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Buffalo River in NW Arkansas 9/2/11


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#1 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:12 AM

After a long break, I have finally gotten back into doing some snorkeling and UW photography. These photos are from a short outing to the Buffalo River in NW Arkansas about a week and a half ago. The water was quite low with no flow. There is a deep (~15'), spring-fed pool at this site. I think that the combination of no flow and cool, clear water led to a much larger amount of algae than I am used to seeing here. It was the annoying king of algae that is easy stirred up - not good for UW photography.

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Longear Sunfish were by far the most common fish I saw. There were probably hundreds in this large pool. They had finished up their spawning season and were not as colorful as they were a month or two ago. They were curious and followed me everywhere I went.

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This young Smallmouth Bass was hunting fry in the shallows.

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Stonerollers were feeding on the abundant algae.

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There were also hundreds of tadpoles feeding on the algae.

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This lone tadpole was swimming at the surface. Though they were close by, none of the longears or bass seemed interested in it.

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I didn't stay very long on this day due constantly stirring up the algae and the lack of fish diversity, but it's always great to get in the water.

#2 Guest_frogwhacker_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:10 AM

Wow. Absolutely awesome photography. I just couldn't quit staring at the pictures of all those longears. So many of them and each have their own unique pattern. The underside shot of the longear really shows off his color. And then the stonerollers, the SMB, the tadpoles. Man, that's just some darn great stuff! I made sure to show these to my wife so she'd understand why I need a new camera. If you don't mind me asking, are you using an SLR with an underwater case or is this an underwater camera?

Thanks so much for sharing.

Steve.

#3 Guest_blakemarkwell_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 02:51 AM

Incredible photos! I made a one day stop on the Buffalo a couple of years back in June, and the first second underwater left me wondering why I hadn't planned a two week trip to there alone. The Interior Highlands really are the overlooked paradise.

#4 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:41 AM

Wow, the water is so blue! I would have guessed that you were snorkeling in the Caribbean, not Arkansas. That's really cool.

#5 Guest_Casper_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:45 AM

For Sure!

#6 Guest_Newt_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:51 AM

Gorgeous shots! I love the longear shot from below especially.

I've noticed the same thing with bullfrog tadpoles in the Conasauga- they seemed to swim with impunity through predator-rich pools. Ranids are normally thought of as being less toxic than other tadpoles; I wonder if anyone has compared toxicity of river tads and pond tads within the same species.

#7 Guest_UncleWillie_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:11 AM

Stunning photos. Now I have to go grab some towels to wipe the drool off my keyboard.
Beautiful shots. Favorites are the longear from below (don't see that kind of photo often). Doesn't even look like there is water in that photo - just a fish swimming through the air.

#8 Guest_exasperatus2002_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:57 AM

What can I say that hasnt already? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!

#9 Guest_davidjh2_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:25 PM

I second the A-W-E-S-O-M-E

Edited by davidjh2, 14 September 2011 - 03:25 PM.


#10 Guest_Usil_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:40 PM

Great underwater shots. Almost rivals the top of a reef with the longears clustered. Keep the pictures coming.

Usil

#11 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:25 PM

Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the kind compliments.


...If you don't mind me asking, are you using an SLR with an underwater case or is this an underwater camera?...

I am using a DSLR in an underwater case. It is not a particularly high-end or expensive DSLR (Nikon D90), and the case is just a $120 glorified ziplock bag-type housing that I did a little modification to (it is not really usable the way it is sold). However, the point should be that it is possible to get great results regardless of the type of equipment used if you are photographing under the right conditions and using the right techniques. Photographing in very clear water and having an understanding of basic photographic principles like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, ISO, etc. will go a long way in getting good UW photos. Several members on this site have posted great UW photos taken with waterproof point and shoot cameras.


Wow, the water is so blue! I would have guessed that you were snorkeling in the Caribbean, not Arkansas. That's really cool.

The water at this site has a particularly blue tint due to a large underwater spring - most of the Buffalo River has a greener tint.


...I've noticed the same thing with bullfrog tadpoles in the Conasauga- they seemed to swim with impunity through predator-rich pools. Ranids are normally thought of as being less toxic than other tadpoles; I wonder if anyone has compared toxicity of river tads and pond tads within the same species.

I was also wondering about the toxicity of the tadpoles. It is interesting to think that there may be differences in the toxicity of river and pond tadpoles of the same species - please share if you find out anything.


Stunning photos. Now I have to go grab some towels to wipe the drool off my keyboard.
Beautiful shots. Favorites are the longear from below (don't see that kind of photo often). Doesn't even look like there is water in that photo - just a fish swimming through the air.

Thanks Willie! That shot was pretty difficult. It is not easy to hold your breath while laying on the river bottom waiting for a fish to swim above you in just the right place - I swallowed some water on that one!

Edited by IsaacSzabo, 14 September 2011 - 11:26 PM.


