Weekly Photo Challenge – Curve

Fluorescent Brain Coral

Fluorescent Brain Coral

I have been reading about fluorescence on the coral reefs for some time, so during our recent trip to Roatan, Honduras, I decided to try my hand at photographing it. Many life forms on the reefs fluoresce, but almost all corals do. To be able to see the fluorescence, one needs a blue light to excite it and then a yellow filter to cancel out the blue light to be able to see the true color of the fluorescence. And to photograph it, one also needs a blue filter for the strobe and a yellow filter for the camera.

So…I went equipped. Peter and I took yellow filters to go over our masks and I brought along a blue “Night Sea” LED light on a night dive. When we got to the coral reefs, it was like being on a ride in Disney World! Everything glowed in greens, oranges and even some pinks. On that night dive, I did not take the camera – as there’s just too much going on, but I did return the next day with filters on the strobe and camera.

This shot was taken during daylight hours, but the fluorescence in this brain coral was highly visible and photographable. What I love about this particular coral is that the “valleys” fluoresce, but the “hills” don’t. For comparison, here’s another shot of that same brain coral without the fluorescent lights and filters. Who would have guessed?

Christmas Tree Worms

Christmas Tree Worms

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Pure

Juvenile Drum Fish

Juvenile Drum Fish

Pure delight. Pure beauty. Pure innocence. This little juvenile drum fish is one of those symbols of young life on the reef. They’re fairly rare, spend most of their time flitting around in small confined places under overhangs on the reef, and they live in these small confined places because it’s relatively safe there for young fish.

Juvenile drums are relatively hard to photograph because they are always moving – quickly – so it was pure delight for me to be able to capture a shot of this little one during our trip to Roatan, Honduras this past week.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Half-Light

Gray Reef Shark

Gray Reef Shark

On an early morning dive off of Little Cayman, here’s what showed up to check us out…

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Dance

Saddled Blenny

Saddled Blenny

Whenever I’m scuba diving, I feel that I’m in the midst of a constant dance – the creatures and the water ever moving rhythmically. My biggest challenge was to choose one shot, but I loved the tango-esque posture of this fish. I give you the Saddled Blenny who was gracious enough to light for a few seconds to have his picture taken.

Blennies are tiny little fish who constantly dart around on sandy bottoms or coral heads. This one was about an inch long.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Life Imitates Art

Amphitrite

Amphitrite

Or this is shot is strictly about art. Here is the mermaid Amphitrite as she adorns the Sunset House Reef on Grand Cayman. You can also see how the life on the reef has added colors to her lovely form.

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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.

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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.

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