Following on from their earlier Wetpixel Live talks about their photo editing workflows, Alex and Adam discuss some of the other apps that they sometimes use to process their images.

Wetpixel Live](https://www.youtube.com/c/Wetpixel-live) is a series of discussions that aim to answer some of the questions that frequently crop up on the Wetpixel Forum. With 80 episodes posted, and many more being created daily, they are a permanent resource for all underwater photographers. Please subscribe to the Wetpixel Live channel to be informed when new episodes are posted.

I havent been under water since March and as a dive instructor... my gills are feeling SUPER dry! So instead I'm just scrolling through old photos with customers and dreaming about wreck dives and shark dives and occupying my time until Florida next month! How long has it been for you?🦈🐟 submitted by /u/misslunablue
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If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to dive in New Zealand, you are in for a treat! New Zealand’s marine life varies from tropical, colourful reef fish and critters through to sharks, dolphins, sea lions and even killer whales.

Orca (Killer Whale)

If diving with Orca is on your bucket list, head over to the Poor Knights Marine Reserve where pods of orca are regular visitors. Although orcas are commonly referred to as ‘Killer Whales’, they are in fact harmless to humans and they are the largest member of the dolphin family. With their distinctive black and white patterning and huge dorsal fins, a pod of orcas powering through the waves is a truly impressive sight.

Orca - Killer Whale - Topside

Bronze Whaler

The Bronze whaler is also known as the Copper Shark or its scientific name: Carcharhinus brachyurus. Bronze whalers are a large species of requiem shark and can reach up to 3.3 m (11 ft) long. Bronze whalers can be difficult to distinguish from other large requiem shark but they are characterized by their narrow, hook-shaped upper teeth, lack of a prominent ridge between the dorsal fins, and their plain bronze coloration.

In the summer months, bronze whalers live at relatively shallow depths over coral reefs – which leads to regular sightings. They do not pose a threat to humans unless provoked or mistaken, for example, they have been known to snap at spear fishermen carrying dead fish. The bronze whaler is the most commonly spotted shark species around New Zealand and it is thought to live for up to 30–40 years!

New Zealand Hooker Sea Lion

If you are diving around Aramoana, Dunedin, you might just catch a glimpse of the New Zealand Sea Lion, also known as the ‘Hooker’ sea lion after Sir Joseph Hooker, a botanist with a British Antarctic expedition which arrived in Auckland in 1844.

Adult males are more heavily built than females and are black or dark brown, and mature bulls have a mane of rough hair around their shoulders. Females are silver-grey dorsally and creamy coloured ventrally, although they appear pale brown when dry towards the end of the year. The pups are born with a thick coat of light or chocolate brown fur and measure a little less than 1m (3.2 ft) at birth. It is thought that males may live as long as 23 years and females as long as 18 years.

The New Zealand Hooker Sea Lion is listed as endangered and there are less than 10,000 individuals remaining. Fishing is their biggest threat. They can become caught and drown in fishing nets, and they have to compete for food with commercial fishers. Fishing vessels drag large trawl nets through the waters around the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands at depths of around 200m (656 ft) to catch squid – at the same depths sea lions swim and hunt for food.

New Zealand Hooker Sea Lion - New Zealand

New Zealand Fur Seal

For divers around Kaikōura, South Island, the New Zealand Fur Seal is usually on their bucket list. The New Zealand Fur Seal spends a lot of time on rocky shores, especially during breeding season, when they return to the same site each year.

New Zealand Fur Seals are excellent hunters and divers. They dive for prey for up to 2 minutes and some have been known to reach up to 400m (1,312 ft). When they are not hunting, they can stay underwater for up to 14 minutes.

These seals are not endangered and their numbers in recent years have actually started to increase.

Black Coral at Milford Sound

Diving at Milford Sound is well known for its unusual marine eco-system. The top 10 meters (32.8 ft) of water are actually fresh water, coming from run off from the land. The run off is stained a tea-colour due to the tannins from plants and soil that it picks up along its way. This darker coloured water blocks out the sunlight from the lower salty layers of water, resulting in many of the marine species that are found in the shallows here actually being species that normally would be found at much greater depths. And these species include black coral which is usually found in deeper waters. There are around 7 million coral colonies in Milford Sound and they have been building their underwater forests here for around 200 million years – a sight definitely worth seeing!

