It reminds me of… This was serendipity. As in, I was trying to get something and this is what happened when I closed my eyes and pressed the shutter. All of the sudden my skills went south. I was having trouble focusing. It happens. I got anxious. Imagine? It’s just me. What’s to be anxious about? Anyway, for a while I could not focus on any of the giant clams. Maybe they were having a laugh on me? But then, I did come away with some good shots. I’m used to most shots being pretty good. Nope. I had a lot of out of focus shots. But whoa! Look at this! It’s striking. Painterly. I am proud of this shot. And you would never get me to admit that this was completely fortuitous. I just closed my eyes, pressed the shutter, and hoped for the best. Yup, uh huh.
I was attacked. I’ve shown you an encounter in a previous post. I was roughly in the same area photographing a couple subjects. This guy (I’m not sure he’s the same as the other) started attacking my close up lens. Ok! Get a picture. I did. Then he came back again and again. He attacked my goggles.
Finally, he took a nip of me. (yes, look close, he left a red mark). Ouch! I did not notice any source for the attack. There were no eggs or juvenile fish around. I was surprised and promptly beat off his attack with my dive stick. Yes a sword fight under the sea. Jules wrote to tell me that they are territorial. All this time, I have seen this species often and no one ever attacked me. Yes, I was sure surprised!
This is a juvenile. Little fish got to start somewhere. Tiny! He was lethargic. So I got shots! It wasn’t easy. But, you knew that?! Tiny, I could hardly follow him in my close up lens. I’m still a work in progress. I’m getting better but there was a lot of pressure. I was diving with two excellent photographers. Neither had their cameras. So they were finding subjects and graciously pointing them out to me. Get the shot! Don’t disappoint. I did not find this fish nor see it until it was pointed out. So, it was a challenge to get an image that would please the experts. I usually come away with something. Pressure, you rise to the occasion or…not. I’m a lucky guy…mostly.
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.
TMI – too much information – too close. I sent this image to my daughter. She commented, “What is it? Show me the whole thing.” There’s a balance. You need context. But I’d like to just publish a single image. Choose. Which one? Ah! Well, that becomes a matter of choice. But which? I guess consider the difference between a snapshot versus a photograph. I’m still a camera person. Right tool? There’s no argument that most of all images are smart phone productions – too easy and convenient to ignore. I’m a long way from point and shoot. Set up takes time. I moved up along the scale. And yet there is a large group above me who finds my set up to be inadequate. There’s always someone better. Meanwhile, I like what I’m doing. I’ll stick to my day job for a bit longer. It’s still a hobby for me.
With digital you are not limited to shooting a single image. Fire away. Memory card and battery power are your limiting factors. You can shoot hundreds of images and discard them later. The point is not quantity; it’s quality. Lately I don’t press the shutter as I think to myself, “It’s not a picture.”
If you scuba dive long enough you can get shots like this. The coral hind and wrasse are in a symbiotic dance. The wrasse cleans the bigger fish. The hind is in the grouper family and is very shy. I suppose if you were fire engine red in color, you might not want to draw attention. So occasionally, very occasionally, I get a shot. The ordinary shot is of the tail end as he swims away. And if you are patient and you wait, then sometimes he is pointed straight at you. And if you catch him when he’s getting cleaned by a wrasse, then you have the shot you want. So I am not in a hurry. Patience. Readiness. And my time came. Easy? No! But I was there at the right moment. A lot of things have to align, but then you would not appreciate it unless you tried and failed. I have, and so, believe me when I say that it’s not hard for me anymore. But it’s still not easy. Special! Definitely!
It was a great dive. And, don’t be spoiled. You don’t see a turtle often. Hey! It’s a big ocean. Turtles are around but hard to get close enough to photograph unless they are not moving – hardly ever. Mostly they are swimming along sedately. They do not want company. And as fast as I swim I cannot keep up. But in a burst of speed I was able to reach it and get a couple shots properly exposed. Priceless! My dive buddy said, “Wait, they circle.” I’m not sure the turtle got the message. Gee, I can still swim fast sometimes. Got ‘em!
It’s a young one. You would not know. But I know. It’s small. It has a double tail fin and was trying to avoid me. He swam by and I got a very nice close up of his eye. Some things are fortuitous. It’s not as though I can tell him to pose for me. One dive buddy was not coming. Too deep and his nose and ears hurt. The other was not impressed. He’s seen one before. Not me! You don’t see an electric ray often enough to be bored. He was active and I was chasing. No the charge is not harmful. I did not touch it to test this theory.
Meanwhile we had an encounter I will not forget. I got to look him straight in the eye! I’ll bet he was not thrilled.
This is a first for me. And my dive buddy pointed it out and did not take a picture. He’s seen it. Oh my! That’s the name – large dragon. It’s in my handy dandy book. So you have not seen it here before. I was pretty excited. Every dive has a signature picture. Some dives have more than one. And some dives have none. This was an outstanding dive! Something new! And I even got good images. Yeah, I pretty thrilled. You don’t get high detail easily. You can crop post production in Photoshop. But that is sort of unfair. My ground dry land photography is cropped in camera. So why not underwater? At high magnification, everything, including this diver’s had, shakes more. So it is hard to compose, focus, and shoot. I’m already good. I’m trying to get better.
And this was a real thrill. Go ahead, yawn. But this was a great dive 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?