View Full Version : reefkeeping.com add - what fish is that?

04/04/2002, 04:03 PM
Had the bright red tail section? Looks creamy at the top?
Just thougth I'd ask.


04/04/2002, 04:09 PM
Looks like a photo-editted Amphiprion akallopisos or Amphiprion sandaracinos to me. In other words, no natural fish looks like that.

04/04/2002, 04:09 PM
Looks like a clown, maybe an orange or pink skunk.

See a pic of one:


04/04/2002, 04:47 PM
Thank you :)

Just thought I'd ask. It caught my eye so I had to ask...

Have a good evening

04/04/2002, 04:55 PM
You guys really have to read stuff front to back. Ask the guy who is taking credit for it.


Maybe I'm just too addicted..


04/04/2002, 05:20 PM

I think an email to Eric B. should answer your question, he contributed this photo.
I recall him showing this photo at the last MARSH meeting.

Don't know about the photoshop part.
Guess you should ask him this as well

04/04/2002, 06:15 PM
not to speak for eric, but leonard is 100% wrong about editing the colors.

04/04/2002, 06:19 PM
My apologies. The way some you guys sound, it's almost as if photo-editting was a crime!

It certainly resembles some kind of post or pre editting (e.g. lights, w/b settings, etc.)

04/04/2002, 06:46 PM
I'll go ahead a send him a message.

I was not aware of who's image it was let alone what type of fish. Thus my original question.

Again, thank you.

I'll ask him about it. Thanks again, have a good day.

04/04/2002, 06:57 PM
After you find out, could you tell us what it is?

04/04/2002, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Leonard
My apologies. The way some you guys sound, it's almost as if photo-editting was a crime!

No, actually that's the way you made it sound (quite emphatically, I might add):

Originally posted by Leonard
In other words, no natural fish looks like that.


04/05/2002, 07:43 AM
I just see len posting his harmless opinion thinking the photo was edited.

Pic looks exceptional to me.. I would think it had some special editing as well. Even if that was a simple sharpen filter..

lighten up!

04/05/2002, 10:37 AM
If the pic was not edited then there has to be some other special effects or something. The fish has a red outline around it's fins. That can't be right can it?


04/05/2002, 11:05 AM
As soon as I hear back I will post.

Again, thank you.

04/05/2002, 11:30 AM
I posted a link to this thread and a question in Eric's forum.

I'm very curious to see what he has to say. I've seen the bodies of fish change color pretty dramatically due to moods/stresss/etc., but never seen fins do that.


04/05/2002, 01:49 PM
Hi everyone.

I mentioned in the thread in my forum that I took this photo on an atoll called Karang Koka in the Tukang Besi archipelago in Sulawesi Indonesia before the 9ICRS Bali conference. I was diving with Dr. Helmut Schumacher as my dive buddy, and Mike Kirda was with us, too. He saw the shots as we came out of the water and dried off.

The photo was taken using a Nikon CoolPix 990 in an Ikelite digital underwater housing. The image was put into Photoshop and the autocorrect function used to adjust the photo. I don't use any other tools on my photos, and would never color or otherwise "enhance" a photo. This is the equivalent of normal darkroom procedures adjusting how far you "push" film. I love the shot so much I have it framed on my office wall, and I can assure you I wouldnt frame a photo I "faked."

I have the raw image, and the the colors are the same. It was a near perfect shot as it was (not often this happens!), so autocorrect really didn't do much at all. However, the original shot was from further back, so when we used this image, I had to cut out the clownfish from the anemone and blow it up a couple hunded percent. No alterations were ever done beyond that. Be happy to post the raw unedited photo as a small image here if anyone wants to see the orignal - ;-)

I don't know much about the color patterns of clownfish other than what I see in stores, so until you guys brought this thread up, I never knew it was unusual. I just always thought it to be one of my better photos. Good to know!

04/05/2002, 04:18 PM
This is the original raw image, straight off the camera, uncorrected, shrunk from 28 x 14 ".

You think this is colorful, you should see some of the others I have!!

04/05/2002, 06:47 PM
Thanks Eric. That is one outstanding phenotype. I've never witnessed a specimen so unique in the thousands of clownfish I've seen. Very reminiscent of an albino (from the planet Kronos ;) ). Great picture, and great find! My guess is the unintentional effects of light underwater may have had something to do with the resultant picture. Incorrect camera settings or camera internal error(s) could result in unnatural exposures as well.

