27 February 2012

Taking photo's, selecting, processing and... enjoying!

I had my last dive at December 11th. The water temperature was still okay: 6ÂșC. But, when diving in wetsuites, the problem is not in but out of the water. Drying yourself, getting warm, uninstalling your diving gear, cold fingers, toes and nose. Ready to catch a cold.

So instead of diving I have been browsing, selecting and processing hundreds of photo's I took of marine life in the Netherlands. In part it is like armchair discovery of marine life. When browsing photo's at 100% on my 23 inch display I regurlarly discover animals I hadn't noticed while diving. Like miniscule nudibranchs on hydropolyps. I try to identify every organism on my photo's. That takes a lot of time and isn't always possible. Sometimes the photo isn't good enough (not sharp enough, not enough contrast, too tiny), sometimes you just need to see another part of that animal or seaweed.

In their habitat: attached to shells or stones in sand or silt.

This post is about photo's I took of the small snakelocks anemone, Sagartiogeton undatus (NL: weduweroos). It is a stunning beautiful sea anemone and one of my favourites in the Netherlands.
Expanded anemone showing its column. Not the typical habitat of this anemone.

I try to take photo's of animals at their loveliest, but I also want to document the characteristics, behaviour and habitat. Just like my great source of inspiration: the exquisite images T.A. Stephenson (1935) made for The British Sea Anemones (bottom half image below).

I already had a few nice photo's of this beautiful sea anemone. But sometimes the conditions are better: clear water and a nice background. Or it's moving, eating or showing some kind of behaviour. That will always trigger me to try again.

Habitat: it looks like the specimen in the lower right corner is living in a tube like the burrowing anemone, Cerianthus lloydii (NL: viltkokeranemoon). That is not the case: the silt is compressed when the anemone is fully expanded.
Nice, but I don't like the white 'blob' behind the anemone (Didemnum vexillum, NL: druipzakpijp). One of the biggest challenges is finding an animal without white (flash reflecting) spots in the neighbourhood. Think about surrounding white shells and reflecting sandparticles....
Behaviour: one of my favourites with an expanded mouth. Give me a kiss!
Characteristic: the white line along the length of the tentacles.
My favourite at the moment. Beautiful colours, the composition I wanted, sharp where it is supposed to be sharp, nice backgroud and lighting. Or do I prefer the cropped first photo of this post (not the same photo) or the next more dynamic photo of the same specimen? What do you think?

So, you always try to do better. In the meantime enjoy the photo's you made!

All these photo's were taken in the Grevelingen (divespots Den Osse, Dreischor, 't Koepeltje). The small snakelocks anemone prefers rather stagnant waters, as in the Grevelingen. At certain spots it is abundant and even the most common anemone. It is also fairly common in the Oosterschelde.