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A wolf in sheep's clothing


Subject: A pair of Tiger Cardinalfish (Cheilodipterus macrodon) meddles with a shoal of Squirrelfish. This Cardinalfish species, one of the biggest of its family, is a predator of small fish. The Squirrelfish are mainly feeding on crustaceans, mollusks, and gastropods and form no danger to smaller fish species. So, any small fish believing to be safe in the vicinity of squirrelfish are hopelessly deceived for the Tiger Cardinalfish, disguised by their red and white stripes mimicking the squirrelfish, do form a thread to them. This form of mimicry where a predator mimics a less dangerous species is called Mertensian mimicry.

Technique: A lot of suspended particles resulting from a few days of heavy rain made the filming conditions difficult. Positioning your video light too close to your objective will generate a lot of backscatter (light reflecting on these particles), positioning your lights too far away will underexpose your subject. With some trial and error I managed to set up the video lights so that the backscatter was reduced to a minimum yet still illuminate the fish enough to bring out the red colour in their scales. Noise reducing software was applied in post-production to reduce the adversity of the water conditions.

All images Copyright 2020 Olivier Van den Broeck and Greet Meulepas for Beyond scuba. All rights reserved.