Anemone: I'm trying to follow your logic .... because I said "no natural fish looks like that" = photo-editting is bad? Am I the only one not able to link these two ideas together. Emphatic, eh?

FWIW, it took me 30 seconds to adjust hue/color balance with photo shop to make a clown that more resembles what I've seen:
(NB: not suggesting Eric is lying, but that camera settings/light interaction/camera errors can contribute to these problems).

04/05/2002, 07:12 PM
Looks like your camera went on the blink. I fiddled in photoshop assuming the colors of the fish were not funky and came up with this. I adjusted the hue and the saturation. It would have been easier if the full size image was had.

04/05/2002, 07:29 PM

Excuse me? Why would you say my camera went on the blink? Would you like to see other shots from the same dive?

04/05/2002, 08:30 PM
Speaking as a serious amateur photographor, both below and above the water, it is impossible for the coloration to be altered like that from exposure control. Any changes in exposure settings would only change the lightness or darkness of an image, not the coloration. While filters or colored lights could effect the coloration of an image, these would be applied across the entire image, not just the edges of a subject.

Lenard, you really need to get out into the world more if you don't think it possible that the fish really looked like that. Between the many fish I've seen imported, and many I've seen in the wild, I've learned one thing. Just when you think you've seen it all, mother nature throws a new twist at you that you ;)

04/05/2002, 08:34 PM
Yeah sure, I always enjoy UW shots. Got any other pics from same anemone and fish? I'm sure if an anemone and fish that spectacular was on one of my dives I'd make sure I'd take a couple of it just to make sure I get a good one.

ON a side note. Sometimes halogen/tungsten does funky things to film but since this is not a film camera that problem is out the door.

04/05/2002, 09:30 PM
After Leonard played with the colors it looks even more like the little skunk I posted about earlier. I think skunks are from that area too, so thats probably what it is.

04/05/2002, 11:14 PM
Hi Bill:

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a serious amateur, but I'e taken more than a few thousand shots underwater over the past twenty years, so once in a while I get a few good ones. I shoot Nikonos and digital underwater.

As for the clown and anemone, no Ididn;t take any more than one...for two reasons:

First, that as I said I didn't know there was anything unusual about this clownfish....it looked like just another skunk clown and another anemone. Seen and taken pictues of more than I can count. Second, a sea krait showed up right then, and I spent the next twenty shots trying to get a good photo but the current was strong, he wouldn;t stay still and kept poking his head into the reef, and I never got a single good shot of it.

so, enjoy the following

04/05/2002, 11:15 PM

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04/05/2002, 11:33 PM
Nice pics.. your response on not seeing the clown when you were diving leads me to believe the camera messed up because that is one funky clown and even when you've been in the hobby for a while you still would remeber that clown. Heck I remeber a spot off Naigani Island, Fiji that had more tomato clowns in a couple square meters than i've ever seen.

I remeber once I acidentally took a double picture that came out really cool.. I didn't mean for it to work that way but it was damn good when it came out.

Keep them pics coming!!!

04/06/2002, 12:16 AM
Hey Bill:

I've about had it. Anyone got a website where I can post a 1.7 meg file? The date on the file reads 10/17/00 9:47 PM... + 16 HOURS. The file I posted is as saved straight from the camera disk. I do NOT take kindly to this kind of thing. Funny how if the photo doesn't please you, it has to be me, not you, that's just plain wrong.

No offense, but why should any of us feel that you know all the possible morphotypes of the flora and fauna of Sulawesi from being a hobbyist for a few years and an amateur photographer. You've never seen it, so it doesn't exist? The camera messed up? I'm not telling the truth because you think its exceptional and I didn't know it? So, the camera all of a sudden took a crystal clear shot so well you can zoom and see stripes across the corneas of its eyes, but had a mind of its own and put red into it? Man, where can I get one of those cameras. Hate to shock you, but I'm not a fish expert. Without looking it up, I couldn't tell youthe scientific name of a pink skunk clownfish. I have no earthly idea what their color variations are, and have never kept one in a tank. The ones I have noticed in the hobby are pinkish with a white stripe. I'm not really into clownfish. But blah colored fish in the hobby are no great surprise when you've been in the wild. They usually look blah, in fact. So no, I was not particularly surprised by that clown or the anemone. Obviously, I guess I should have been.

