Underwater Photography: Rhinopias, Mariona, and Pygmy Seahorse

Two dives, 202 photos and over 140 minutes of bottom time. Sharing three shots (out of 202!!) from the weekend dive. We kicked off from Anilao PHOTO Hotel with Ivan Manzanares. Not only is he a spotter, he’s adept with a camera so he helped jog back my understanding of shooting with a P&S from 3 months of absence from Vitamin Sea.


Shooting rhinopias was fairly easy given that this particular one was huge. All I had to do was remove my +8 diopter because there was no need for it. The challenge to shooting rhinopias is setting the drama. I have more than two dozen “documentary” shots but creating drama with this creature’s unique contour calls for creative lighting. In the shot above, I had to remove my left strobe and Ivan held it behind the creature for some backlight and shadows. As you can also see, the rhinopias’ eyes is slightly illuminated from the back.


Sony RX-100 Mark II
YS-110a strobes
+8 wet lens
SOLA 500 focus light
iDAS tray and arms



The mariona nudibranch is apparently quite rare. They’re likened to the alleni nudibranchs that resemble coral flora. Shooting this was a slight challenge because it was hard to distinguish where the slug’s rhinopores were located. In the photo above, these are the two white-ish antenna which go down the length of the head.


I got lucky with the hippocampus seahorse or “pygmy seahorse.” This was a full zoom + crop shot. You can compare this with a width-wise cropping of the original photo in this same post. The key is to get the eye, but shooting the “eye” of something smaller than a grain of rice is a dauntless task.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast and sitting Techbology Editor for The Philippine STAR.

He is also an EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.