Cold Water Images Logo

July 1, 2006

Pipefish, Syngnathus sp.
The neighbor's kid spent the better part of an afternoon tossing this garden
snake across his lawn. Just kidding, this is a pipefish (Syngnathus sp.)
swimming over a bed of surf grass. A pipefish's shape is obviously problematic
for photographers. If the entire animal is in the frame, then it's not easy to
make out features like an eye or mouth. What's a photographer to do? Well, one
thing that helps is to compose a shot with other elements -- in this case, a
sunburst and surf grass. It's easy to fill up a flash card with garbage shots
when you're trying to take a picture like this. It's what I would call a "hard
work " shot.  It's painstaking to shoot, and there's little guarantee you're
going to come away with something you like. Often, as with this shot, you find
that it would have been better to use some different camera setting than what
you used. Of course, there's always next time. I'll likely work on this
particular shot again, next time I find myself at Catalina.

    "Hen Rock", Santa Catalina Island, California
    July 1, 2006

Giant black sea bass, Stereolepis gigas
Giant (black) sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) surprise me every time I see
them. Something about them seems so improbable. They look more or less like any
number of reef fish, but they're monstrously large, several-fold the size of the
photographer. Not that I haven't seen large animals underwater. I've had an
extended encouinter with a gray whale and one with a whale shark. However, one
expects animals of this nature to be massive. A bass on the other hand, well, I
guess my mind just expects a bass to be something quite modest. At around 400
lbs, this is the largest sea bass I've encountered. I believe this to be a
female about to spawn. Certainly, she was quite popular among other sea bass in
the area. I find it hard to look at the virtual metropolis of parasites running
around on the heads of sea bass without feeling a little pity or the urge to
grab hold of the bass and dislodge the freeloading passengers. I'm pretty sure
that an attempt to perform such an altruistic act would be misinterpreted.

    "Italian Gardens", Santa Catalina Island, California
    July 1, 2006

Footer icon