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A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 22 May 2024, 04:00
by HAMidtun
G'day g'day good people of Planet Catfish, and welcome to my photo-travel-work journal thread!

Some of you may already know me from my other photo-thread, revolving around catfish: https://www.planetcatfish.com/forum/vie ... hp?t=51453

For those who don't know who I am;
I am a Norwegian who loves traveling and wildlife, and I'm employed as a field-biologist at the Institute of Marine Research within the group "demersal fishes" in Bergen. My main hobby is herping (looking for reptiles and amphibians) and documentation of species through photography. This means I photograph more than just catfish, and Jools suggested to create a thread here to share some of my non-catfish shots from around the world.

With my profession, and my eagerness to travel, I get my hands and camera on quite a few rare or seldom seen species, especially when doing research cruises like I am on now in Cote d'Ivoire to Ghana doing demersal ecosystem surveys. So my thought here is to do a post every now and then where I might highlight a species or genus from my travels or from work. Meaning it will not be focused around a single travel, but everything from vacation in Indonesia to research cruises around Svalbard. I will keep it to mostly aquatic wildlife, but I miiiight just have to sneak in a snake or a gecko from time to time, hope that is a-ok :d

This first post will mainly be focused on how the images of fish and other aquatic wildlife are taken, as this is quite essential to actually taking these pictures.
When we do demersal surveys we do bottom trawls that we sort through and then collect biological data from the catch. As we work the catch I usually have a 50-100L tub of saltwater at the ready to keep anything that is alive alive for a quick shoot and eventual release. Unfortunately most of the catch is in poor shape, but every trawl some individuals manage to get their strength back. If so, then I snap some photos and release them back out at sea. My set-up is simple; an opaque storage box with one side cut out and replaced by a glass shelf from IKEA taped in place by gorilla waterproof patch and seal tape. Then I have two external flashes at each side of the tank to provide light, some decoration from the trawl in the form of rocks, shells, algae or similar stuff, all in-front of a lovely background consisting of a black garbage bag. The whole set up cost me around 40$ to make and is a rather low tech, easy construction.
Here is the set-up in action:
370137232_260781296788858_3904562667702886804_n.jpg
And here is the result of this particular photoshoot, a juvenile Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) some 160 nautical miles north of the Norwegian coast.
EI7A6897-Enhanced-NR.JPG

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 22 May 2024, 18:46
by Jools
Love it, great new thread! Look forward to more field fish pics.

Cheers,

Jools

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 22 May 2024, 20:06
by NewPlecoKeeper
This is gonna be good! Safe travels!

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 25 May 2024, 15:07
by HAMidtun
During my first cruise up in the Barents sea it was not the fish that took me by surprise, but the invertebrates. The colouration and pattern of some of these species were incredible especially when thinking about the usual brown to grey colour-palette that we see in much of the waters adjacent to the boreal and arctic zones.

This is why I will start off this threads first proper post with a genus of shrimp. Spirontocaris, also called parrot shrimps or blade shrimps, is a genus consisting of 21 species distributed across colder waters in the northern hemisphere. They inhabit shallows to depths of over 1000m, often associated with sea anemones where they hide at the base of the animal, or other similar structures to give them some protection from the local predatory fish.

These shrimp are highly variable in colour and pattern within each species, and you thus have to rely on exoskeletal features to properly ID them (as with many crustaceans). I have been lucky enough to see two species, the Parrot Shrimp (Spirontocaris spinus) and the Friendly Blade Shrimp (Spirontocaris lilljeborgii) from two cruises off the north coast of Norway and well into the Barents sea. Definitely one of my favorite species of marine inverts I've seen on my travels :-b

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 27 May 2024, 01:05
by HAMidtun
I just have to, I can't wait....
About 30 min ago I finished up a photoshoot of this amazing looking fish. We caught it in something called a Bongo-net (plankton sampling equipment) off the coast of Ghana. This here is a Stomias affinis, or Gunther's Boarfish. It belongs to the family Stomiidae which is aptly named Scaly Dragonfishes. Look at.... JUST LOOK AT IT! How cool is this fish!

They're a bathypelagic deep-sea fish that lives between 0 and 3500 meters down into the watercolumn, being shallower in the night and deeper in the day. This specimen was some 20 ish cm long, but there are unconfirmed reports of specimens reaching 2 meters in this family, but it's highly unlikely. As you may see, it's a predatory fish which uses the little barbel with a light organ to lure prey in close. Other than that we know very little about this species, and group, so any new records and knowledge will contribute to close the open gaps.

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 27 May 2024, 15:05
by Jools
:headbang: :text-coolphotos:

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 12 Jul 2024, 08:11
by HAMidtun
I am back, I am alive and with 0 freshwater fish photos in my memory bank..... BUT I got to see some cool snakes, which was our main target in Ghana and Uganda.
Thus, not a fish related post, but these do have scales. So close enough :P

I will jump back to aquatic wildlife in the next post, but I am toooooo stoked having seen these not to share em :D

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 12 Jul 2024, 13:41
by Jools
Lovely - where about in Uganda were you?

Cheers,

Jools

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 12 Jul 2024, 19:19
by Viktor Jarikov
Awesome stuff, sure to be a superhit with all of us!

Re: A field-biologists photographic journal of fish and aquatic creatures

Posted: 13 Jul 2024, 19:04
by HAMidtun
Jools wrote: 12 Jul 2024, 13:41 where about in Uganda were you?
A bit all over the place, Mabira, Murchison falls, Rewenzory, Biwindi, Lake Mburo and Mitayana :D