A great couple of Christmas dives yesterday with my buddy Hiroshi at Cape Zanpa. Rinsed the gear and now sorting through images with a pile of reference books at my side. Identifying fish is often a challenge especially when some of them such as the bullethead parrotfish change their shape, color, and even sex over the course of their lives. Trying to identify corals is even trickier, but hopefully over the years I’ll be able to better differentiate between the various sponges, sea fans, soft corals, stony corals and anemones. The featured photo is I believe a Periclimenes psamathe ( seafan shrimp) on a Muricella sp. gogorian sea fan.
Octopuses, masters of camouflage. Their ability to change both color and texture to match their environment makes them difficult to spot until they make a move. Always a pleasure to see such an amazing creature while out on a dive in Okinawa.
First dive of the year. Great to be back in the water again, and the long surface swim out from the beach with a big camera was a well needed workout. Plenty of interesting creatures. A pair of Risbecia tryoni, chromodorid nudibranchs. White-eyed Moray, Gymnothorax thyrsoideus Whitemouth moray, Gymnothoraz melegaris Plenty of clownfish hiding in their anemones. These included the false clown anemonefish (aka clown anemonefish) Amphiprion ocellaris, and the Pink anemonefish, Amphiprion perideraion. The dive spot also lived up to its name as we came across a turtle. It was a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) with several common remora (Remora remora) attached to its shell. It was resting in a bowl in the coral when we found it, then after a while headed up toward the surface. Overall a fantastic couple of dives. Really have to get out more often. Huge thank you to Hiroshi for getting me back in the water. All images shot with the Pentax K5IIs in an Ikelite housing with Ikelite 161 strobes.
A few of the amazing creatures living in Okinawa’s ocean. The top photo is of the male ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita). Amazingly, some blue male ribbon eels change to bright yellow female ribbon eels in later life. This next fish is a honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra) whose spots help camouflage it while on the reef. It was also named “Fish most likely to turn into a giraffe.” Next is a Naia pipefish (Dunckerocampus naia) which was about 3 centimeters long. Similar to a seahorse, but less pretentious. The striped puffer (Arothron manilensis) looks like it’s wearing prison uniform. It’s a relative of the tiger blowfish (Takifugu rubripes) that occasionally kills diners with its tetrodotoxin poison. The black-finned snake eel (Ophichthus altipennis) watches the world swim by from its hole in the sand. This tiny Dinah’s goby ( Lubricogobius dinah ) didn’t have to bother making a hole, it was quite happy with a ready-made glass bottle. Just as tiny was this sea cucumber crab (Lissocarcinus orbicularis) living on the surface of a sea cucumber. And even smaller was this tiny emperor shrimp (Periclimenes imperator) who …
Shawn, Hiroshi and I went out for a dive at Cape Maeda, and for the first time in a while I set up the underwater camera rig. Our main goal was to find a frogfish Shawn had previously spotted. We found him sitting on the second reef at about 25 meters deep, his pelvic and pectoral fins acting like little feet. Other creatures I snapped on our dives were nudibranchs (sea slugs), anemonefish (Nemo), and trumpetfish (both silver and yellow species). As it was a Saturday, summer, glorious weather, and a famous spot, Maeda was packed with people. By mid-morning there was a line all the way up the steps of people waiting to get in. (A quick P.S.A. to a couple of snorkelers we saw: if you must ignore the line and push past all the people waiting, you might want to cover up your USMC tattoos so you’re not such poor ambassadors to your corps.) Maeda’s popularity, particularly with new divers, does have a negative impact on the reef. Ideally, divers should …
You can dive in Okinawa all year around, but from July to October the water is warm, and rough seas are less frequent. The occasional typhoon does disrupt the fun, but these months are perfect for underwater photography. It’s going to be a fun summer.
I have a feature on scuba diving, and the cover photo, in the May 2014 edition of Dragonair’s Silkroad magazine. Along with the cover, most of the photos used with the feature are also mine, but unfortunately I didn’t have any decent Hammerhead shark images. A big thanks to all my diver buddies who helped providing quotes or posing for pics! Underwater images shot with the Pentax K5 or K5IIs in an Ikelite underwater housing.
A couple of shots from yesterday’s dive at Cape Maeda. It was packed with tourists snorkeling out to the blue cave, but deep beneath the surface, it’s much quieter. Not sure what the species in the top photo is, it looked like a small anemone that was yet to have a tenant. The anemone in the image below, however, already had an irate looking occupant.
I’m not diving this weekend but was able to sort out a few more shots from recent dives. Here’s Hiroshi my dive buddy of many years with his camera rig. ( Note the correct use of buoyancy control so that he hovers in the water rather than clambers over the coral. ) And here’s another shot of the fantastic ball of Silver-stripe round herrings that gathered at Cape Maeda the last couple of weeks.
Here are a few snorkeling and scuba diving images that I shot both for Leia’s modeling portfolio, and for potential use in travel magazines. You could argue that scuba divers wouldn’t be wearing as much makeup, or that a wetsuit might be more sensible when diving in April. This is true, but as I’m not shooting this as a news story, a photographer can use a little artistic license.