Weekly Photo Challenge – Edge

Cayman Sponges

Cayman Sponges

I shot these sponges because I enjoyed their edges! This shot was taken while diving in Little Cayman on Bloody Bay Wall. We had a wonderful time diving from the live-aboard boat – The Cayman Aggressor IV last October.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Narrow

Nassau Grouper's Hiding Place

Nassau Grouper’s Hiding Place

While this young Nassau Grouper thought it was in a narrow hiding place, the fish was quite visible to us as we finned by. I had never seen a grouper use a gorgonian coral as camouflage before, and when I swam around to get a face shot, it backed out and exited stage right. Still, it gave me a careful look before deciding to leave!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Details

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp

Of course I’m going to post an underwater macro shot for this challenge! Here’s a Pederson Cleaner Shrimp dancing on a brain coral head. These guys are tiny – about an inch long and I love the challenge of photographing them.

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp are often found in small colonies of two or three individuals. They’re called “Cleaner Shrimp” because they clean fish in a symbiotic relationship, removing parasites and microorganisms from the fishes mouth and face.

I love seeing fish parked a a “Cleaning Station” where the fish will open its mouth and a group of shrimp with crawl into the cavern and clean the fishes tongue, teeth and gills. When they’re done, they crawl back out and the fish swims away. If I gently place the back of my hand near them, they will also crawl onto my hand and clean it!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Look Up

The Grotto

The Grotto

Here’s a shot looking straight up to the sky from the bottom of the “Grotto” – a natural amphitheater on the banks of the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. The Grotto is the site for several music concerts held during the Moab Music Festival every year. I have been fortunate enough to attend two of these concerts in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Partners

Four Eyes Butterfly Fish

Four Eyes Butterfly Fish

Always in pairs, Butterfly fish flit around the reef feeding on coral polyps. Observing their behavior, it’s easy to see where they get their name. I love seeing these little guys, and in the Caribbean one can find several different species.

I’ve been trying for years to get a great shot of a pair of them as they’re always swimming together, but they move so fast, it’s really tough to get them in the same frame. While I did get both of them in the frame here, I’m still trying to get a great shot…maybe when we go to Belize later this year.

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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.

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