#12 Guest_frogwhacker_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 12:52 AM

Thanks everyone! I appreciate all the kind compliments.



I am using a DSLR in an underwater case. It is not a particularly high-end or expensive DSLR (Nikon D90), and the case is just a $120 glorified ziplock bag-type housing that I did a little modification to (it is not really usable the way it is sold). However, the point should be that it is possible to get great results regardless of the type of equipment used if you are photographing under the right conditions and using the right techniques. Photographing in very clear water and having an understanding of basic photographic principles like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, ISO, etc. will go a long way in getting good UW photos. Several members on this site have posted great UW photos taken with waterproof point and shoot cameras.


You're absolutely right, cameras don't take great photos, photographers take great photos. Please don't think that I'm giving your camera credit for the great shots here. I've not yet tried underwater photography and have been trying to decide whether to get an UW case for my 10 year old canon D60 or go with an underwater camera. The only cases I've seen online cost as much as a new DSLR, but at $120 for a case, I might think about upgrading to a newer DSLR within a year or so. I've dealt with all the variables you mention while doing scenic photography so I hope I'm right in assuming there is much similarity while under the water. Well, I may not need my tripod.
I've definitely seen a number of really good photos on this site that folks have taken with point and shoot cameras as well. Very impressive actually. Heck, I've been impressed with the knowledge, the experience, the photography, the information, and the helpfulness of everyone here since the day I joined. Either I'm just too easily impressed or y'all are really that good.

Thanks for the reply and thanks again for sharing the great photos.

Steve.

#13 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:56 AM

WOW, those are unreal photos. Some of them don't even look real....more like some surreal painting.

#14 Guest_natureman187_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 12:25 PM

Awesome stuff. Those longear shots are incredible. Keep em coming!
Man, I'd love to see what you can do with some of those gawdy Luxilus things down your way in the spring.

#15 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:03 PM

Awesome stuff. Those longear shots are incredible. Keep em coming!
Man, I'd love to see what you can do with some of those gawdy Luxilus things down your way in the spring.

Thanks! Yeah, there are not many fishes in color this time of the year. Unfortunately, I have yet to do much photography during the spring spawning season, but I definitely plan on catching it next year.

#16 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 11:25 PM

You're absolutely right, cameras don't take great photos, photographers take great photos. Please don't think that I'm giving your camera credit for the great shots here. I've not yet tried underwater photography and have been trying to decide whether to get an UW case for my 10 year old canon D60 or go with an underwater camera. The only cases I've seen online cost as much as a new DSLR, but at $120 for a case, I might think about upgrading to a newer DSLR within a year or so. I've dealt with all the variables you mention while doing scenic photography so I hope I'm right in assuming there is much similarity while under the water. Well, I may not need my tripod.
I've definitely seen a number of really good photos on this site that folks have taken with point and shoot cameras as well. Very impressive actually. Heck, I've been impressed with the knowledge, the experience, the photography, the information, and the helpfulness of everyone here since the day I joined. Either I'm just too easily impressed or y'all are really that good.

Thanks for the reply and thanks again for sharing the great photos.

Steve.

I would encourage you to get into underwater photography however you can. It is quite challenging, but it is also very rewarding when you get a great shot. Your experience with scenic photography with a DSLR will help a lot, but there will be some new things to learn that are specific to UW photography. Shooting underwater is similar to shooting in a fog, so it is important to get as close to your subject as possible. Also, it really helps to get down to the fish's level to really show them off well. Fish don't look very good looking down on them from above. A scuba weight belt is actually one of my most important pieces of equipment - I don't even try to do UW photography without one. Anyway, good luck getting a housing or waterproof camera!

#17 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:36 PM

Here are some photos from a couple of trips I took to the Buffalo River earlier this summer (late June/early July). This was during the longear spawning season. The adult male longears were all colored up and guarding their 2ft diameter nests of cleared gravel right next to each other in groups of 20-30.

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I was fortunate enough to observe and photograph a pair of spawning longears. They would swim rapidly side by side in a very tight circle (with the male always on the outside) as they spawned.

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#18 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:40 PM

Iím pretty sure this is a Black Redhorse.

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Striped Shiner

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Whitetail Shiner

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Northern Hogsucker. Sunfish follow them around looking for food the hogsucker may stir up.

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#19 Guest_IsaacSzabo_*

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:42 PM

I followed this Midland Watersnake around for about 15 minutes. Snakes usually do not stick around long enough for me to get good photos of them when I am snorkeling.

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Iím not good with crayfish IDs yet. Anyone know what species this is? My best guess is the Ozark Crayfish (Orconectes ozarkae).

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This was a strange thing to swim upon (found in this position).

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#20 Guest_farmertodd_*

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Posted 22 September 2011 - 10:58 PM

Gorgeous work, Issac! Again, I'm so glad to see you back in the water and posting the results!

Todd




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