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Caught in the Act...again


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#1 bmyates

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:01 AM

I finally finished processing photos from my recent Indonesia trip and put up a gallery on my website.

One of the pleasant surprises of the trip was one of my mandarinfish photos. Of all the fish in the sea, mandarins are probably the one most often photographed "in the act" :P but this photo clearly shows the female releasing her eggs (a split second before the pair dashed back into the rubble). I'm sure others have caught this in photos as well, but I have never seen it, so I was delighted to have captured it. I'd love to say I timed my shutter release at that precise moment on purpose, but I'm afraid it was just dumb luck! :P

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#2 imasleeper

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:26 AM

Very nice capture...Congrats!

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#3 TheRealDrew

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

I'd love to say I timed my shutter release at that precise moment on purpose, but I'm afraid it was just dumb luck! :P


Nice job regardless and remember we all contribute to making our own luck. You can just have easily been out of focus, f/stop off, strobes wrong and the rest. So I think you did more than just have dumb luck :P

Now about your Peeping Tom tendencies.... :P

#4 james

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:32 AM

Very nice Bruce!

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#5 yahsemtough

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 08:33 AM

Very nice. I think a lot of us get lucky and happen to be in the right place at the right time. The key is, you were there and captured the image. Well done.

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#6 loftus

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 10:26 AM

It's a beautiful image, with or without the eggs; the eggs take it up a notch.
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#7 Stephen Colquitt

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 12:13 AM

Great work!

#8 edpdiver

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 06:45 PM

Wow! What a great shot.
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#9 ilanbt

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Posted 17 June 2008 - 11:45 PM

very nice capture!
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#10 Tazzie

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 04:57 AM

Absolutely stunning photo!

Would I be cheeky to ask you how you had your rig set up? After an unsuccessful Mandarin fish dive myself (focus light packed up after I'd spent I don't know how long making a red filter for it!! ;) ) I'd love to know how you got your shot...

What spotting / focus light were you using? Did you go for a red filter etc :)

#11 mrbubbles

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 05:17 AM

great one. My favorite saying in uw photography is luck is a good thing

#12 bmyates

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 07:52 AM

Absolutely stunning photo!

Would I be cheeky to ask you how you had your rig set up? After an unsuccessful Mandarin fish dive myself (focus light packed up after I'd spent I don't know how long making a red filter for it!! ;) ) I'd love to know how you got your shot...

What spotting / focus light were you using? Did you go for a red filter etc :)


Having done MANY mandarinfish dives before myself, including strapping red celophane over my light, etc., I have discovered that it is VERY difficult to handle both lighting and focusing/shooting by yourself. Trying to spot an emerging pair of fish through your viewfinder is just plain tough!

I did two mandarin dives on this trip, the first "by myself" using a FIX LED light on low, during which I got NO decent shots, and the second dive using a much more "manual" technique, i.e., with the dive guide holding a weak flashlight behind his hand so that only a faint amount of light came through. The dive guide would watch for a "pairing" and when he thought one was beginning, he would grunt loudly and my dive buddy (Don Silcock) and I, who were shoulder to shoulder next to him, would try to find the pair in our viewfinders and focus on them as they rose from the rubble. Once they cleared the rubble, the guide was able to shine the full light (albeit still a pretty weak beam) on the couple and we had a second or two to try to focus and get a shot. On that dive, I got three "keeper" shots, one of which is the one above that started this thread. (You can see the other two keeper shots in the gallery at www.seattleyates.com .)

When you consider the "productivity" of my first mandarin dive on this trip vs. the second (ZERO vs. 3 keepable shots), the argument for having a dive guide handle the lighting is (at least IMO) pretty compelling. It was still lucky that I got the shot with eggs, but I'm not sure I would have gotten ANY good shots if I had been trying to do it all on my own.

Hope that helps!

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#13 Tazzie

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:25 PM

Having done MANY mandarinfish dives before myself, including strapping red celophane over my light, etc., I have discovered that it is VERY difficult to handle both lighting and focusing/shooting by yourself. Trying to spot an emerging pair of fish through your viewfinder is just plain tough!

I did two mandarin dives on this trip, the first "by myself" using a FIX LED light on low, during which I got NO decent shots, and the second dive using a much more "manual" technique, i.e., with the dive guide holding a weak flashlight behind his hand so that only a faint amount of light came through. The dive guide would watch for a "pairing" and when he thought one was beginning, he would grunt loudly and my dive buddy (Don Silcock) and I, who were shoulder to shoulder next to him, would try to find the pair in our viewfinders and focus on them as they rose from the rubble. Once they cleared the rubble, the guide was able to shine the full light (albeit still a pretty weak beam) on the couple and we had a second or two to try to focus and get a shot. On that dive, I got three "keeper" shots, one of which is the one above that started this thread. (You can see the other two keeper shots in the gallery at www.seattleyates.com .)

When you consider the "productivity" of my first mandarin dive on this trip vs. the second (ZERO vs. 3 keepable shots), the argument for having a dive guide handle the lighting is (at least IMO) pretty compelling. It was still lucky that I got the shot with eggs, but I'm not sure I would have gotten ANY good shots if I had been trying to do it all on my own.

Hope that helps!


Absolutely helps - thank you very much!

I've only done 2 mandarin fish dives so it's not surprising I've not got the results, was just really frustrated when I'd prepped my gear for the second dive and still wasn't able to get focus when they came out to play (although at least I managed to get an ok shot of one in the coral which was a better result than my fist dive!)

I think it's really easy to underestimate the lengths people go through to get their awesome shots even though deep down I think I really know!

Thanks again, much appreciated ;)

#14 sailordiver

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 01:57 PM

At what dive site did you shoot the beautiful couple ???

#15 bmyates

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:32 PM

At what dive site did you shoot the beautiful couple ???


I was staying at Divers Lodge Lembeh, and it was taken on their house reef. It's a great place to stay BTW, and a great dive operation.

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#16 deepsea

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 05:08 PM

Stunning, well done
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#17 Hani Amir

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 11:38 PM

Awesome photo dude :D

#18 Scubamoose

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:09 AM

Congrats! Really great capture!
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#19 The Octopus

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:18 AM

nice shot, i also was "lucky" and got a shot with egg release.
Yours is the only other one that I have seen

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#20 bmyates

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 06:11 AM

nice shot, i also was "lucky" and got a shot with egg release.
Yours is the only other one that I have seen


Ditto - yours is the only other one I've seen, although I suppose we're bound to see more in the future...

I'm a little confused, however, about which is the male and which the female. I was told on my previous trips to Lembeh by dive guides that the big one was always the female. In my photo, however, it "appears" clear that the eggs are coming from the small one, so I decided I had been getting false information. Now, in your photo, it looks like the eggs are coming from the big one(!).

Can anyone clear this up conclusively? Are males the smaller or larger fish in these pairs? :blink:

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