Duh!? It finally dawned on me. I’ve been photographing stone fish regularly for three years. The come in different colors. There was one bright pink one I saw for a while. He did not blend with the surrounding coral. The again, what is the color of the stone fish supposed to be? Underwater things are tricky with light and color. Colors change with depth. Reds become muted.
And then the stone fish I see are sedentary. They don’t move. They are said to be dangerous with poisonous spines. The teeth and bite are not poisonous. The stone fish attacks in a few milliseconds and eats its unsuspecting prey by creating a vacuum that sucks the fish into its mouth. Well and good, but I did not realize the fish change color. Octopus and cuttle fish change. So too do the stone fish. I actually found this guy myself. After a couple shots, it got skittish. Usually they stay perfectly still. I can move in close for a shot. I admit I have been bold. I get right up in their face. This guy was nervous. He moved away. And then he took off again. The camera was not his buddy or he was camera shy. Maybe … well he did not bite. Reviewing my images it finally dawned on me.
The color changes were not due to the depth. The fish was trying to blend with the coral. Octopi act this way. They don’t change immediately. It takes a few seconds. Voila. Lightbulb! Aha!