This was the quintessential image that “hooked” (ha ha) me on night dives. Night dive? Sharks are out there in the dark?!! No. They don’t like the light. They think it’s a big eye; they don’t come near night divers. Hmmm? Who had a conversation with a shark and found that info out? I consider that bright flashing light a dinner bell, “Come one, come all, dinner is served!”
My first night dive during my “advanced” course was totally forgettable. I wasn’t allowed to take my camera. Drat! And double drat! We didn’t see much. It’s surprising how boring things are when you don’t carry a camera. But this image was taken during a boat dive and a night dive. We actually had a guy on the boat who was afraid of the dark and didn’t go into the water. Funny. But near the end of our dive, there it was – a stonefish on a platter. My! Everything was right (including the stars!) – I got this shot. Perfect! Well, for me it was so special to see this as I edited. Wow! You might be jaded and fail to see the difficulties that all culminated in this image. Me? I was just so impressed with everything that came together in that fraction of a second. What an image! Night dive? I was there ever after. We did not do many. It was not a thing that folks wanted to much wait around to do. Generally, we did a couple day dives and then moved along with our day activities. It was even rare to do a third day dive. I’d have gone (diving) morning till night. I appreciated the special moments and that they could end any time. Alas!
Stonefish are not bright red. They are bright red. How? Well, the light is filtered and red color fades as you go deeper under the sea. A flash will bring out what would otherwise be a dull colored fish and make it really stand out. Under the sea it actually looks pretty dull.
Sometimes the stonefish is really pretty ugly. And color can do it no improvement. This guy was posturing. He lifted his head as I took his pic. So I got a bit of pink. He did not intentionally pose for me. He wasn’t warning me off. Stonefish are pretty mellow. Both fish are very easy to miss. They don’t move. The human eye is sensitive to movement. It’s about survival. Something moving is a potential threat. These fish just lie still and blend into the surrounding coral. It’s worth a picture anytime we see one. It’s so nice that they pose for me.
A one eyed fish? Is it a cataract? All I can tell you is that there is no fish surgeon in the sea. Fascinating. It’s not that he’s got his eye closed and he’s winking at you. Fish do not have eye lids. This is problematic when you want to get some “shut eye.” But then again I’m not sure they sleep. Anyway, it’s an odd observation. Fishes with disabilities, do they have rights?
Here’s a behavior I don’t see very much. Isn’t that the point? Common things are not as interesting as the unusual. Stonefish were a lot of fun and good images when I first saw them. They don’t move too much and you can shoot away. But I have hundreds of images.
So what’s different? I found one and was shooting away. But then my buddy wrested the camera from my grasp and moved in and magically got this shot. I swear he did not speak to the fish underwater to get him to do this behavior.
Colorful mouth. Look closely.
See? It’s easy. Huh? Well, I didn’t see it. The group of divers I was with went nuts. Everyone was taking pictures. I thought is was because he had his mouth open this is unusual behavior by itself. I did not know the fish has inside lips that are colorful. Neat!
Whoa! I mean, whoa!! On my computer screen there is a fish inside. He ate him whole. Why did he swallow him head first. I guess tail first is not as tasty. But it would have been a nicer picture. Meanwhile the fish never moved as he attempted to swallow his meal whole. Would that be like hook, line, and sinker?
Another stonefish here, it illustrates the point. I did not see this guy either.
The fish was buried and the buddy I was with had a certain talent for picking up the eyes from the sand. Really, this is hard for me and I knew what they were pointing to.
In fact the fish is hardly photogenic. I am sure that I would have missed this fish if I was swimming alone.
This is unlike any stonefish I ever encountered before. My dive buddy saw it. This is a diver I have never been under with. It’s nice to have a fresh pair of eyes. He apparently knew what to look for. I came up to where he was pointing and saw nothing. He started waving his hand and raising the sand. Then the lump revealed itself.
The tiny eyes on the top of the head were really all that had been showing. How the heck did he see this! I’d never have spied this at all. And he was fast. As soon as he scurried and settled onto a new patch of sand he quickly buried himself. I doubt I will see this fish again.
I realize that there are different stonefish. This guy is colorful cute and cooperative. I see them for the details in the eyes and mouth. Otherwise it is entirely easy to miss them. And believe me this fish is not interesting in being detected. This group is dangerous and venomous. Familiarity may be dangerous. But these fish are pretty sedate. They don’t bother me as long as I don’t bother it. I can get in close with my camera. Just follow the rules. Don’t touch anything.
This is a definite dividend to an underwater strobe. The colors of this stonefish pop. I had a similar image during a night dive when I used the on camera flash. I have provided a couple images that were not lit with flash. Obviously the stonefish prefers to be camouflaged. So I am uncertain. I am told dogs are colorblind. What do fish see? Color or black and white? Are the images fish see such that the stonefish are hard to see. I think the answer is yes the camouflage is good.
Get in close. My early pictures were less so. I got brave. So far I have not been injured. Rule: don’t touch anything. Corollary: Don’t let anything touch you. Stonefish are supposed to be poisonous and dangerous. Myth or truth? Don’t touch anything. So familiarity breeds…. and I am braver and getting closer all the time. I’m not seeing any teeth and the fish is quite docile. It just sits there and stares at me staring at it. So far so good.