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
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Three’s A Crowd


I thought it might be fun to participate in the Weekly Photo Challenge since the theme this week is one of my specialties!  These yellow coral gobies make their home inside an empty beer bottle.

THREE'S A CROWD

THREE’S A CROWD

To learn more about the weekly photo challenge, click HERE.

San Diego Sampler


It could have been the dead sea lion, or the tope sharks, or maybe the fascinating topography, because today I discovered that La Jolla Cove is one of the best kept secrets in Southern California scuba diving.  Besides all the great sea life, the cove was perfectly flat with no surge and visibility a staggering 50 feet or more.  (Unusual for Southern California shore diving.)

I had planned to photograph nudibranchs and other critters, even though I knew there were lots of large animals in the area.  I thought I could compromise by taking a 60mm lens which would allow me to photograph both tiny critters and basketball sized animals.  However, the larger creatures were more abundant and the only tiny critters were a few MacFarland’s Chromodorids:

MacFarland's Chromodorid

MacFarland’s Chromodorid

On a relatively larger scale, I found an octopus defending her hole,

Southern California Octopus

Southern California Octopus

And several lobsters who have survived this season’s lobster hunt.

Lobsters

Lobsters

One of the most interesting things, if not the most morbid, was the carcass of a sea lion that was covered with sheep crabs who were scavenging for food.  At this point, the lens I had was not sufficient for the whole scene, so only a single sheep crab was captured in the frame.  The whitish material is the sea lion.

Sheep Crab picking flesh off a sea lion carcass.

Sheep Crab picking flesh off a sea lion carcass.

Also spotted on this dive were four tope sharks which were too far away to photograph, but were nonetheless exciting to see.  I am eager to visit this site again as it appears to be a treasure trove of marine life.

 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

Feeling Crabby?


To some, the mention of “crab” conjures up images of warm butter sauce and crab claw crackers.  I will admit, that I am fond of a good mouthwatering crab claw, but today I was feeling a little crabby, and not in a hungry, appetite sort of way.   The crabs I am thinking of are too small for human consumption, although I’ve seen a wrasse gobble them up without a second thought.  I have accumulated a good number of crab images in my underwater adventures.  It is remarkable that the crab family is as huge and diverse as it is.  There are hundreds and probably thousands of different crabs and they are all on a photographer’s “hit” list as far as shooting them goes.  One of the features I love the most about crabs is their eyes.  They have very interesting claws too, but their eyes are curious and colorful and seem to portray depth and intensity.  Many people may regard crabs as the spiders of the sea, but unlike spiders, I have no fear of crabs.  To me they are fascinating creatures who deserve to be acknowledged for their contributions to the balance of the marine environment.

Spotted Porcelain Crab
Spotted Porcelain Crab

This beautiful Spotted Porcelain Crab lives among the tentacles of anemones.  It has feather-like appendages that it uses to sift the water for plankton and other tiny nutritious micro algae.  The feather-like fans are like little hands that reach out and grab tiny meals out of the water and stuff them in the crabs mouth.  It makes you wonder why he has such big claws?

Spotted Reef Crab or Seven Eleven Crab

Spotted Reef Crab or Seven Eleven Crab

Big claws certainly belong to this Spotted Reef Crab.  Its carapace can get up to around 7 inches wide.  It is also known as a Seven Eleven crab in Hawaii because it has seven spots on the top of its shell, and four along it’s back side.  In Hawaii, there is a story of a hungry god who caught the crab and was pinched by it, drawing blood.  Although the hungry god got his meal, the crabs descendents still bear the god’s bloody fingerprints on it’s shell.

Mosaic Boxer Crab
Mosaic Boxer Crab

One of my favorites is this boxer crab.  It looks like a bruiser with it’s slitted eye pattern.  This one especially so as it has a tiny anemone growing over it’s eye that just resembles a black eye.  These crabs hold a tiny anemone in each claw that they use for defense.  The anemones get their side of the bargain, too.  They get transported around so that they can more easily grab nutrients from the water with their tentacles.

