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Understanding What You Shoot
By Jason Heller, April 26, 2009 @ 01:00 AM (EST)
by John Ares
 
"Save the oceans, become a diver."  How often have we heard this in the last five years?  How does one do this exactly?  Underwater photographers are in an enviable position to positively impact what is happening in the oceans by providing a photographic record of what is there and NOT there.  Only by identifying what the creatures are, can we begin to contribute to the body of knowledge of the oceans.  "Remember those big round things with the spikes?  We don't see them anymore,"  won't be helpful in recording the decline of a species.  

Without setting aside several years for a degree in Marine Sciences, we can become astute Naturalists, or field observers as part of our avocations in diving and photography.  One way is become familiar with the creatures we visit in local and remote locations on a first name basis.

Nudibranchs were all the rage this year at the "Beneath the Sea" Film Festival in New Jersey this March.  And for good reason.  Nudibranchs are a riot of color, slow moving and a delight to see onece you are aware of their habits. and habitat.  One way to begin identifying nudibranchs is by using a good guide book with good photos to key out the animals.  Once identified, you will want to log the information or keyword your images with as much information as possible such as common name, scientific name, dive site, date and depth.  This will make your photos more valuable in the future.

Here is one recommendation for a book that covers globe in the Nudibranch realm:
 

Nudibranchs of the World

Helmut Debeliius  and Rudie Kuiter

($79 @ Amazon via the link above)

 
The book presents Nudibranchs that have been photographed by  the authors over  a period of more than 30 years.  With over 2500 color photos of Nudibranchs in their natural environment,  over 1180 species  of Nudibranchs illustrated, in large letter format, 360 pages, hardcover  bound,  it is a comprehensive  photo  identification guide to Nudibranchs of the world's  seas.
 
It gives the identification of most Nudibranchs known to species level and scientific names,  it explains the relationships between species from different oceans, and it gives information on behavior (defense, camouflage, and mimicry) .

 

 
 

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