Jump to content

Glasseye Snapper

Member Since 11 Oct 2005
Offline Last Active Mar 14 2019 05:24 PM

#377563 Am I crazy for spending this much money for being so new to this

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 03 October 2016 - 08:17 AM

I used to use two strobes in the past but prefer the simplicity of a single strobe. A more honest interpretation is that it takes more skill, thinking and "aesthetic awareness" and I simply don't dive enough to master all of that. It may be different for WA where just have a wider beam angle itself is helpful. If you are on your first UW photography trip I think you will find there are too many things to experiment with already. No need to get all the gadgets all at once. Another tip, if you can find a place with a house reef where you, with or without buddy, can dive without dive guide you can much more easily experiment with camera setting, strobes etc.

#377376 Am I crazy for spending this much money for being so new to this

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 25 September 2016 - 07:52 AM

The worst thing is to buy something too cheap that frustrates to the point of turning you off on what could have become a great hobby. The next worst thing is to buy something so expensive and elaborate that it turns you off, or simply confuses with too many choices to figure out on a short diving holiday. Fortunately there is a whole lot in the middle. I would consider getting just the housing, one strobe and no macro-converters, snoots, and what have you. You can add a second strobe on the next trip for better wide-angle and macro converters if that becomes your passion. The Nikon D7200 has been around awhile so you can also look for second hand housings and use the savings to add a focus/video light.


PS: welcome to wetpixel

#374609 Avoiding Damaging Reefs

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 15 June 2016 - 05:08 PM

I personally strive for zero damage, while accepting that some damage is implicit even if only by increasing economic development near shore.


The closer you want to get to the reef the better your buoyancy has to be. So either keep a distance or perfect your buoyancy, although not necessary by PADI or other course.


Do not touch any LIVING thing underwater. One or two fingers placed on a carefully selected piece of dead coral just to stabilize, no force, is much better than jojoing and kicking your fins to stay in place. You could do this equally well with gloves and the whole no-gloves rule is imho just because people expect you to be more careful without them. If you ever see parrotfish scraping the corals you also realize that if corals could not handle any mechanical contact they would have long been extinct (not an excuse to be careless, just some perspective).

I don't like diving sticks, assuming you mean the metal pins, as you don't get any tactile feedback and you create a point-pressure unlike a finger with or without glove.


Buddy signals to help each other out of a tricky position sound complicated to me. You really should not get into such situations in the first place.


Tucking away any dangling pieces of equipment is a good point as are most of the others. In the rare cases that I do touch the reef it is virtually always my fin tips. Retracting your legs while stopping finning and using your hands and/or lungs to move away from contact works well.


I also make an effort not to kick up a dust storm when swimming close to sand substrate, but I have no problem touching or even lying on the bottom after ensuring it is "clean sand".



#371839 Milne Bay Rhinopia/Scorpionfish?

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 23 March 2016 - 03:54 PM

In Reef Fishes of the East Indies the only scorpionfish with bright white patches and the prominent tentacles above the eye is the raggy scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis venosa). The description indicates that "tentacle above eye often present and up to twice orbit diameter in length". That suggests the tentacles can be absent and many imaged labeled as S. venosa indeed lack the tentacles.  Fishbase describes the appearance as "Adults are best recognized by the tiny light-blue ocelli scattered over the body, and dark triangle below the eye. Small juveniles have three distinctive white spots along the back". Finally, I think there is a very good match with the image below, which was also IDed as S. venosa.




Too bad you didn't get a better image because this colour form seems to be rare, or just rarely photographed.



#371776 Finally created an online portfolio

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 21 March 2016 - 04:52 PM

Very nice shots from Fiji & Wakatobi. Liked the Red Sea images as well. For some reason New Caledonia and the Great Barrier reef images look quite different.


Thanks for sharing.



#368425 I need advice about wet lenses for my NA-RX100IV housing. (please advise)

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 19 December 2015 - 08:03 AM

Most direct advice I can offer: the sooner you move past wanting to shoot macro + wide angle + video on the same dive with the same rig, the better. 


