Winkin was showing a nice red color in a place that I thought I could photographer her so I ran for the camera. She withdrew into the cave but returned when I aimed the camera her way and showed off a bit.
I also "spotted" Blinkin in the larger cave and took about 8 shots before I got suspisious and realized I was taking pictures of yet another out cropping of live rock that disguises itself as a cuttlefish I finally really did find him and the third picture shows a camoflaged cuttle, not a camoflaged rock.
Answering my own questions with a Minolta Dimage Z1 you should try dropping your ISO to 100 would probably help, also if you move to flash on instead of auto flash when you know the light is relatively low you might be able to handle the decreased focal length (because your camera will be faster) of going to an f stop of 2.8 instead of 3.2 That is unless you were zoomed in a bit and couldn't do f 2.8 I don't really know whereto look in the Exif data to find the optical zoom.
Good pictures though.
Some of the noise may be trying to shoot through old, imperfectly cleaned acrylic using a flash but unfortunately, I am usually one of those automatic setting users. Not that I haven't tried using some of the manual overrides but I find that most of the time the automagic setting is less frustrating and I gave away my light meter years ago. I think if I would remember to set it to close-up I will get the 2.8 f stop but I am not sure I have an "on" setting for the flash. To my knowledge, I have either red-eye reduction or automatic on the flash and the last thing I want is the preflash (the cuttles seem OK with the flash but the octos often react and I don't believe there is any difference in the actual picture sync).
It won't hurt to try full manual with your recommended film speed of 100 and a 2.8 shutter next time though and I can compare the pics to see what happens with both ambient and flash - electonic film is cheap
you are correct, you do not have an on setting for your flash (what the heck is fill-in mode?) you have kick ass telephoto zoom though, 10X is awesome. So long as you are goofing around why not try the 50 speed as well, and mess with the shutter speed too, maybe 1/60 and 1/40 with a steady hand or a tripod (although the fact that you have only a 10 second delay may be a problem for tripod use). That noise is definitely sensor noise not dirty glass, but cleaning the glass really well is always a good idea before taking pictures.
Actually, for what I use it most for, I wish it had a wider angle instead of the 10x optical (that was one of the selling features, I have to admit). I have a macro lens for it but either I gave up on it too soon or it just doesn't focus well. There is a special setting for it but it doesn't do much. I did get a table top tripod that I kept out all the time for about a year but since I can't use it with the octos, I have not had it out. Guess you have shamed me into working with it again
I found Winkin (the more social cuttle) on the substrate being scavenged by snails early this afternoon. She looked fine the night before could not have been dead long since her head was red (later it turned white). I have no idea what killed her. The snails had eaten some of her outer body skin but there was no obvious reason for her passing. She and Blinkin were very social and I don't know of anything else in the little tank that would have harmed her and there were no noticable wounds besides the partial skin removal on the body.
I do have an unknown type snail in the tank that has only shown interest in algae in the past. It was firmly attached to her body so I moved it to another tank as a precaution.
The only thing I can think of is a potential problem with the shrimp I got last week. I had high numbers of dead even though they were shipped overnight (I usually use 2 day but was concerned about the July 4th holiday) and the cold pack was still active. I continue to have high lose with the shrimp (I have lost 1/2 of the order now) and have replaced the water 3 times. This time I separated out any that were not very active. The only other unusual thing about the shipment was the absence of parasites (often found on the shrimp). I always remove any that show these common parasites and have never had this kind of death rate. I remember Roy and later Steve mentioning poluted shrimp as having killed octopus/squid but so far the octos and Blinkin seem uneffected.