One of my favorite subjects to photograph underwater are clown anemonefish. I can spend an entire dive photographing them as they dart about in a comical, yet exasperated state. I encountered this red and black anemonefish while visiting Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands in 2019. While trying to create an image like this, I am dealing with multiple issues that my non-underwater photography friends are probably unaware of. I have to be aware of my surroundings, pay attention to the amount of air left in my tank, control my buoyancy, adjust my cumbersome camera equipment, and then hope that some of my images are properly exposed and in focus. Every once in a while, I get lucky and capture a moment like this. I like how the fish was off center while staring directly at me. I think it is especially amusing that it had one eye looking up and the other eye was looking down.
One of my false clown anemonefish images was published on the October cover of Sport Diver! I photographed this clownfish while visiting the Misool Ecoresort located in Raja Ampat, Indonesia in March 2011. (Man, was that trip really almost 5 years ago?) I had always wanted to photograph these charismatic fish ever since watching Finding Nemo a thousand times with my older daughter when she was little. When I returned from the trip, I recall one of my good dive buddies telling me that clownfish images were a dime-a-dozen and I would never publish them. Surprisingly, I have proven him wrong and published them widely.
I photographed this pink anemonefish during my recent scuba diving expedition to Fiji. I love photographing clown anemonefish. They have a lot of character as they swim about in the tentacles of their host anemone. I like how it is looking right at my camera with an comical expression of indignation. I took hundreds of photos during this dive trying to get the fish to look directly at me as the anemone’s tentacles all were going the same direction in the current.
I am incredibly excited to have 2 of my new acrylic face mount prints on permanent display at Etheridge Family Dentistry in Seattle, WA. The 35×50 Laguna de los Tres Sunrise 5 print above is from my trip to Patagonia last January and the 35×50 False Clownfish 23 image below is from my trip to Raja Ampat last March. They look absolutely stunning (even with Dr Ty standing in front of them). Both of these acrylic face mounts were created by West Coast Imaging. WCI offers several paper options. I chose the Epson premium glossy paper, because it most closely matched the colors of my own Epson printer. They are mounted directly to 1/4″ acrylic, backed with a white dibond backer, a metal hanging system is attached, and the edges are flame polished. I have not finalized my price list for these spectacular prints, but they will cost about 2 to 3 times the price of my current Museo silver rag prints. To celebrate the 2011 holiday season, I will offer these ready to hang prints at the introductory price of 2 times my current print prices. It takes about 3 weeks to create them, so all orders that are placed no later than next Friday December 2 will be guaranteed to arrive in time for Christmas.
What else needs to be said about clownfish, other than they are iconic and adorable? There are also many different types of clownfish, like this skunk anemonefish. As my regular readers can probably tell, I had a plethora of photographic opportunities while scuba diving during my visit to the Misool Ecoresort. This yellow anemone was aesthetically appealing to me and the skunk anemonefish was less agitated than most of the false clown anemonefish that I photographed. Heck, this one even has a slightly less dour frown on its face. Do I even sense a smile because it knew that I was going to make it famous? I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 100mm f2.8 macro lens in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with dual Ikelite DS160 strobes set on TTL. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
I left the Misool Ecoresort in Indonesia 3 weeks ago today, but it still feels like it was just yesterday. It was probably my favorite photography trip that I have ever done and I can not wait to return. I’ll likely lead a photo tour there in the fall of 2012. I am only about 1/3 of the way through editing my images, but I already have a few favorites. Take this comical picture of a juvenile clown anemonefish. I spent a lot of time photographing these aggressive little fish during 2 weeks of scuba-diving. They constantly darted around, hiding in the anemone’s tentacles, but every once in a while I photographed a perfect moment where the fish had clear eye contact with the camera. Unfortunately, I could not do much about it’s “frowning” face, but hopefully it contributes to the humor of this image. I looked for patterns of consistent form and texture of the tentacles and waited until the fish swam into the most aesthetically pleasing sections. Also, I was surprised to learn that this type of clownfish, which most people recognize from the movie Finding Nemo, is actually called a false clown anemonefish. A true clown anemonefish has more pronounced black bars on it’s body. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 100mm f2.8 macro lens in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with dual Ikelite DS160 strobes set on TTL. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
WOW! That is a very short summary of my recent trip to the Misool Ecoresort in Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia. I am still getting over my jetlag, but starting to process my new images. I shot a variety of subjects from wide-angle soft coral underwater landscapes to above water remote beach sunsets, but some of my favorite images are of the anemonefish. I have wanted to photograph them ever since I first saw them underwater during my visit to Indonesia in 2000 and later while watching “Finding Nemo” hundreds of times with my daughters. It took me a few years, but I finally had the opportunity during this trip. These fish are constantly darting around in an agitated state while having a cute expression on their face, which makes them very frustrating to photograph. I spent 20-30 minutes patiently waiting for this clownfish to move into the most aesthetic position, all the while I photographed a hundred or more pictures that required immediate deletion. This image resonates with me for the head-on pouty expression on the clownfish’s face as well as the symmetry of the color and texture of the anemome around it. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 100mm f2.8 macro lens in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with dual Ikelite DS160 strobes set on TTL. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.