That has been my experience as well. If you go down with specific subject(s) in mind you are even more likely to find them because you won't be distracted as much by the sensory overload of all other visual impressions.



  • JBG likes this

#365963 3 Damsels and 1 I don't have a clue

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 06 October 2015 - 04:25 PM

Things are even a bit more complex. Using DNA sequences it became clear that the species D. albisella from Hawaii, D. strasburgi in the Marquesas match the DNA evidence. D. trimaculatus from the Red Sea and Zanzibar, and presumably the entire (Western) Indian Ocean , forms a distinct clade, more different than the Pacific D. trimaculatus is from the other three Eastern relatives. Some of the D. trimaculatus and D. auripinnis from the Pacific mix together on the phylogenetic tree so they really are very similar despite the different colouration.


One of the phylogeny papers also stated "On the other hand, D. auripinnis coloration patterns (yellow lower body and fins) may either be reflective of recent speciation with little genetic divergence (or lineage sorting), or due to ecological adaptation to turbid waters (Randall & Allen 1977)." They don't explain the turbid waters logic but often fish have a light belly to stand out less against the bright surface when seen from below. If the turbid waters are yellowish then perhaps a yellow colouration of the lower body works better. However, I've never seen noticeable yellow water colouration near reefs except for algal blooms in the shallow lagoons behind a fringe reef. I don't find it very convincing but it is my best guess at this point.



#365862 Unknown Fish from GBR Australia

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 04 October 2015 - 05:31 PM

Seeing your typical highfin grouper in the second post having both the white saddles and yellow fin margin makes me more confident that the one in the first post is indeed a highfin grouper.


There are several reasons I "know this stuff". Most important is probably that I'm a self-identified fish geek and have been since early childhood. Another is Reef Fishes of the East Indies, a somewhat pricey but priceless three-volume set of books with virtually all known reef fish in the coral triangle and areas west up to and including the Andaman Islands of Thailand. I've also found it to be very accurate unlike many other ID books. Another good, though certainly not error-free or complete resource is fishbase.


Unfortunately I only get to make one dive trip per year, but if I go I tend to make a lot of "slow dives", preferably solo or, better, with a like-minded buddy rather than a group and dive master. On one occasion I made 50 dives on the same house reef in a 3 week trip. I love that because you get a lot of time to really look at all the fish, get a feeling for their behaviours, habitat preferences and subtle differences with time of day, mood, developmental stage, or just intrinsic variability. If you look at them in detail you also get a sense of what aspects tend to be conserved within species and which are variable. That even helps when identifying fish you have never seen before, such as the Pseudocoris yamashiroi.


Finally, I am working on a website to help myself and others in learning about identification, distribution, typical habitat and behaviour. That means I have spend a lot of time looking through all my images. The framework is almost finished and then I will start adding more species. You can have a sneak preview here




When it is ready for prime time I'll announce it here on wetpixel.



#365350 Dragonet

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 17 September 2015 - 06:57 PM

Several dragonets in my books and on the internet look somewhat similar but I couldn't find any that were clearly like yours. Going through my own images I found an arguably better match from the philippines. Not as pretty as your image but it does the job.




Interestingly, there was a quite similar one in the same area that has a black "moustache", shown below.




Reef Fishes of the East Indies mentions that the black moustache line is characteristic for the male mangrove dragonet which they name Callionymus enneactis. Now it gets complicated. Fishbase has an entry for C. enneactis but show an image from Jack Randall that is a very different dragonet. I'll check with Jack to see what is going on. Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific does not have C. enneactis but do show the corresponding image which they name Callionymus parvus (little sand dragonet). Going to Catalog of fishes, it turns out that this is an incorrect synonym, but that C. enneactis is also no longer correct because the genus name has been updated so it is now Paradiplogrammus enneactis. So my suggestion is that you are dealing with the female mangrove dragonet.


