Porthkerris / by Irene Mendez Cruz

Here are a few of the underwater photographs I took at the amazing dive site of Porthkerris, in Cornwall, UK. 

Snakelocks anemone catching food (Anemonia Viridis). 2015. Digital. Panasonic DMC-GX1: 14 mm- f.125 – 1/8s - ISO 160

From the taxonomic group of the Cnidarians, Snakelocks anemones are quite common on the south and west coast of the UK. They are found from shallow water to lower shore down to no more than 20m. Its immediate habitat will determine the coloration of its tentacles: from dull grey in a poorly lit habitat to a rich green colour with saturated purple ends in a brightly lit and seaweed rich habitat. The specificity of the Snakelocks anemone is that not only it cannot retract its tentacles, but it also has around 200 fairly long ones, up to 20cm. Indeed, other types of anemones usually retract their tentacles in order to protect themselves from predation as well as desiccation in the intertidal zone when the tide is out. 

Spiny spider crab seeking shelter (Maja squinado). 2015. Digital. Panasonic DMC-GX1 : 37 mm- f/160 – 1/8s - ISO 160

The spiny spider crab is one of the largest crabs found in the UK. Its spiny and triangular carapace that can grow up to 10cm long and 8cm wide, is covered in seaweed and small invertebrates. The spiny spider crab plants them itself for camouflage purposes as it is the only type of crab that has long enough limbs to reach on top on its carapace. I believe that the strength of this image is the bright red to orange colours of its carapace against a dark background, which isolates the subjects, giving no space to distraction.

Common sea urchin (Echinus Esculentus). Panasonic DMC-GX1: 37 mm- f/160 – 1/8s - ISO 160

The globular common sea urchin can grow up to 17cm and has a typical pinkish to red coloration with violet spines. As all Echinoderms, the common sea urchin's round and impressive skeleton is radially symmetrical, as opposed to bilaterally symmetrical, which means that they don’t have a particular front or back end. Its body is covered in spines for protection purposes and it also possesses numerous long tube feet underneath its arms to help them anchoring or slowly moving location if the living conditions become too challenging.

The common sea urchin is a difficult subject to capture when it comes to animal behaviour as it is quite static. In order to make a more original shot, I decided to take my time with this subject and play with the lighting. I placed my strobes completely on the left side of my camera to illuminate my subject on just one side and create shades, from light on the left, to the darkness on the right.