Okinawa, Japan



Canon camera with dual inon strobes, +12 wet lens



16 meters (52 feet at depth) during a day dive

There are over 3000 nudibranchs all over the world.  They are only located in saltwater.  Most nudibranchs have a tiny shell when they are born, that leaves them, as they start to grow. These soft body sea slugs have great color. A lot of people go to workshops just to take photos of them and talk about them. My first underwater photography workshop was for nudibranchs.  I, at the time, was not overly enthusiastic about taking photos of them but I have grown to appreciate their spectacular color and appearance.  Most are seen in warm shallow reefs but have been documented at over a mile deep.  Some have chemical defenses to aid against predation.  They can also lay 2 to 25 million eggs depending on the species.  In this photo, this nudibranch was moving slowly against the rocks.  I got as close as possible with my wet lens, on the end of the camera, to magnify the rhinophores on the nudibranch’s head. The rhinophores are receptors that help the nudibranch seek out food.  With the rhinophores in focus, my next goal was to shoot below the subject. In this case the nudi cooperated and I was able to get a black background.  I did this by increasing my shutter speed and adjusting my camera to shoot up towards the water behind him.  The shutter speed in a camera acts as a dimmer and with strobes bouncing off the water, with minimal background in the shot, the background becomes black.    A black background with a subject with some color, makes the image stand out.  For as colorful as nudibranchs are, they can hard to find.  I have found that the harder I try to find something, the less likely I will find it.  Take what the ocean gives you.  If you don’t you could miss out on a lot.

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