Published June 28, 2016 | Diving, Duiken, Fish, Photo

The anemone fish has earned its name by being the only fish that can live within the tentacles of the anemones and not get stung to death.  It manages this feat by rubbing its entire body on the tentacles of its host gently.  This causes a mucus layer to form on its body and the poison does not affect it moving forward.

This is a symbiotic relationship where both the anemone and the clownfish benefit as follows:

  • The clownfish is protected from predators. Additionally, it eats some of the leftovers from the anemone’s meal.
  • The anemone benefits from the clownfish luring other fish to it as prey. Additionally, when any of its tentacles die, the clownfish eats them leaving the anemone in great condition.

Taking pictures of the clownfish can be very difficult, especially because they are easy to excite as you approach and will dart around quite a bit.  If they have eggs, they can be even more aggressive.  The eggs are golden beads which are hidden under the anemone’s skirt and you may even see a clownfish blowing her eggs to aerate them.

nemo photography, anemone fish

The Nemo Photography Skill

You may need to use your 60mm macro lens and do so on DSLR cropped frame. If you are using the DSLR Camera on full-frame, consider using the 105 or 100mm lens.  A compact camera will do well with a native lens but because they move so fast, shutter lag may be a problem.

Ambient light does not work when shooting anemone fish because of how fast they move.  Use 2 strobe lights and let the light freeze them first. You want to increase your cameras f-stop number. With a DSLR camera, start at f22 and with a compact you may only get to f8.

To get an excellent depth of field, you need to have a closed aperture and with this you will be able to get a large area in focus.  This is particularly important if you will be using the 100mm lens but if you are using the 60mm, you may be better off.

I am sure you want to bring out those rich colors.  For this, you will need to take your ISO real low.  Make sure that it is not on auto. If you will be using 2 strobe lights, dong this will be easy. Your shutter speed will need to stay at 1/60s. However, it is important for you to look at the pictures you have taken and adjust if you need to.