In contrast to my TR from last week which featured highly magnified images of tiny creatures, I’m posting up a few shots that I made yesterday during an outing in search of some of the largest of our local reef dwelling residents, Epinephelus itajara, (which were until recently commonly referred to as Jewfish, but are now to be called Goliath Grouper.) Late summer finds these large predators congregating in substantial numbers off the coast of Palm Beach for their annual spawning. This is good news for me for the obvious reasons, and indeed is good news for all Bears in the Northern Hemisphere as this is an indication that the summer is almost over, and we’ll soon be back in the snowy mountains.
I had the pleasure to spend the day with my friend Jim Abernethy. Here, he’s behind the torches mounted on his video camera and the two of us team up to corral a big fish.
Jim’s a pretty big player in all things aquatic, and most decidedly marches to his own drumbeat. A dedicated voice for marine conservation, his boundless energy, effervescent personality, wealth of experience, devil may care approach to some social morays, and seemingly endless well of enthusiasm make him a paragon of the diving community. I’ve never met Glen Plake, but his persona and image as an ambassador or poster boy for the ski life seems similar to Jim’s.
One Big Fish. To give you a bit of perspective, I made all of these images with a fisheye lens that yields a 180-degree angle of view. I’m extremely close to my subject in all of these images, but this fish is no more than a couple of inches away from my camera lens.
A brief note; Most of the Grouper are quite shy, and it is a major challenge to get close enough to one in order to make an acceptable image. However, you may occasionally find one animal that is not at all skittish, and will allow a close approach. We call these individuals “super models.”
My buddy Brian helps give you a sense of scale regarding the Grouper. I’d guesstimate this individual to weigh in at around 400 pounds.
Decidedly not a super model, this big boy retreated into the bowels of its’ shipwreck/home as soon as my strobes fired.
My friend Steve and I were enveloped within this living cyclone of ceaselessly swirling baitfish.
Late summer frequently brings with it a blossoming in the local jellyfish population. Drifting along in shallow water during my decompression stop, I was accompanied by this Moon Jelly, Aurelia aurita, along with a host of its’ brothers, sisters, and cousins.