Finding (and photographing) Nemo
Hey all, thought I would share some information on clownfishes, a group of fish enormously popularized by the movie "Finding Nemo". Well, first for some of their biology. They are in the family Pomacentridae (commonly known as damselfishes) and are found in the tropical western Pacific and Indian oceans. There are many different species of clownfish, and the places where you find the most species (and thus some of the best places to photograph them) is in the coral reefs of Indonesia and the Philippines. Here are some species of clownfish from my portfolio:
The movie "Finding Nemo" is accurate in many aspects of the biology of these guys, but two of them are just impossible. First, clownfish (and most marine fish) have what we call a pelagic larval stage, meaning that their eggs hatch into larva that are carried away by the ocean currents, so parents never hang out with their offspring. Second, clownfish are very sedentary and territorial. Once they settle in an anemone they spend their lives there and never move more than a few feet away from it, so that trip to Sydney harbor is impossible to happen in real life.
Now, because they are so territorial and sedentary, they are really easy to photograph. All you have to do is find one and you can sit there photographing it for long periods of time. A macro lens and SLR camera are ideal for best quality photos, but you can come up with nice snap shots even with a small point-and-shoot cameras in plastic housings. Here is a wide shot showing more of their habitat: