Weekly Photo Challenge – Circle

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin

Here’s a literal interpretation of the challenge for this week. I had never seen a sea urchin that had made its home on the top of the reef. They usually like their hidey holes and all one sees are their spines sticking out of the nooks and crannies on the sides of coral heads. This shot was taken on Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman.

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Gathering

Yellow-Headed Jawfish

Yellow-Headed Jawfish

A gathering of eggs, so to speak… This is the famous yellow-headed jawfish. Its curious lifestyle includes how it takes care of its brood. The male jawfish carries the gestating eggs in his mouth, occasionally spitting them out  to aerate them and then sucking them back into his mouth to protect them.

I was told by our dive master that the males who have the dark lines below their jaws are experienced fathers. These dark lines are literally stretch marks. So, if you look closely at the profile of this handsome guy, you can see the eggs in his mouth along with his resume stripes.

I was thrilled to get this shot! These guys are very shy. They live in holes on the sand bottom and pop up to feed and see what’s going on. It took me about twenty minutes of lying on that sand bottom with my camera pointed at the hole. I gradually approached the jawfish who would pop up, see me, and go back into his hole until I was able to get close enough to engage my macro lens.

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Transition

Transition back to normal. On our recent trip to the Cayman Islands, I found this hermit crab crawling along the sandy bottom. In order to photograph it, I picked it up and placed it on a coral head upside down so I could get a good shot of the critter as it came out of its shell to see what was going on.

Upside Down

Upside Down

It climbed out of its shell and proceeded to grab a piece of seaweed on the coral head…

Leave Me Alone

Leave Me Alone

Very quickly it righted itself. I picked it up and put back where I had found it. It was a very fun encounter!

Back to Normal

Back to Normal

The shell home for my new friend appears to have been used by many hermit crabs. It’s almost completely smooth with very little definition or detail except for some new sea life growing on its top. Even in the wilds of the underwater world, some sea creatures’ very existence depends on reuse!

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ornate

Ornate

Ornate

Our challenge this week is to share something ornate – “where it’s clear that the creators pulled no stops and went all out.” Okay, so how about something brought to you by the ultimate creator?

When I’m scuba diving, I find myself intrigued by the ornate structure of the many different coral species I see. Here’s a shot from our recent trip to the Cayman Islands. This brain coral is actually a living colony of tiny sea creatures – individual polyps that spend their lives cemented together into an ornate neighborhood. Their bodies are the building blocks for the ocean’s reef systems. Can you see here how this particular coral got its name?

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Treat

Squirrel Treat

Squirrel Treat

Peter and I returned this past Saturday from a fantastic scuba trip to Grand Cayman and the outer Cayman islands. While in Grand Cayman, I did a private lesson with Addie Wee, an instructor at the Cathy Church Underwater Photography School. It was awesome! I was able to take my photography to a new level, so it’s no surprise that my treat is hanging out underwater and photographing the life there.

This shot is an extreme closeup of a squirrel fish. These guys are often very friendly and this one was particularly so. It was nipping at the fingers of the hand that I was using to steady myself to take its picture! I also thought this shot had a very Halloweeny feel. Happy Halloween, everyone!

To learn more about the Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Half and Half

Half and Half

Half and Half

A photo with two clear halves, this shot was taken while diving on Lighthouse Reef in Belize last fall. The structure in the foreground on which the little fish are resting is a barrel sponge.

To learn more about The Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.