Previous Undersea Critters

These photographs are all copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Marina Frants, and may not be reproduced without permission.

In September '99, Keith and I spent a wonderful, lengthy, and much-needed vacation in the Southern hemisphere. After two weeks in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), we finished up with a week in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands, where I finally got to do some diving. While the weather wasn't the best -- rain, gusty wind, choppy seas -- I did get some very enjoyable dives in, and got some pictures that I'm pretty happy with. Here are two examples: an Emperor Angel Fish and a Crown-of-Thorns Starfish. (JPEG files, approximately 38K [Emperor Angel Fish] and 111K [Crown-of-Thorns Starfish])

Emperor Angel Fish photo Crown-of-Thorns Starfish photo
From the same Rarotonga trip, here's what I think is a Hawksbill Turtle. I'm not a hundred percent sure that that's what this is, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. (JPEG file, approximately 23K)

Hawksbill Turtle photo
Here's a perfect example of why it pays to take a photography class, even if you've been taking pictures for years: I never would've spotted this tiny Petersen's Cleaner Shrimp by myself, but the instructor pointed it out to me on a dive in the Cayman Islands. (JPEG file, approximately 75K)

Petersen's Cleaner Shrimp photo
This little hermit crab is just one more of the many critters I photographed during the macro photography workshop I took at Cathy Church's photo school at Sunset House in the Cayman Islands. Nice of it to just stand and look at the camera like that, ain't it? (JPEG file, approximately 33K)

hermit crab photo
These lovely critters are called Flamingo Tongues. They are the Atlantic relatives of the spectacular Pacific nudibranchs. The colorful outside you see here is actually the mantle of mollusc, not the shell. The shell is on the inside. I couldn't decide which of these two shots I liked better, so I put up both. (JPEG files, each approximately 50K)

flamingo tongue photo #1flamingo tongue photo #2
Here's a little critter called a Christmas Tree Worm. Like the arrow crab below, this one was photographed on Grand Cayman, during the photo course I took at the Sunset House resort. (JPEG file, approximately 63K)

Christmas Tree Worm photo
On my last trip to Grand Cayman, I took a class in macro photography with Cathy Church's school at Sunset House. It turned out to be one of the best time investments I've ever made, and produced some of the best macro shots I've ever taken. This shot of an arrow crab is a perfect example. (JPEG file, approximately 22K)

arrow crab photo
Hey, look! Two critters for the price of one! Here we have a white anemone, with a clownfish living in it. Clownfish are immune to anemone stings, so they can live inside them and be protected from bigger critters. The anemone, in return, gets the leftovers from clownfish dinners. Ain't nature grand? (GIF file, approximately 71K)

clownfish & white anemone photo
One of the Great Diving RevelationsTM I had in Papua New Guinea was my discovery of marine flatworms. A flatworm sounds so ugly and uninteresting, yet here were these beautiful, colorful critters crawling on the reef. They're hard to spot 'cause they're so tiny, but the effort is well worth it. (GIF file, approximately 72K)

flatworm photo
This here is a scorpion fish, also known as rockfish, stonefish, or "that ugly bugger." Scorpion fish like to sit around on the reef pretending to be rocks. They don't like to move, which makes them fairly easy to photograph -- provided you can spot them, as they're very good at pretending to be rocks. I was practically on top of this one in Papua, New Guinea before I realized it was a critter. (GIF file, approximately 59K)

scorpion fish photo
One of my main reasons I dreamed of diving the South Pacific was the lionfish. I've seen pictures of them, and think they're some of the most spectacular undersea critters in existence. Papua, New Guinea certainly didn't disappoint in that regard. I was in lionfish heaven. Hardly a day went by without me seeing one. This particular beauty obliginly hung around for several minutes while I spent half a roll of film on it. (GIF file, approximately 67K)

lionfish photo
Okay, admit it, you've been waiting for a shark picture, haven't you? All these cutesy little sea horsies and angel fishies are all very well, you said, but where are the big critters, the cool critters, the critters that can bite the photgrapher's head off? Well, here it is -- a silvertip shark circling a reef in Papua, New Guinea. Cool, ain't it? (GIF file, approximately 64K)

silvertip shark photo
This is a tiger grouper that I photographed in Bonaire. Thanks to Bill LaBarge for identifying the fish for me, since I couldn't find the thing in any of my fish guides for the Caribbean. (JPEG file, approximately 109K)

tiger grouper photo
On my last trip to Key West, I had unusually good luck with blue angel fish. They tend to be shy and wary of divers, but I encountered at least three, on three different dives, who were willing to let me get within shooting range. This is the best of the resulting shots. (JPEG file, approximately 129K)

blue angel fish photo
This is the first of the slides from our May trip to Key West. You can't really tell the scale from this shot, but this spiny lobster was huge! We're talking seven-course seafood buffet here. Of course it wasn't lobster season, which is why it felt safe crawling around letting itself be photographed. (JPEG file, approximately 118K)

spiny lobster photo
This white anemone was growing on an old tire under the Town Pier in Bonaire, not far from where I took my picture of the seahorse. (GIF file, approximately 108K)

anemone photo
What's that thing on the reef with the big ugly teeth, thaaat's a moray! Put your hand in the crack, and you might not get it back frooom a moray!... (GIF file, approximately 78K)

moray eel photo
I don't know what it is, but parrotfish hate me. They flee in a blind panic as soon as they spot me. All I get is shots of parrotfish tails. But I'm a glutton for punishment, I keep trying. This shot of a stoplight parrotfish is the closest I've come to sucess. (GIF file, approximately 141K)

stoplight parrotfish photo
There are two reasons why I like this shot of a flounder. First, it looks really cool. And second, I actually remembered (for a change) that you're supposed to go up an F-stop when shooting light, reflective objects. I don't get these attacks of competence very often, so I gotta savor them when I can... (GIF file, approximately 89K)

flounder photo
Seahorses can be hard to find. They're small, shy, and tend to come out mostly at night. They're awfully cute, though, aren't they? This particular fellow made an appearance during a night dive at Town Pier in Bonaire, a site famous far and wide as a seahorse hangout. (GIF file, approximately 134K)

seahorse photo
This is a French angel fish I encountered in Bonaire -- that's in the Antilles, just off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, for those of you keeping score at home. (GIF file, approximately 118K)

French angel fish photo