4th Place Novice Macro Ocean Art 2019 Mel Wu

4th Place Novice Macro

Mel Wu

"Cuttlefish and Friends"


The Story: I decided to take a solo trip to the Philippines to focus on photography, and stayed in Dauin for two weeks to concentrate on muck diving and the wonderful creatures that inhabit the black sand.

My favourite site in Dauin was San Miguel, which is where this picture was taken. Myself and my guide would spend hours hunting for critters, looking under leaves and searching the muck. One of my favourite creatures are cephalopods, and this site had plenty of flamboyant cuttlefish. However, this was the first and only time on my trip that I saw a pygmy cuttlefish - this one was about 2cm in size, and was happily feeding on shrimp (such as the one on the top of the leaf! while I photographed it. I spent a couple of minutes photographing, then turned the camera off to enjoy.

I believe this is a juvenile sepia bandensis - pygmy cuttlefish, it was only about 2cm in size - at maturity they can reach 7cm - and the lovely yellow colour shows that the cuttlefish is very relaxed, as this species will flash warning black and white bands if stressed. However, this is a guess and I would love to know!

On reviewing pictures from this dive I was thrilled to see the cuttle was surrounded by 'Shaun the Sheep' or Costasiella Kuroshimae nudibranchs - they are very hard to see, but there are 6 of them on the top and bottom of the leaf. These nudis eat the sap of this foliage, and it wasn't rare to see up to 9 of these nudibranchs on a very small leaf. However, this was the only time I managed to capture another species with the nudibranchs in one photo.

I learned so much about underwater photography on this trip, and can't wait to go back.

Location:  San Miguel - Dauin, Dumaguete, Philippines

Equipment Used:  Sony RX100V Camera, Fantasea RX100V Housing, Dual Sea & Sea YS-01 Strobes, Nauticam SMC-1 Diopter, Fantasea 2000 Video Light

Camera Settings: 1/125 sec, F11, ISO 125


Back to Ocean Art Winners Page