And I didn't say I didn't see the clownfish, I said I didn't know there was anything unusual about it until this thread. Of all the people I have shown that photo to, no one has ever remarked that the clownfish was unusual, but usually just say, nice shot.

So, here are cuts from the zoomed image - one from the original, one from the autocorrected image. I'm sure you'll see that the coloration on this fish is the same.

04/06/2002, 12:24 AM
the hue could be from articfacts due to how digital pictures record pictures.

well the cam took it, awsome IMHO, theres a new technology out called x3, looks VERY VERY promising, but the price isnt :(

I am looking forward to that sigma camera, and see a less artifacting from digital picts.

04/06/2002, 01:27 AM
Relax! It's a cool picture worth of going up on a wall. I'm not accusing you of anything. If you choose to take my replies as accusatory sure go right ahead, but they are not meant that way.

I also did not state that I was an expert on anything. Just because I state I've never seen it does it mean it's not out there. Heck they just identified 6 different jerusalem crickets in southern california.

The biggest question I have with the picture is it just doesn't look right. (Don't read expert here) Since I took up photography in high school and marrying a photographer and hanging around photography friends I have seen my share of photographs. (Don't read expert here) Having used everythig from a Nikon D-1 to a Polaroid sx-70, don't read expert here, you begin to have a 6th sense about funky things in photographs. Strange things happen, maybe the light was just right to give you that photo and if you went back to that exact spot tomorrow or in 5 min later you would have a different photo. To believe the 990 is flawless is unreasonable. It's a great camera but it is limited by it's CCD and it is fooled sometimes.

Here is an example of a Nikon camera getting fooled.
Notice red line on end of sailfin.
Same fish different lighting Notice white at end of tail. Fish does not have a red tail but camera read it that way. Taken with a nikon 885

My suspisions are that your auto white balance was fooled. This is nothing new to digital cameras. Consumer class have some problems sometimes with them.

"What you see with your eyes is not necessarily what you get after the camera processes the pictures... You'll often get odd colors, unnatural skin tones, and a yellow, brown, blue, green, or red cast to your whole scene, even though it might not appear to be a problem when checked on the camera's LCD review screen. You think your pictures are ok, until you actually pull them up on your computer screen or print them. These kinds of color problems are difficult (sometimes nearly impossible) to completely correct after the fact."

"The auto white balance is easily fooled when dealing with interior illumination. The manual flourescent setting doesn't go far enough to remove the greenish tint. Occassionally the auto white balance is thrown way off when using the flash on closeup subjects."

Is this what I think happened? Maybe, but without knowing the settings I can't tell. Unless you have adjusted your white balance to compensate for UW photography and your flash if you used one for that shot, I noticed you used one for the night shots. I'm sure it was probably on automatic mode. The white balance is auto adjusted on each photo so it would explain why the next photo is probably normal as normal can be.

I hope this clears some things up. If it was a mistake by the camera maybe it will happen again sometime and you'll get another cool photo.

04/06/2002, 07:22 AM
The following year when I was in a different area of Sulawesi, I saw a Heteractis magnifica with a green base while snorkeling in shallow water.

In Bunaken, I saw Harlequin shrimp with orange bands on their tail feeding on a star when waliking on a seagrass flat.

I recognized those as remarkable, and stayed around to look at them for awhile. I didn't think it all that unusual, because color morphs in different parts of the world are not that unusual...just unusual when you haven't seen them before. Sort of like the red Goniopora when it first showed up in the trade.

So I offer the following hypothesis to the fooled auto white balance hypothesis. Not everyone has seen every variation of every creature in the ocean.

04/06/2002, 10:59 AM

04/06/2002, 11:02 AM
Those are some really really nice pictures Eric. I hope they will encourage people to start diving and start taking pictures! It's great to be able to show your friends "what's down there."

I especially like my picture of the fireworm that you posted...:-) Taken 8-11-01. That was the spawning trip that we did with Larry Jackson. That trip kicked wrasse!!

Here's a picture of Eric with his Nikonos on that dive:


04/06/2002, 11:20 AM
Heh - Jameso - that pic looks way photoshopped - the water is way too blue! ;)

Here is a link someone gave me that shows how a pair of clownfish can look dramatically different at different depths.



I don't know what the rest of the picture looked like after it was balanced, but the clown does appear different to me in the before/after balancing pics you linked. I guess this is all persception as even a digital monitor is going to try to help us see what color it interprets. I've noticed several times where I work with a pic on my notebook computer and upload it to my website with the fast connection at work and then look at it on my home computer and the pic looks completely different, and then I print the pic out on paper and it looks even different from that!

