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December 18, 2005

Sunflower star, Pycnopodia helianthoides, Tube anemone, Pachycerianthus fimbriatus
A sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) slides a few arms between a
pair of tube anemones (Pachycerianthus fimbriatus). This is a good
example of how a photographer can intentionally mislead his audience. In this
case the image leads one to believe that the Pycnopodia is stuck or, at
least, thwarted in its attempt to travel toward the camera. Deceptions like this
are one of the reasons I prefer still photography over video. A more "honest"
depiction of a scene like this might involve the Pycnopodia, a swift
moving, voracious predator, mowing down everything in its path, tube anemones
included. Silt-bottom environments, like the one in which this shot was taken,
present a major photographic challenge. Silt is easily stirred into the water
column from ambient surge or from errant fin strokes. The disturbed particles
often lead to images with excessive backscatter.

    "The Barge", Monterey Bay, California
    December 18, 2005

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