techniques

Small is beautiful

Polycera quadrilineata
A small nudibranch (Polycera quadrilineata) on a kelp frond in Loch Long. Nikon D200 + 60mm Micro Nikkor lens and single Sea & Sea YS-110 strobe and "bottle snoot"

This small nudibranch (less than 1cm) was one of very many crawling on the stalks of kelp in less than 2m of water in Loch Long. I took this image on the second of two dives at the site. The first time I had gone in with a wide-angle lens, looking to take some close-focus images and/or diver images. However the topology and poor vis did not allow me to produce any images I was proud of; in fact I lost my buddy for a large part of the dive. As we emerged together, I was feeling a little disappointed, but he was raving. “What a fantastic site! Did you see all those nudibranchs? I found plenty to work on“, and so on. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen them. It just goes to show how much the eye tunes in to a certain type of subject. Because I was searching for things bigger than a coke can, I did not notice the exquisite but tiny creatures.

On my second dive, after a swift lens change and grabbing my bottle snoot, I saw so many of the little critters that I was amazed I hadn’t seen them last time. They were so plentiful that I was spoiled for choice and able to find several subjects in just the right location to help me shoot them from a good angle. I’ll have to remember that when some divers say a site is boring because there’s nothing to see…

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