Needless to say with the incredible variation of colors and morphs out there, I would think that there could indeed be a clownfish with those color patterns. The other factor that could be considered is that I think many of us are used to looking at our critters under even illumination in our little glass boxes and are not familiar with the way something would actually look at depth. I know that I've never been to 10m in the ocean let alone 20 or 30m.

Thanks for sharing the pics. Very nice!


04/06/2002, 05:48 PM
Originally posted by billsreef
Lenard, you really need to get out into the world more if you don't think it possible that the fish really looked like that. Between the many fish I've seen imported, and many I've seen in the wild, I've learned one thing. Just when you think you've seen it all, mother nature throws a new twist at you that you ;)

My experiences differ. Living in Los Angeles, and having worked in the industry, I have never seen the degree of deviation like the clownfish in question. I have literally seen thousands upon thousands of Amphiprions. This isn't to say that it's not possible, but chances are greater that the camera or ambient light are responsible for the outrageous colors then is mother nature.

04/06/2002, 08:26 PM
I don't care if "the light did it" . I am of the opinion that light makes all the colors :D .

All of them are beautiful pictures to me. Thank you very much for sharing them with us.

04/06/2002, 10:30 PM
Anyone with any real diving experience will be aware of the lack of red light much past 15 feet. Red's like that just aren't noticed untill you look at the picture later, unless you happened to shine your dive light at it. In other words I wouldn't have expected Eric to notice the unusual coloration on the clown while diving even if he was a fish guy ;)

Leonard, as colleage in this industry, I would expect that you are aware of the areas that most of the fish we see imported are primarily restricted to some of the major island groups and close to major airports at that. A very restricted range when compared to the actual area that the tropical south pacific covers. Heck I can remember when Bangaii Cardinals weren't even know to the industry. Pretty narrow thinking to think that you've seen it all just because you've worked in the business.

04/08/2002, 10:20 AM
Originally posted by billsreef
Pretty narrow thinking to think that you've seen it all just because you've worked in the business.

Yet another fine example of RC moderators interjecting negative connotations to my texts. Nice hyperbole. Frustrating: yes. Expected: yes. <sigh>

What I am saying is quite simple (read carefully, please): Editting, camera error, personal error, or light interaction with the water are more likely candidates to explain the radical colors. A temporary algorhytm error in white balance settings or misintepretation by the camera alone could explain the resultant image. I'll defer technical issues with cameras to Bill2. I have not "seen it all" and never claimed such. But based upon what I have seen (in the industry and in dives in the wild), I have never witnessed chromatic deviations to this extent, even in species that are known to be highly variable. The hybridization of yellow/pinkish clowns with orange stripes resulting in a blue clown with red stripes is highly suspect. The way I see it, it's all an issue of statisical probability.

Just for clarification (so moderators can't contort my words any further): I am not disvalueing the image Eric took. It's a great photo, and I do not doubt Eric if he says it's not intentionally editted. It should be noted, however, the uncorrected photo (pre Auto Level) Eric posted is a significant departure from the corrected photo. Besides the former being far more believable, the latter has obliviously adjusted for saturation, highlights, and color balance. IMO, understanding what Auto Level does leads me to conclude it is a form of editting.

And FWIW, it's my personal opinion editting photos for effects is an acceptable practice (especially when it comes to creating icon grafics), so long as the photographer does not lie about his/her editting practices.

04/08/2002, 11:05 AM
These links are somewhat educational for those who haven't been diving. Fishbase has an interesting tool to demonstrate what a fish would look like at depth without additonal lighting. Links to similar clown pics are-




Click the small slider bar on the right to change the apparent depth. You can also click the light icon at the bottom of the slider bar to get an idea of how a divelight or flash would appear. Move your mouse slowly around the picture to apply the tool where you pointer is. You can click the icon again to shut the tool off.

04/08/2002, 04:54 PM

that was awesome. thanks for the link.

04/08/2002, 08:51 PM
Awesome link. Now I know what a skunk clown will look at 200m. I will attempt to validate that link by diving to 200m and comparing my photograph to the adjusted one on the link. To bad I probably won't be able to tell anyone my results.

04/20/2002, 08:44 AM
Nice pic I have seen clowns that nice Bill just need to learn that he doesnt know it all and hasent seen all of gods creatus.:)