Jason Mirabilis Nudibranch

The Jason Mirabilis nudibranch is found across New Zealand and it is highly sought after by underwater photographers. It is typical of an aeolid nudibranch which have a spikey appearance. The Jason Mirabilis displays a variety of colours and can usually be found among hydroids, on which it feeds.

Jason Mirabilis Nudibranch

Sperm Whales

Sperm whales are most frequently spotted in New Zealand around Kaikōura where males can be seen year-round and close to shore. They congregate here because the 3km (1.8 miles) deep Kaikōura Canyon has a rare system of sea currents that sustain an incredibly rich marine food chain. Sperm Whales are at the top of this food chain and the abundance of fish ensures the males stay in the area while they bulk themselves up. The females and young whales prefer to stay out in the tropical waters.

Sperm whales are one of the deepest diving whales, they usually dive hundreds of meters to find their food but have been recorded at depths of over 3,000m (9,842 ft)! They are also champion breath holders generally averaging dives of between 40-60 minutes but have been recorded at ‘holding their breath’ for over 2 hours.

Spiny Sea Dragons

If macro marine life and critters are more to your liking, then Milford Sounds, which is home to the Spiny Sea Dragon, should be on your list of places to dive in New Zealand. Spiny sea dragons are recognisable by their long spiny bodies, long snout, and their vibrant orange skin with yellow and pink stripes. Spiny Sea dragons are found all year round in Milford Sounds and they make incredible macro underwater photography subjects!

Dusky Dolphins

It’s not just sperm whales that enjoy the waters around Kaikōura, Dusky Dolphins are spotted here too. Dusky dolphins have virtually no beak, and their dorsal fin is not hooked and rather blunt. They are a bluish-black colour on the back and tail and white on the underside of the body.

Large groups of several hundred to over 1,000 dusky dolphins are present in Kaikōura all year round with individuals moving north to feed at Admiralty in winter months. Dusky dolphins interact with a variety of other marine mammals including common dolphins, long-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins, New Zealand fur seals, sperm whales and orca – so they are in good company in Kaikoura!

Dusky Dolphins - New Zealand

These are just eight of our favourite species but, of course, there are countless other amazing marine species that you will encounter in all areas of New Zealand – we can’t possibly list them all here!

If you are keen to be wowed by all that New Zealand has to offer underwater the best way to see it is with your own eyes – so get ready to dive in! Locate a PADI dive shop in New Zealand and start crossing off seeing these bucket list marine animals.

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Wetpixel member and contributor Burt Jones is appealing for “historical” image contributions to the Bird’s Head Seascape Manta ID database. Specifically, they are seeking images of mantas taken in Raja Ampat in 2009 or earlier.

The database already has over 1400 identified individuals. While mantas are protected within Raja, they are not in the rest of Indonesia. By showing that they have large migratory patterns, this can be used to motivate the government to institute protections nationally.

If you have images of mantas taken in Raja in or before 2009, here are the specifics: Low-resolution images of the animals’ bellies (this is where they have distinctive markings). The date the image was taken on and the dive site are also crucial. Please email any suitable images to Burt.

On Wetpixel Live, Wetpixel Editor Adam Hanlon and regular contributor Alex Mustard discuss the unique characteristics of Fotosub underwater photography contests. Sometimes known as Splash-Ins or Shootouts, these contests are a big feature of underwater imaging in some parts of the world, yet are often poorly understood and followed in English speaking countries.

If you enjoy this episode, please subscribe to the Wetpixel Live YouTube Channel. This will then notify you when additional episodes are posted in future. Wetpixel Live is crammed full of hard-edged technical information and practical advice aimed at helping people create memorable images.

