By Todd Winner Photography by Todd Winner and Michael Zeigler
When it comes to small colorful marine animals, it’s hard to compete with nudibranchs. Often referred to as sea slugs, nudibranchs have been described as some of the most beautiful creatures in our oceans. With thousands of different species throughout the world, there seems to be an endless supply of diverse shapes, sizes, and color patterns to photograph. We have over 130 different species along the California coast alone. With sizes ranging from 1/8 inch to over 12 inches, you can use a variety of different lenses to capture your desired image. Macro lenses like the Nikon 60mm, Canon 60mm, Nikon 105mm VR, or Canon 100mm IS are some of the more popular nudibranchs lenses. But fisheye lenses, like the Tokina 10-17mm and Canon 8-15mm, can also be used to create some stunning images, especially with some of the larger nudibranchs. To keep your nudibranch photographs interesting, composition and negative space become just as important as the subject. Simply shooting down won’t cut it, you need to get at eye level with them. Many nudibranchs do have eyes, but they are just incredibly small. Separating the nudibranch from the background by shooting with a wide aperture or getting low and having open water behind the subject are good techniques to keep your nudibranch from blending in with the surrounding reef. Please enjoy a few of our favorite California nudibranch images.