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Cal

Cal's Leafy Sea Dragon Shots

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Hey Wetpixalators!

 

Jimswims and I set off on an epic 2400 kilometer road trip to South Australia. Our goal was to photograph the legendary leafy sea dragon. All up the road trip was great success with awesome diving conditions and lots of great creature encounters. Kudos to Jim for spotting all three leafies.

 

I had this shot in "my minds eyes" for a while and it was my goal from the trip. I was very happy with the shot as its exactly what I wanted!

 

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Jim and I both noted that there was a marked colour difference between populations of this nudibranch in Victoria vs South Australia. The south Australian species just appeared to have a much deeper red to its body.

 

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This seahorse appears to be singing

 

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A dive site called the Edithburgh Jetty had pillons covered in amazing blue ascidians

 

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This is a striped dumpling squid. It was another of Jim and I's "must see" animals for the trip. Its a bottom dwelling species and I kept trying to point my rig up and get a nice black background which lead to gushes of cold water as my dry suit leaked whilst I strained to get the right angle.

 

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Hope you've enjoyed them!

 

Cal

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Nice stuff, Cal.

 

I think that the seadragon looks great against the black background. I have driven from Sydney to the Yorke Peninsular, so can sympathise with the journey. Your Australian speed limits are so slow (considering the roads and traffic)!

 

I like the angle on the seahorse, nice. I've photographed the striped squid in both NSW and SA, although never managed any really pleasing images.

 

Planning a trip to Victoria and Tazzy for next year.

 

Alex

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"I have driven from Sydney to the Yorke Peninsula"----- :)

 

I can't even imagine how painful that must have been..........

 

I was actually hoping to get a shot like your leafy sea dragon face shot. I think that shot is golden.

 

The striped squid was an awesome critter to see but they pose the problem of never moving more then 5-10cm off the substrate and most of the time they just sit still and stare at you ;) Its great for a shot like the one I posted, but its very hard to get anything dynamic out of them- at least from my limit experience with them.

 

Make sure you drop me a line when you get to Victoria! - on that note, its great to see a professional heading to such an under appreciated area, hopefully you can help me drum up some interest for it!

 

Cheers,

 

Cal

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Great shots.

Luv that first one.

How do you get the black or was it at night.

 

2400km is nothing, did 5500km in five days just in daylight hours on the bike this year.

My best is 1150 km in 8 hours on the CBR once.

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Make sure you drop me a line when you get to Victoria! - on that note, its great to see a professional heading to such an under appreciated area, hopefully you can help me drum up some interest for it!

 

I think that many overseas shooters rate temperate Australia. But many seem to think that it starts and ends with Kangaroo Island (as this has always been marketed as temperate Australia for foreign divers). We found KI the most (and only) disappointing destination on our trip. But that was mainly because we had dived in many other parts of temperate Australia, first.

 

2400km is nothing, did 5500km in five days just in daylight hours on the bike this year.

 

Wow. 5500Ks in 5 days on a bike. I won't complain again!

 

Alex

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lovely images, i remember seeing yours alex at your oceanography talk when you had only just returned from your trip. seeing them displayed from that projector was very cool.

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Stunning images!

 

I'm off to Oz for 6 weeks in September (I can't wait!!) and am hoping to spend a week with the leafys ;D Hope my results are as good as yours (and Alex's!)

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Wow ... the wonder of the reefs has no boundaries ! Great shots.

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inspiring photos Cal

 

I'm headed to Edithburg in August to try what you've just done so well :):P

 

Gonna be so worth the road trip I think ;)

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inspiring photos Cal

 

I'm headed to Edithburg in August to try what you've just done so well :):P

 

Gonna be so worth the road trip I think ;)

 

Hi Mate,

If you left your trip until December, you would catch the early males in 'berry'...

The Rapid Bay to Victor Harbor region might be closer for what you want...maybe?

Bruce...

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Stunningly beautiful images, Cal! Kudos and more kudos!

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Thanks for the awesome response guys!

 

"I'm off to Oz for 6 weeks in September (I can't wait!!) and am hoping to spend a week with the leafys ;D Hope my results are as good as yours (and Alex's!)"

 

"I'm headed to Edithburg in August to try what you've just done so well "

 

Wow! That means alot to me. Thanks. you just made my night!

 

Bruce (my fellow victorian!) is "berry" a slang term for the pregnant males as the eggs look like berries?

 

Once again, a big thanks for the feed back guys. I really do appreciate it.

 

Cheers

 

Cal

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Hi Cal,

I don't know if it is 'slang' or not?

I know that it is the term that the crayfishermen use to describe the females when carrying their eggs.

I have also read the term used for our local yabbies and Murray River 'Prickly Back' freshwater crays.

So, I don't really know where the term came from, but have heard it used for a long time... :)

One of the benefits of being old is the ability to forget things... hehehe.

 

Bruce...

 

BYW, the pics that you have posted are second to none; they are among the best 'Leafy' pics that I have seen !!!

Edited by bruceterrill

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It is used here in under-graduate lectures, although we tend to use it for crustaceans carrying eggs (we don't have sea dragons down this way).

 

Alex

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Cal,

 

Absolutely beautiful shots. I wish I could get my weedy seadragon shots looking so good.

 

Would you mind sharing the settings used?

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Very nice photo's. The Seadragons are always great to photograph- especially the Leafies. There are a couple of known Leafys in Albany, but are still quite rare. There are more reports of sightings though, which shows good signs. The best place over here to spot them is Bremer Bay. The warmer months sees them come out in a number of spots.

The nudibranch you photographed is in huge numbers under our town jetty, but not quite as bright as that.

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Hey guys!

 

Once again, a big thanks for the photo comments.

 

Theres a big secret to the black background and settings on that leafy shot........... it was shot at night :-) 1/90th at F 8 at ISO 250 (my strobe failed during the day and so I boosted the ISO to get more available light and simply failed to lower it back down.)

 

The real trick to the shot was lying on my side (sandy bottom) and putting the camera flat on the substrate and shooting up to get black behind it without any weed etc in the background. Similar to the technique I mentioned about the dumpling squid shot, tilting my head like that strained the dry suit neck seal resulting in cold water leakage much to Jimswims constant amusement.

 

The real trouble with the shot was equipment related as I didn't have a focus light but rather a torch which results in backscatter. I had to angle the beam away (and let the batteries die down) and then use the very low levels of ambient light to get a focus. It was frustrating as all hell to say the least......... nothing is worse then viewing what you think is going to a great pic only to see it covered in scatter like a snowstorm.

 

Cheers,

 

Cal

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Stunning. Yep great with the black backround

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thanks, Fantastic! Also appreciate the tips. Scott

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Cal

 

Those are truly awesome shots! I can't wait to visit you ....

 

Cheers

Jeff

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Thanks Jeff,

 

Can't wait to see you (and Alex) freeze your butts off in our 11 degree water!

 

Once again, I really appreciate the comments Wetpixalators

 

Cheers,

 

Cal

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Australians showing off to Brits about how cold it is there! Whatever next, English claiming to be better at cricket?! :P

 

Alex

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Australians showing off to Brits about how cold it is there! Whatever next, English claiming to be better at cricket?! :)

 

Alex

 

Alex, do you want to borrow my heated waistband so you don't end up eating your words??!! :lol:

 

I had a positively toasty dive on Swanage Pier the other week at 18 deg!! :P

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It is used here in under-graduate lectures, although we tend to use it for crustaceans carrying eggs (we don't have sea dragons down this way).

 

Alex

 

have you not dived weston shore alex !!!

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