Nudibranchs – Colorful sea slugs of Okinawa

Nudibranchs are shell-less gastropods. They are some the most bizarre looking underwater animals found in our oceans. They can be challenging to to find due to their small size and confusing patterns. Nudibranchs are slow moving, delicate and lack a protective shell. Some are extremely distasteful and bright colors warn predators that they are toxic. Some even have the ability to ingest stinging cells and use them as a form of protection.

The best way to find sea slugs:    Move slow!  Search around sponges, hydroids, sea squirts, anemones, soft coral, rocks and reef ledges.

Train the eye:  They can be challenging to find, I recommend tagging along with experienced divers that already have an eye for finding them.

Below are some of my favorite images of sea slugs. Photography by Shawn M Miller.

Chromodoris willani

Chromodoris willani

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phestilla melanobranchis

Phyllidia varicosa

Phyllidia varicosa

Roboasta gracillis

Roboasta gracillis

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

Chromodoris aureopurpurea

 

Aldisa albatrossae

Aldisa albatrossae

Tritonospsilla alba

Tritonospsilla alba

Phyllidia elegans

Phyllidia elegans

27429475356_4380fdabcb_b

Gymnodoris nigrocolor – parasite

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris kuniei

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris annae

Chromodoris sp

Chromodoris sp -space odyssey

Janolus sp

Janolus sp

Noumea angstolutea

Noumea angstolutea

Chromodoris coi

Chromodoris coi

Phyllidia coelestis

Phyllidia coelestis

Flabellina rubrolineata

Flabellina rubrolineata

Glossodoris cruenta

Glossodoris cruenta

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Chromodoris annae -Ryukyu flare

Learn more about the beautiful sea slugs of Okinawa.  Check out Dr. Bolland’s Website!

http://rfbolland.com/okislugs/

Thousands of Blue button jellyfish washed ashore Okinawa

Thousands of Blue button jellyfish ( Porpita porpita ) washed ashore on a local beach today.  These beautiful animals have stinging cells called nematocysts.  They can cause skin irritation but generally are not a threat.

Blue button  jellyfish

Blue button jellyfish

Blue button  jellyfish

Blue button jellyfish 

Washed ashore

Washed ashore

Button Jellyfish

Button Jellyfish -Gobe 700

Button Jellyfish

Button Jellyfish – Gobe 700

I collected a few specimens to photograph in the studio. I was curious to see if this animal would fluoresce under blue light. I used my underwater setup as my lighting studio.  I took a few photos using the Light & Motion Nightsea Blue light.

Studio setup

DTM -Studio setup

The round disc fluoresced bright orange under blue light.

fluorescence

fluorescence

Have a great day!

 

 

Testing the Venus Laowa 60mm F2.8 macro lens underwater

Laowa 60mmn f2.8 macro lens

Dive Team Miller Underwater set-up with Canon 70d Laowa 60mmn f2.8 macro lens-  Ikelite housing with 8inch dome port, 1 ikelite 160 strobe , 1 ikelite 200 strobe, 1 sola 600 and 1 gobe 700 focus light.

The Venus Laowa 60mm macro lens is a technical lens with great optics. The specialized lens is manual focus and manual aperture selection.  I had to use my wide angle dome port since this was the only port I had the lens would fit into. I preset the lens to a 1:2 ratio and used an aperture setting of F8. I went with the aperture setting of F8 since it was an overcast day and I wanted to see my subject through the viewfinder in the low light.  I used two modeling lights to add artificial light, which allowed me to see through the viewfinder at a depth of 100 feet. The focusing distance was already preset on the surface, so all I had to do was to move the camera until I saw the subject was in focus and take the shot.  It was very difficult to use with subjects that were moving. This was my first dive using this lens underwater and have more testing to do. Here are some of my images using the Venus Laowa 60mm macro lens underwater at Maeda point, Okinawa-Japan.

Tomato anemonefish -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Tomato anemonefish -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Cushion starfish underside abstract

Cushion starfish underside abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Clark's Anemonefish -

Clark’s Anemonefish – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract - Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Canthigaster coronata

Canthigaster coronata -Laowa 60mm macr0 F8

Bubble coral -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Bubble coral -Laowa 60mm macro F8

Coral abstract

Coral abstract – Laowa 60mm macro F8

Test dive two, I set the aperture to F11 with a focus distance between 1:1-1:2. It was  challenging working with all moving subjects. The dome port was to close for comfort for moving subjects such as fish.  Stay tuned for more images later this week!

Coral abstracts -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstracts -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Sea anemone -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Sea anemone -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Cushion star -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Cushion star -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstract -Laowa 60mm macro F11

Coral abstract -Laowa 60mm macro F11

July 8th 2017, I took the Loawa 60mm out for another spin. This time I did not use underwater strobes.  I set the Aperture on F5.6, shutter speed 1/200-1/640 sec and ISO settings 400-2500.  I used the Light&Motion Sola 3800 and Sola 1200 to provide beautiful fill light.

Underwater setup  - Laowa 60mm

Underwater setup – Laowa 60mm

Mushroom coral -Sola 1200 red

Mushroom coral -Sola 1200 red

Octo coral- Laowa 60mm

Octo coral- Laowa 60mm

Bubble tip anemone - Laowa 60mm

Bubble tip anemone – Laowa 60mm

Stag horn coral - Laowa 60mm

Stag horn coral – Laowa 60mm

July 9th 2017, I did some more testing using two Ikelite strobes and the Light&Motion Sola 3800 modeling light. I set the sync speed at 1/250sec,  Aperature at F8 and Iso 100.

