Cephalopods

With the Introduction of the new Camera, I had noticed that there were certain things that managed to appear with each submersion, and more prominently took the form of Octopus and Cuttlefish. What I mean to say is, I had seen more Octopus and cuttle fish and photographed them with relative ease, moreso than I ever had been able to before. Now I have no idea why, but i’m not going to complain about the newfound abundance in cephalopod subjects to photograph.

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The first one I managed to snap was while diving in Ibiza. I think that, because octopus have been known to mimic other animals to hide their appearance, this guy might’ve been trying to mimic a jawfish of some sort, because jawfish tend to construct burrows of a similar nature, and also thats simply the first fish that comes to kind when I see the shape that the octopus has formed it’s head in to.

After arriving back home from Ibiza I was lucky enough to spot a rarity on a night dive. I’m not sure of the exact species but I’m pretty sure its some sort of benthic octopus, or one that is very small and lives in the sand.

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This little dudette was very hard to spot indeed but the slightest movement gave her away. No bigger than the palm of my hand, this (what I suspect) type of Amphioctopus was very adamant of staying hidden in the sand. luckily there wasnt much current so deflating my BCD and lying on the sandy bed was no issue. I set my Inon strobe to a low light setting so as not to create any glare, and used my compact macro lens in combination with the low light flash to capture the tiniest details on this water-borne chameleon.
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This is a shot of the exact same octopus, only moments later after another diver startled her. She vanished into a small burrow and changed shape and colour in a heartbeat. The beady little eyes are almost certainly the highlight, bearing a seemingly infinite morse code of colour.

The next couple of encounters with these lovely creatures were more typical one might say. The usual 18 meter dive yielded a somewhat intrusive encounter between myself and two octopus who I think I might’ve disturbed whilst they were in a somewhat intimate interraction. After I signed an apology to what I imagined was the Male of the two, ( I dont know octopus anatomy so well as to serch for his hectocotylus, or arm-penis, plus i’m not a pervert), I setmyself up for the shot.

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The Octopus cyanea, or commonly know as the Big Blue Octopus is a very gorgeous creature. As most octopus do, this big male manipulated his skin and colour to mimic the nearby coral.
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Using my breathing to maintain my buoyancy, I gradually rose above the big guy to attempt to get a full body shot, which can prove difficult in his defensive position, unsure of the strange alien looming over him.

Like the Octopus, the Cuttlefish is a master of disguise and mimicry, also able to change it’s skin colour and texture in a split second. My encounters with them have usually been very brief, finding myself hovering over them, catching their eye, and before i can whip my camera into action I end up with a face full of ink. However, a recent encounter with a small fellow who had just had a quick bite to eat allowed me to swim right up to him. Slowly, without any sudden movements, and some questionable breathing control to maintain buoyancy and limit exhalation, I approached the aqueous assasin.

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Munching a crab, this little guy had no problem with me as I hovered in for a closer look. Usually spotted in pairs, the Cuttlefish native to my neck of the woods usually mimic lionfish by extending their arms so as to imitate pectoral fins.

Whats important to remember in these encounters is that these animals are hunters and camoflague experts to boot, and interracting with them is an otherworldly experience as any underwater photographer or videographer will tell you. What I find is that, when searching for subjects to shoot, expect the unexpected. They can turn up almost anywhere you look, and might even remain unnoticed as you dive right by them.

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