Sea anemones are one of my favorite underwater photography subjects. This is in due in part to the fact that even if they are moving, it is so slowly as to be absolutely imperceptible over the course of a dive. But their bright colors are another factor that always catches my eye. When photographed up close with very tight cropping they can also produce some very interesting abstract photos.
Today’s subject is the brightly colored white-spotted rose anemone (Urticina lofotensis), one of the larger anemone species found off the coast of California. As with all other anemones and their relatives the sea jellies, the beautiful and graceful tentacles are studded with stinging cells that are used to capture passing prey. Also like other anemones and the sea jellies, this anemone has only on opening into its digestive system. The volcano-shaped bump in the lower left corner of the photo is the anemone’s mouth, as well as its anus. Simple creatures shaped essentially like a bag, all food goes into that opening, and when finished, all the waste products come out the same way.
Beyond the biology illustrated by this photo, I also really like the bold, yet subtly blended colors of the oral disk and tentacles. Looking also most like a bit of a beautiful sunset captured and brought down to the reef, there is no missing this animal on Talcott Shoals off of Santa Rosa Island in California’s Channel Island chain.
Today’s photo was taken with a Canon EF100 mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mk III in an Ikelite housing. Lighting was provided by an Ikelite DS161 strobe set on eTTL exposure. The exposure was set to 1/60 sec at f/9.5 and ISO 400.