Save £1400 Per Couple on Maldives Scuba Diving Holiday

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Sponsored article 1Scuba travel specialist Dive Worldwide is offering fantastic savings on a trip to Filitheyo Island Resort on the unspoilt Maldives island of Faafu following the country’s addition to the UK’s travel corridor list. Divers will enjoy a laid-back atmosphere and the chance of large pelagic encounters

The Filitheyo Island Resort consists of 125 air-conditioned villas that are surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. Featuring air conditioning, televisions and en-suite bathrooms, each villa is traditionally decorated and designed to allow visitors to relax in comfort. The resort also includes an infinity pool, a spa and a selection of restaurants – each serving international specialities and exotic cocktails.

dww filitheyo maldives villa

Located on the eastern side of the atoll, Faafu is home to a large number of fascinating diving locations and a vast array of marine life, including manta rays and whale sharks. Divers can visit a variety of sites including overhangs, shallow reefs and coral bommies, and another highlight also included is a trip to the famous Route 66 – where encounters with eagle rays, critters and shoals of snapper are common. 

Special Offer Price: from £2,695 based on 2 sharing (saving £700pp), including return flights from the UK, transfers, 7 nights’ half-board accommodation at Filitheyo Island Resort, and 6 days unlimited shore diving with tanks, weights and Nitrox (for qualified divers). Book by 30 November 2020. Valid for travel between 1 December 2020 and 31 October 2021.

Full Terms and Conditions can be found at www.diveworldwide.com/accommodation/filitheyo-island-resort. For more information on booking, contact the team at www.diveworldwide.com/contact or give them a call on +44 (0)1962 302 087

 

10 Underwater Creatures That Don’t Need to Dress up for Halloween

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Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There’s plenty of stuff underwater that – even if they’re perfectly harmless – most people wouldn’t want to meet, especially on a night-dive, when you’ve become separated from your buddy, and the battery in your flashlight is failing fast, and you start hearing the opening strains of The Twilight Zone underneath your hoodie. Remember: underwater, nobody can hear you scream.

Well, okay, if you shout loudly enough then yes, you can be quite easily heard underwater, actually. But it’s Hallowe’en, so here’s some underwater critters that might at the very least put you off your dinner, if they go bumping into you in the night…

DEEP SEA ANGLERFISH

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Humpback blackdevil anglerfish, Melanocetus johnsonii. (Photo: Edith Widder / EOL)

The term ‘anglerfish’ covers a number of different species, all of whom have one thing in common: a bioluminescent lure that they can swing from the top of their heads to attract their prey, before sinking in a set of gnashers that would impress even Dracula. Definitely a case of having a face that ‘only a mother could love’, and well – it would have to be a mother, because mates are hard to find in the inky blackness of the deep sea, so females of some species form a very close bond with the males. So close, in fact, that the male’s head is fused into her body, effectively turning him into a portable sack of nuts. Who said romance was dead?


BLOBFISH

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Whoever gave the blobfish its name was perhaps a little bit lazy, possibly a little bit mean, but definitely scientifically accurate. Psychrolutes marcidus lives between 600-1200m near the sea floor where, to be fair, they look a lot less blobby than they do up here.They never visit the surface (with a face like that, who would?) – but they are sometimes accidentally brought up as bycatch and their gelatinous bodies – like lots of other fish – can’t cope with gravity. Voted ‘World’s Ugliest Animal’ in 2013.


FRILLED SHARK

The frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is one of the oldest surviving species of shark in the water – and therefore among the oldest animals to have ever inhabited the planet – with some estimates dating the species to around 150 million years. That’s twice as old as the last surviving dinosaur and 149.9 million years older than humans. The frilled shark is found from the poles to the equator in both the Atlantic and the Pacific, and isn’t thought to be dangerous. Pretty scary looking, but not dangerous…


GIANT ISOPOD

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One of the largest isopods, Bathynomus giganteus (Photo: Eric Kilby / Wikimedia Commons)

Looking for all the world like a giant woodlouse, but nastier, giant isopods are a group of crustaceans comprised of at least 20 individual species. Evil in appearance if not by nature, they thrive in cold, deep water, and range in size from 5cm and upwards. The largest model Bathynomus giganteus (pictured above) can reach up to 76cm in length and weighs in at close to 2kg. Just out of interest, woodlice are, in fact, crustaceans, not insects, and therefore B. giganticus is a distant relative, as are shrimp, crabs and other underwater shelled creatures. Now that you’ve seen it, an image of the giant isopod and his little pal the woodlouse will pop into your head every time you order prawns, or crack into a lobster. Forever.