Finding Nemo Okinawa

Finding Nemo Okinawa

Brittle star on coral -Okinawa

Brittle star on coral -Okinawa

Scythe triggerfish -Laowa 60mm macro

Scythe triggerfish -Laowa 60mm macro

 

If you plan to purchase any Venus optics please click on the Affiliate link below  http://www.venuslens.net/ref/40/?campaign=OkinawaNaturePhotography

Have a great day!

Capturing fluorescence – Fluorescence enhancement photography by Shawn Miller

All photographers experience a time when their work becomes redundant and lose vision. The Light & Motion Sola Nightsea has opened up a new style of photography for me. Recently I have been blending the Light&Motion Nightsea blue light with ambient light and getting beautiful vibrant results.

Here are some of my favorite images using this fluorescence enhancement technique.

Green fire- coral polyps

Green fire- coral polyps

nightsea and sola 600 blended

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended,  -  fluorescence

Coral  art

Coral art

Coral Okinawa

Coral Okinawa

Tube anemone -

Tube anemone -

Patterns and texture-

Patterns and texture-

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

blue light ambient light no ylfilter.jpg 4

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

nighsea and sola 600 blended no yl filter 1

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Coral with Acoel flatworms

Coral with Acoel flatworms

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended-  fluorescence

Razor coral-

Razor coral-

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- Luminescence a fluorescence

Nightsea and Sola 600 blended- fluorescence

Learn more about Light and Motion lights - http://www.lightandmotion.com/the-perfect-light

Have a great day-

Light and Motion macro field setup – Constant lighting by Shawn Miller

Light and Motion lights produce constant lighting with studio quality output. This light configuration is convenient while shooting macro photography at night. The camera, tray, arms and lights are combined into one lightweight unit. The light output can be easily adjusted with a touch of a switch. Having the lights on loc-line arms allow simple light angle adjustments.  

The custom Light and Motion macro field setup consists of

  • Sola Tray kit with extention tray and arms
  • Third custom loc-line arm mounted
  • GoBe 700 wide light
  • Sola 600 light
  • Sola 1200 light
  • Canon 70D with 60 mm macro lens and strap
Light and Motion macro field setup

Light and Motion macro field setup by Shawn M Miller.

I was fortunate to have beautiful weather both nights testing the constant lighting setup in northern Okinawa. Six of the animals below are endangered species listed as threatened on the IUCN red list. All of these night dwellers are decreasing in numbers due to deforestation.

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -Red list

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -Red list

Namie's frog (Limnonectes namiyei)

Namie’s frog (Limnonectes namiyei) – Red list

Okinawa tree frog (Rhacphhorus viridis)

Okinawa tree frog (Rhacphhorus viridis)

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Ryukyu Tip-nosed frog -Red list

Anderson's crocodile newt- Red list

Anderson’s crocodile newt- Red list

Kuroiwa's ground gecko -Red list

Kuroiwa’s ground gecko -Red list

Ryukyu brown frog -Red list

Ryukyu brown frog -Red list

Holst's frog ( Rana holsteri ) - Red list

Holst’s frog ( Rana holsteri ) – Red list

Ryukyu Kajika frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog

If you would like to learn more about these lights, check out the site!

http://www.lightandmotion.com/the-perfect-light

Have a great day!

 

Light & Motion – The ultimate flashlight for wildlife photographers.

I have been using the Light & Motion Sola underwater lights for over two years now. I take them on all my adventures to include scuba diving, river trekking, caving and nature photography trips. These lights provide constant beautiful lighting and are extremely reliable, which is why they are the perfect light for me.

Below is a photograph of me using Light & Motion lights in the field. I am the Japan contributor for the Meet Your Neighbours field studio project. Photographing the animal on white isolates the subject without any distractions. The animals are handled with care and then released back into the environment without harm. The images are used for conversation awareness and educational purposes.
A photograph of me documenting the endangered species of the ryukyu islands

Photograph courtesy of  Gary Hughes          assistant – Shannon Fox

The Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle (Geoemyda japonica) is an endangered species found in Northern Okinawa. This turtle is decreasing in numbers due to poaching, deforestation and road kill. The turtle is high valued in the pet trade market and needs to be protected.

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle, Ryukyu Leaf Turtle ( Geoemyda japonica Fan, 1931 )

Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtle           MYN field studio

I recently purchased the Light & Motion Sola compact tray with the extension kit and one GoBe 700 wide light. I have been using this setup with the Canon 70D to document the wildlife in Okinawa. The flexible Loc-line arms are an awesome advantage. They are easy to move while having full control over the constant lighting.   

Using the Light & Motion field setup

Light & Motion field setup                         Photograph courtesy of Ross Gallardy

A photograph of a Ryukyu kajika frog in northern Okinawa using the Light & Motion field setup

okinawa frog

Ryukyu Kajika frog ( Buergeria japonica )

The Light & Motion Sola 600 has a built in feature most people do not take advantage of. The light has a red light function which allows the user to get close to land and marine subjects without disturbing them. This red light is very effective and I highly recommend using it.

Underwater setup with sola 600

My underwater rig with the Light & Motion Sola 600  - Ikelite housing and strobes

The Light & Motion Nightsea Sola light can also be used on land. I am always searching for animals that fluoresce in the Yanbaru forest in northern Okinawa. You never know what you will find!

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light - Riukiaria falcifera

Light & Motion Sola Nightsea Blue light    Millipede – Riukiaria falcifera

If you would like to know more about the Light & Motion Sola series visit.  http://www.lightandmotion.com/choose-your-light/sola

Have a great day!