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This stunning image of a spinecheek clownfish in a very rare bleached white anemone is one of my all time favorites! And that says a lot as I have been doing underwater photography as my living since 1982 and have taken hundreds of thousands of images in all the worlds oceans over the years! A while back, while diving in Papua New Guinea, I was given an incredible opportunity to witness and photograph an event that I had never seen before or probably will never see again! An event that over the next 4 days would unfold before my eyes and be captured thru the lens of my camera. I had been diving in the remotest parts of southern Papua New Guinea about 6 weeks on an exploratory dive trip, when, without warning, a nearby volcano began to rumble, erupt and then dispel hundreds of thousands of gallons of hot water into Milne Bay. By the next morning, the temperature of the bay water had risen dramatically and the corals and anemones were beginning to expel the algae and symbiotic zooxanthellae that lives within them in a process called "bleaching". Over the next day, the dark brown anemones began to change colors with some species of Anemones, like this bulb tentacle anemone turning bright white, and others like the short tentacle anemones turning brilliant purple. To witness this most vibrantly, red colored clownfish swimming thru the stark white tentacles of the anemone was something I could not take my eyes off. Over the next day and a half I shot 48 rolls of film, and since you can't change your film underwater, that would be 48 separate dives in 36 hours. That didn't leave a lot of time for sleeping, but when I got up the next morning after, the water temperature had cooled down and the corals and anemones were back to being brown again as if nothing had ever happened. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! The captain of the boat had been living and diving there daily for the past 27 years and had never witnessed such an event. When you hear of those stories like, "you should have been here last week, you can't believe what we saw" or those kind of things, I have been lucky enough over many years to be a part of a few of them! If you want or are looking for a stunning image that commands your attention or to brighten up your room with color and the friendly face of "Nemo", then this image is meant for you! Trust me, its an award winner!
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