Image courtesy of Kevin Lee
Shaw's Cove, Laguna Beach, Calif
Felimare californiensis (=Hypselodoris californiensis)
It's the Webmaster again filling again in for Dave! I recently received pics of Felimare californiensis from veteran underwater photographer and world adventurer Kevin Lee.
F. californiensis has been done a number of times on the site, the most recent of which is by Angel Valdes(March 2013). After viewing Kevin's spectacular images, I decided how could we not revisit what I consider to be the crown jewel of California Opistobranchs photography wise !
Back in the days when I was doing "cold water" diving off California, our group of three encountered a number of specimens on a rock pinnacle at Santa Barbara Island during a Truth Aquatic's trip to the Channel Islands. We were initially drawn to the pinnacle by the presence of a giant sea bass! This was back in my film days so naturally as is the ultimate fate of shooting film, I had expended my quota of 36 frames on the sea bass when I noticed the Felimare californiensis on a ledge! Fortunately Tom Sullivan, one of my dive mates was able to get some pics that saved the day! That turned out to be my one and only encounter with F. californiensis!
Boy was I glad to go digital in 2002 and avoid the "out of film" scenario so often encountered back then! With limited resources at that time, we really had to take time to compose the shot, a skill set that was lost for a short time after the introduction of digital photography.
Goddard, Jeffrey H. R., Maria C. Schaefer, Craig Hoover, Angel Valdes, 2013. Regional extinction of a conspicuous dorid nudibranch (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in California, Marine Biology, 160(6):1497-1510
San Diego, Calif
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Kevin certainly needs no introduction to the Southern California Dive Community! On an international level you may have encountered Kevin as he certainly gets around on a life time quest to photograph the many treasures of the undersea world.
The following is Kevin's report of the encounter at Shaw's Cove
"...Felimare californiensis is one of the most striking nudibranchs off our coast, well, actually anywhere. A visual treat! It was a relatively rare find along our coast, until a few years ago, when it made a strong coastal comeback. Last November, while doing a beach dive at Shaw's Cove, Laguna Beach, California, I found four beautiful specimens in the east-west swim through at 15 feet depth. Though I have photographed F. californiensis before, this was the first time I noticed the branchial plume interior speckled with yellow polka dots!..."
Based in Fullerton, California, Kevin Lee's adventure gene has taken him to over forty countries. After learning to scuba dive, in 2002, he embraced underwater photography as a way of sharing the ocean's wonders with non-divers. Though aesthetics is important in his photography, Kevin also strives to capture unique perspectives that are of interest to marine biologists and other scientists who study ocean creatures and their anatomy/phylogeny.
Though Kevin photographs all marine life that fits in his macro lens, opisthobranchs are his favorite subject. He has photographed and collected invertebrate specimens, with proper permitting, all around the world for scientific research. These pursuits have taken him scuba diving in all Seven Continents, including Antarctica where water temperatures were 29F (-2C).
Kevin's work can be seen in the Leatherby Libraries, Chapman University, Orange, California, where his opisthobranch images are on permanent display. Other works have been exhibited at the Branford House, University of Connecticut; Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Monterey Bay Aquarium; Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach; City of Los Angeles (ELC); and other venues. And of course, Kevin continues to contribute marine images for numerous magazines, newspapers, academic literature and many dive related publications.
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