Orange Hermit Crab

Orange Hermit Crab

Hairy Hermit Crab

Hairy Hermit Crab

These hermit crabs represent a huge population of crabs that live inside a shell, coral, or any other object (even rocks) they can climb into.  It is their eyes that mesmerize me.  They can be virtually any color, but the blue-eyed ones are my favorite.  Up close, you can see into their depths.  Their iris bears an uncanny resemblance to human eyes, and their pupils follow you around like those creepy statues in the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

Hairy Squat Lobster
Hairy Squat Lobster

This image is actually a squat lobster, and not a crab, but it deserves mention anyway.  It is covered with tiny hairs and lives on huge barrel sponges.  It is also a bit flamboyant with it’s purple veins, pink body, and orange eyes.

Orangutan Crab

Orangutan Crab

The Orangutan crab is often found on bubble coral and has turned under claws at the end of its feet that resemble an orangutan.  They are sometimes orange or brown, and often red.  Their bodies are covered with tiny hairlike fibers which seem to accumulate debris.

Soft coral Crab or Candy Crab
Soft coral Crab or Candy Crab

Soft  coral crabs like to hide down in the coral and have to be coaxed up to the top to pose for the camera.  This one has a friend on it’s shoulder.  They have red, multidimensional eyes that seem to see everything at once.  Sometimes they accumulate “weeds” that begin to grow on their bodies making them resemble decorator crabs.

You can see more of my images on my flikr stream or at  waterdogphotography.com,
Also, I love to make new friends!  Please visit my facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/waterdogphotographyunderthesea
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.

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.

Are you a Nudiphile 2?


In the early months of this blog, I wrote about my obsession with nudibranchs.  I had discovered that I favored browsing the internet for photographs of nudibranchs, which led to the realization that I was a nudiphile.  Since that time, I have gone into underwater therapy  a number of times to see if perhaps I could be persuaded by other critters.  But no, the tendency only worsened.  The sluggish things are so colorful and charming.  They seem to smile at the camera and I just can’t help but stop to photograph them.

Pikachu Nudibranch  AKA Thecacera picta

Pikachu Nudibranch AKA Thecacera picta

This little lovely (above) is known as a Pokeman or Pikachu nudibranch.  It belongs to the Dorid family.  They are about an inch long and are one of the more interesting slugs in the sea.

Hypselodoris kangas
Hypselodoris kangas

This colorful Hypselodoris was the only one of it’s kind to grace me with it’s presence.  For some reason, it reminds me of a clown, although less humorous and more refined.  Perhaps it is a French clown.

Chromodoris (similar to Willan's Chromodoris)

Chromodoris (similar to Willan’s Chromodoris)

Here a Chromodoris appears to be wearing a jeweled crown.

Batangas Halgerda

Batangas Halgerda

One of the amazing things about nudibranchs is their ability to blend in with their environment, or their ability to stand out in their environment.  This Batangas Halgerda does a little of both.  It’s body stands out, while it’s rhinophores and gill branches resemble plants in it’s environment.

Hypselodoris
Hypselodoris

These two breeding hypselodoris are wonderful to photograph because of their creamy pinkish coloring that looks like glass.

Yellow-Tipped Phyllodesmium  (Phyllodesmium briareum)

Yellow-Tipped Phyllodesmium (Phyllodesmium briareum)

Unfortunately for this Yellow-Tipped Phyllodesmium, it is a tasty meal for fish.  Most nudibranchs seem to be left alone perhaps because their remarkable coloring announces they might sting or be poisonous.

Halgerda Reticulidia  (Reticulidia halgerda)

Halgerda Reticulidia (Reticulidia halgerda)

Here’s an interesting specimen.  Hey, you got a bug on your face!

Solar Powered Phylledesmium  (Phyllodesmium longicirrum)

Solar Powered Phylledesmium (Phyllodesmium longicirrum)

Here’s another example of a “blender.”  It looks so much like the soft corals in it’s environment, that you have to search for the rhinophores to determine if it is a coral or nudibranch.  Of course, the corals don’t crawl.

Twin Chromodoris  (Chromodoris geminus)

Twin Chromodoris (Chromodoris geminus)

This guy has a mantle that flaps up and down as it crawls across the sea bed.  So intriguing to watch, it is no wonder my fetish for sea slugs is only growing.  Admit it.  You are a closet nudiphile too.