped my shoulder and again pointed at the bit of moss.  So I shrugged and took a photograph of the moss, just to make him happy.  Later, when I looked at the image on my computer, I noticed there was an eye in that bit of moss.  I asked another photographer what it was and was shocked to find out it was a Hairy Shrimp.  Needless to say, I began hunting for the furry bug, and soon found this one, which has a clutch of eggs filling her back half.

hairy shrimp

In keeping with the “shrimp” theme, I found several other types of shrimp with eggs.  These two are glass shrimp.  One has a tight round whitish ball of eggs, while the other has a more developed pinkish clutch.

Glass shrimp with eggs

Glass shrimp with eggs

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The largest shrimp I have ever encountered is this Peacock Mantis Shrimp.  She was about 7 inches long and carries her eggs in between her front legs.  She was not happy about being photographed, and tried to flee and hide under rocks and coral.

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

This one simply stayed put in her burrow, and showed me her babies from her front door.

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

Peacock Mantis with Eggs

Here a Coral Crab shows off a carapace full of eggs.

Coral Crab with eggs

Coral Crab with eggs

This Simnia from Southern California is busy laying her egg sacs on this Red Gorgonian.

Simnia with eggs

Simnia with eggs

Nudibranch eggs are commonly seen on reefs where Nudis are found.  They are often laid in a spiral pattern.  These Nudibranchs were “holding hands” near a spiral of nudibranch eggs.

Mating Nudibranchs with eggs

Mating Nudibranchs with eggs

The world under water is full of fascinating behavior.  I am particularly interested in how diversely aquatic creatures reproduce.  So how would I like MY eggs?  With salt water of course!