Everyone has his thing. I chase the little trunkfish. My dive friends shake their heads. On a dive you don’t leave your buddy. Often times my buddies are headed along and don’t wait. So I have to keep up. You can’t leave your wingman as Tom Cruise said. And then the fish does not want its picture taken. You know, the thing about a large man dressed in neoprene blowing bubbles can be an awful sight for a little fish. I got a lot of shots from behind. And a few from the side. And rarely rarely ever from the front. You don’t know how I’ve tried. All you see is the final product. This image is on my short list of images to get. But you don’t just go and shoot this. You dive and dive and wait and wait. Opportunity comes. Rarely. But on this day and in this place…I think the guy was confused. Sometimes it happens. He just swam away and then turned as I pressed the shutter. It happens. It happened. I got an image. I got another. And then we parted. I got the unicorn. If I get the chance I’ll do it again. Chances are I’ll post and be amazed at myself. You will nod and yawn. And I will tell you again – this wasn’t easy!
Unicorn – Trunkfish
It’s February 29th, leap year. Once every four years… What to post?
My unicorn is the trunkfish. I chase them on the reef. The swim away. They have eyes in the back of their head. Not really, but it seems, just like mom, that they know I’m there and want to take their picture. Come to think of it I know a cat named Elle who is the same. A camera comes out, and she shies away immediately. So I chase and chase and get an ass end view. Not sexy at all.
The color pattern, texture, and detail are intricate and hard to capture underwater. Distance changes and the exposure is very tricky. Light falls off as the inverse square. At two feet light is ¼ and at four feet light is 1/16th power and so forth. Bet you don’t care. I do – every time I fail to get the shot. Yes, I chased again. Closer this time, not quite a cigar, but at least you see detail. Go ahead and yawn and take for granted that I am still chasing this unicorn. You can even laugh. I’m not done yet…
I have a book of fish on the reef in the Red Sea. It’s pretty thorough. So I am very surprised but happy to see that my images are not in the book. I just got lucky. I did not discover a new fish. The point about this fish is that it is plated. It is unlike the puffer that expands. The sides of this fish are bony plates. This guy was stuck in the coral. He could not quite go right or left. So I was stuck playing hide and seek. The problem was that I could never get a clear shot. I have on other occasions. But this time around I was trying for better color and lighting. I got two tries.
We saw him on the way back along the reef. For all of that I just managed a couple of shots. Well, at least there are a couple images to illustrate my point.
Okay, here’s my first dividend with the new flash. This little guy is elusive. I have very few good shots. And I only got a single frame this time. He is shy. Which is to say, that every time I encounter one, it is headed away and hides under the nearest coral. So this was a grab shot. It was not even ideally exposed. But it was good enough to see the texture of the black spots and the green and blue color, which I have struggled to show in the past. Yes this was a good shot. Not great, that will come later.
Trunkfish – Shy
After diving for almost three years, I am beginning to understand habits of the marine life a bit more. The tiny trunkfish is shy and very observant for predators. I know to hold my breath and not blow big noisy bubbles as I swim after it. The fish has angular features and this is because the skeleton is a firm boxy bony structure. The coloration fairly cries, “Eat me!” So I can understand the shyness. I find it very hard to catch the subtle coloration. It has a green top. And the sides are blue spotted. Yes very colorful. Ordinarily that should mean – go ahead make my day, eat me and die of some poison in my skin. But as far as I can tell, this guy swims away for his life every time we meet.
No matter how you approach you are a big air bubble blowing thing swimming about. I’ve taken to not blowing too many bubbles. I avoid making too much sound. If you can pull this off, you get a head on shot without having to capture the fish. I’ve done that too if you saw me in a posts sometime ago. In this case I did not annoy the wildlife.
This is described as a solitary fish on the reef. It is shy and hides as soon as you see it. Anytime I can get a shot … what’s hard to show is the mottled spots on its side. I would surprise one and then the chase. Patience is important. And then there is a little bit of luck involved. I love the two toned finish and the angles. Fish are supposed to soft and curved. This guy is built like a brick and colored to attract attention.
This trunkfish is another shy denizen of the reef. I swim up on them and then have to chase as they dart in and out of the coral. Invariably I am with a buddy who is moving onward. So it is only for second that I can try for a shot. You wait and wait but it is often just fortuitous. I have learned patience. Eventually you get a fish that will cooperate.
Give a boy a stick… at Christmas the kids had some dive sticks we used in our dive exploration. Farid inherited one after they left. He likes to poke things that otherwise would be left alone. As we passed a hole in the coral he trapped this one and then grabbed it by the tail. It was not a puffer. I discovered when he handed it to me, it was a trunkfish. The under skeleton is series of hard plates. I took the opportunity to get a head on close up. No fish swims into my camera lens to get their close up. But my captive audience was happy to comply in return for a quick release.