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:


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.


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


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.


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.


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).


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


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,, 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

Jelly Fish Soup!

The amazing and beautiful jellyfish is one of the more photogenic critters in the ocean.  It is really lovely to behold, until it stings you on the lip.  I find it surprising that I can be completely covered in neoprene except for my mouth, and the jelly fish can find that one bare spot to sting.  Luckily, it isn’t so potent that it affects my dive, except that I move deeper to get out of the jellyfish soup.


There are other beautiful pelagic floaties in the soup as well. This one was decorated with iridescent lights and beautiful innards and no stinging involved here!



All images are taken and copyrighted by Brook Peterson.  Please do not print or use them without written permission.

Whale Watching

I recently took a trip out on the California coast exclusively to go whale watching.  I don’t take this opportunity very often, at least not for the express purpose of whale watching, because I spend so much time on the water for scuba diving.  Often times, whales will appear while we are crossing the channel to dive at Catalina, and sometimes they will appear just off the coast when we are diving at the beach.  But this day, was dedicated to finding and photographing the whales that migrate past our coast annually.

We first came upon a small pod of fin whales.  This is not a common whale in California, but there are a few.  They are characterized by a tall dorsal fin.  Fin whales can get up to 90 feet long and are the second largest mammal, next to the blue whale.  They are enormous and yet their slender torpedo-like bodies glide gracefully through the water.

A Fin Whale comes up for air.

A Fin Whale comes up for air.

Since Fin Whales can hold their breath for a long time, we soon moved on, looking for other interesting sea creatures.  We soon came upon a pod of three Gray Whales, aka Knuckle-back Whales.  They are characterized by a bumpy back that looks like knuckles.  Gray whales are much smaller than Fin whales, getting to about 50 feet long.  They have gray and white mottling on their skin from scars or parasites that have dropped off.  They lack a dorsal fin and have flukes that measure around 9-10 feet across.

Flukes of a gray whale

Flukes of a gray whale

Here you can see the ridges on the whales back as it prepares to dive.

Here you can see the ridges on the whales back as it prepares to dive.

Last highlight of the day was a large playful pod of dolphins.  These I get to see regularly as they love to swim along the bow of a boat.  This particular boat had a viewing pod.  Although the photograph is a little unclear, it was fun to see these dolphins racing along under the boat.

Dolphins swimming along the bow of a boat

Dolphins swimming along the bow of a boat

In this image, a dolphin comes up for air while it’s companion is just under the surface.

A dolphin surfaces momentarily.

A dolphin surfaces momentarily.

A big thank you to Captain Dave’s Whale Watching Safari  for a fun day out on top of the water.  If you are ever in Dana Point, California, I would highly recommend their operation.  You can click on their name for a link to their website.


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.



Welcome to Aquaholics Anonymous!

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