GOBLIN SHARK

The Goblin shark was discovered near Yokohama, Japan, and takes its common name from the Japanese word tenguzame, a creature of Japanese mythology similar to the goblins of western mythology and – well – because it looks like a goblin. Mitsukurina owstoni is, like the frilled shark,  one of the oldest living species of fish in the water, coming in at around 125 million years old. The elongated ‘nose’ gives it a fairly evil appearance, and at 3m long, it’s probably best not to encounter one while night diving, although as a deep-water shark that’s fairly unlikely. The jaws extend considerably when it feeds, adding to the nightmarish look.


THE THING

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Eunice aphroditois, the Bobbit worm (Photo by Jenny / Wikimedia creative commons)

‘The Thing’ is an unknown species of polychaete worm that is occasionally sighted in the Caribbean islands of Curaçao, Bonaire and St Lucia, and is listed in fish ID books simply as ‘The Thing’. It is probably a relative of the creature pictured above which is the Australian version and known as the Bobbit worm. They say a picture tells a thousand words but what this one doesn’t tell is the story of the thousand legs. These giant worms look for all the world like giant centipedes but reaching over 2m in length and with infinitely more appendages. They are so rare that there aren’t many pictures on the internet, but you can find some close-up shots of The Thing in St Lucia in this article. Interestingly, the Bobbit worm’s scientific name is Eunice aphroditois. given that Aphrodite is the goddess of love, it seems likely that whoever named it was taking the mickey, or had been in the pub waaaaay too long.


DRAGONFISH

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Deep-sea dragonfish (Photo: JesseKlaggett / Flickr)

If somebody was to ever re-boot a very popular TV show and call it The Swimming Dead, then this would be the face of every flesh-eating zombie wiped out by – or indeed wiping out – the heroes. Dragonfish are agressive deep-sea predators, and Sloane’s viperfish (Chauliodus sloani) is the current world-record holder for tooth-to-body size of any living fish known to science, so large that the fish is unable to properly close its mouth. It hunts by opening its jaws and rushing at its prey, impaling its dinner in much the same way as any decent horror movie hero impales the undead. Fortunately, it lives very deep in the ocean and only grows to around 30cm – but one bite is all it takes…


WOLF EEL

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Wolf Eels (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) are actually quite lovely (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / D.P. Hershman)

Wolves look graceful, powerful, beautiful and majestic. Wolf eels do not. Growing to around 2.5m in length, Anarrhichthys ocellatus is mostly harmless to humans, although like the more common moray eels, if you poke around in its den, you’re going to lose whatever you’re poking with. Resident of the cooler waters of the North Pacific, wolf eels often mate for life, take up residence in a small cave and take turns guarding their eggs as the other adult goes foraging for crustaceans and shellfish. Rather a family-oriented sort of fish, really, and not at all scary. Just comes up a little short in the department of fairer features. 


VAMPIRE SQUID

No round up of Hallowe’en-themed aquatic life would be complete without the vampire squid. Unlike other species that sound dangerous but have deceptively boring scientific names,Vampyroteuthis infernalis quite literally translates as ‘the vampire squid from hell’. The name might be a little undeserved, however, as it doesn’t have fangs, the spines on the underside of its tentacles are harmless and it doesn’t suck blood. Possibly whoever named it had been up a little late reading Bram Stoker novels with a tad too much absinthe.


A NIGHTMARE ON YOUR STREET

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Plastic is one of greatest threats to our oceans, not scary fish (Photo: Rich Carey / Shutterstock)

If there was one thing that human beings should fear most about our oceans today, it’s not toothy, bitey fish or ugly monsters, even though – seriously – after the isopod you’re never going to look at a prawn cocktail the same way again. No, if there’s one thing to be afraid of, it’s not the creatures that are living under the waves, it’s the monstrous creation that is killing them en masse. Plastic in our seas has become a nightmare of epic proportions, and the results of its presence would turn the stomachs of even the hardiest of bloodthirsty horror movie fanatics. Hallowe’en probably started out somewhere in our distant past as a ritual to appease the souls of the dead, drive out evil spirits and set the world to rights before winter set in. It would seem that’s as good a reason as any to start thinking more carefully about our use of plastic, and what we do with it afterwards. Enjoy the evening, don’t let the trick-or-treaters rob you blind (or egg your car), recycle the sweet wrappers and the costume packaging and then perhaps we can start to set the world to rights. Again.

Happy Hallowe’en!