Looking forward to what other interesting finds you have hidden in your collection.



#365234 3 Damsels and 1 I don't have a clue

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 14 September 2015 - 03:37 PM

I don't know the first damsel. To me it looks like a sweetwater demoiselle (Neopomacentrus aquadulcis) but that is only known from Papua and I don't see another Neopomacentrist that could take its place elsewhere.


Assuming Nr. 2 is the "I don't have a clue", it is a young triggerfish. Not sure exactly know which one. My gut feeling says a Pseudobalistes, e.g. yellowmargin triggerfish but they normally have at least some darker dots, not just golden.


Damsel Nr 2 is a orangefin dascyllus (D. auripinnis)


The last one is not a "third damsel" but a female black-spot angelfish (Genicanthus melanospilos). I have always thought that they try to resemble damselfish and you find them away from reef walls in the open hunting for plankton together with damsels. The male is very different with vertical black stripes.



#365189 Anyone know these fish?

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 13 September 2015 - 07:00 AM

Here is the damsel after rotating 180 degrees. Looks perfectly normal. Not sure if you inadvertently rotated it yourself or took the image from the top and shooting backwards.


Ocellated spots tend to occur on the dorsal fin or both the dorsal and anal fins at the same time. I can't quickly think on one only having such a spot on the anal fin. But colors can lie, morphology normally does not. Damsels only have one dorsal fin and two fins anal and (paired) ventral fins on the bottom. That tells you the fish was upside-down.





#365156 Anyone know these fish?

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 11 September 2015 - 05:00 PM

I expect the top one is a dragonet but hard to say which one from this orientation.


The last one is the princess damsel (Pomacentrus vaiuli)


The second I would guess to be initial phase yellowhead wrasse. I've not seen them with such a white dorsal color but the lines behind the eye are typical.


I haven't seen the third one but the shape looks a bit like a whiptail, genus Pentapodus. Try and see if any of them from the Fiji area resemble your fish.



#363349 Red Sea long white shell

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 18 July 2015 - 07:21 AM

OK, it is indeed a Scaphopod and a member of the Dentalium genus. Scaphopod shells were used by pre-historic cultures in the region (Natufians) for beads and they are also found in burials. They collected them in the Mediterranean and Red Sea, as well as from fossil deposits (Scaphopods have been around for 360My). The Natufian Red Sea shells belonged to the Dentalium reevei species complex. Likely that is what the one in my image is as well (but there are other similarly looking species in the Red Sea).


They live in the sand with the wide opening pointing down and feeding on diatoms and other small sand creatures. The other end has a much smaller opening (smaller than in the image, probably due to damage) and touches the surface of the sand.



#362908 Red Sea "Rhinoceros" blenny

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 04 July 2015 - 07:04 AM

I just returned from the Red Sea and included three days at Marsa Shagra to see if, four years later, I could still find this fish. I did and, looking a bit better, found about a dozen in the same area. On my first try I didn't find them and when I did I realized I had forgotten how small they are. You have to get close to the rocks and look for match-stick sized heads. What makes it easier is that they often breath very rapidly. Most only stick their head out of the worm hole and I did not see any of them come out to grab plankton particles. A Red Sea fish scientist is interested in describing this species and I may even be involved in the process, possibly including a field trip, which would be very exciting.


Front view



Side view






#357132 Olympus 60mm macro focus distance display.

Posted by Glasseye Snapper on 28 January 2015 - 05:55 PM

At 1:1, closest focus is 7.5 inch but that is measured from the sensor. Subject distance in front of the lens will be about half of that. A bit less again due to the port. This parameter is not intrinsically dependent on sensor size and a 60mm APS-C lens, or a full frame lens if one existed, will have equivalent subject clearance. The reason that a full frame camera appears to lead to more working distance is that people use longer focal lenses to get the same field of view and, for instance, a 100mm macro lens will have greater working distance.