Copper Rockfish in a Sponge

A Copper Rockfish hiding in a sponge.

After having dove Kelvin Grove for the first time in the fall when I was between camera cases, I’ve wanted to return with my camera to try and snap some photos. I was glad to hear one of my usual dive buddies wanted to dive there this weekend.

Unfortunately, the visibility wasn’t great. I’m assuming the spring run-off and/or algae bloom is starting, which will mean reduced visibility for the while. In the first 60 or so feet, the visibility was often worse than 10-15 feet, but opened up to 20-25 feet of visibility at around 80-90 feet deep — Luckily my camera does well for small, close-up subjects so poor visibility isn’t too much of an issue!

Cockerell's Nudibranch

A Cockerell's Nudibranch? Or.....

Lots of interesting subjects around, so I managed to get some decent photos. Several unique nudibranchs were out and about, including some I haven’t seen before like a large Orange-Peel Nudibranch that Paul found. Also another one of interest is what I beleive to be a Cockerell’s Nudibranch (Although something inside of me still believes it may be another kind of invertebrate).

Not all the subjects were cooperative, as several sculpins and a gunnel decided they didn’t want to wait around as I tried to maneuver around them to compose a nice shot. Having drastically improved some of my fine propulsion skills (i.e. Back-kick) in Fundies did help, however ultimately something about a large creature blowing massive bubbles was enough to scare the timid fish away.

On the topic of uncooperative subjects, there was even an octopus hiding deep inside of a crack, taunting me with a tentacle which he pulled away before I could get set up for the shot…

Anemone eating a starfish

A very slow struggle of life and death, this anemone appears to be eating the starfish.

I played around with Darktable some more to process these images, and I identified a number of mistakes I made in the first batch of photos I processed which left them looking “dull” for lack of a better term. Improving upon that in these photos, I’m very pleased with the results. I even managed to rescue some poorly exposed photos, including the photo of the Rockfish in the sponge. (After my first shot, he moved before I could increase my strobe’s intensity for another shot). Overall I’m impressed with the capabilities in Darktable, and the best part was the price-point (Free!). I’m still learning the finer points of post-processing so I’m expecting the “Style” of my photos to waver a bit over the next little while, but hopefully I’ll get it dialed in nicely in the end.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to take photos well enough in the first place that I don’t need much post-processing, but I’m not quite at that skill level yet. I guess I’ll have to do some more diving and keep taking more photos. I think I can handle that…

See below for all the photos:

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