It’s More Than Purple

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Today is a mixed bag. What else is new. Consistency is for those with the patience to organise things. You should see my office. Fortunately, I sleep with the boss (Don’t panic. My wife, Eunie, is my boss at the office . . . okay, forget the office thing . . . she’s my boss.) so I don’t get called on the carpet for having a messy office. Nobody ever comes into the IT Dungeon anyway unless they want something.  Therefore, by common sense reasoning, requests that begin with “Whoah, what a mess . . .” are not likely to produce satisfactory results.

I say today’s offering is a mixed bag because it includes a couple of “trophy” shots and some others which could appeal only to fish geeks. By the way I am not a fish geek. I am a fish connoisseur.

The Black Saddled Toby (Canthigaster valentini)  has got to be one of cutest little fishies on the planet:

This is one of the trophy shots. I have few images of this fish which come even close to this one. I’d call it a specimen shot. Just about everything you need to know, short of dissecting this fish, is in the image. This makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Some might think of me as an amateur scientist. While this is oh, so true, (at least the amateur  part) my feelings about what I present to you here in my images of the magic of Mother Ocean are more akin to art. Sure, I give you the taxonomic names, when I’m reasonably sure of them. The truth is, aside from the fact that I love the way that Latin rolls off the tongue, I don’t care much about that. What I really care about is combining my life-long love of photography with the adventure of discovery of new (to me) visions of nature and new ways of visualising them.

For instance. This beautiful colony of Bubble Coral (Plerogyra sinosa)  seems to me ethereal. I can’t judge how it comes to be. I can’t fathom the mystery of how something that looks like this has a reasoned place in the scheme of things. To me it seems magical:Of course, this is not very scientific thought. As empiricists, we’re supposed to ignore such mystical ruminations. Yet, I can’t escape the idea that when a scientist loses a sense of wonder and ceases to be weighed down by the ponderous yoke of how much we don’t know, any true discoveries will be happenstance. When deliberate seeking beyond the “facts” is abandoned, nothing new will learned. We don’t even know how much we don’t know. Facts lead to more facts. But only seekers find new truths.

UPDATE: I’m taking the unusual step of bringing a comment from my excellent Facebook friend Steven Goodheart into the post as an update, because it is so apropos:

Your thoughts reminded me of these words of the great naturalist, Loren Eiseley,

“In the end, science as we know it has two basic types of practitioners. One is the educated man who still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery, whether it hides in a snail’s eye or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ. The second kind of observer is the extreme reductionist who is so busy stripping things apart that the tremendous mystery has been reduced to a trifle, to intangibles not worth troubling one’s head about.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But, there is a place for the fervent geek. Witness this very ordinary and wildly uninteresting image of three Sevenstripe Cardinalfish (Apogon novemfasciatus):

I guarantee that it will win no prizes. The fish are just a little blurry. Indeed, I had a couple of choices, based on the image, of what to call them. However, I did see them with my eyes and I have seen them hundreds of times. They are just difficult to photograph, because they are tiny and restless. I take a geek’s pleasure knowing that I finally have an image of them. One more fish to check off the endless list. One more tiny model car. One more baseball card. One more comic book. One more Star Trek doll. (Actually, I don’t think that the collectors like it when you call them dolls.)

You get the idea.

Ah, but on to the trophy shots. This is the magnificent (not to be used lightly) Purple Anthea (Pseudanthias tuka):

As any fool can see, it’s not just purple. It’s got a lot of different colours. In natural light (these were taken by flash) it looks more blue. Nevertheless, you can’t miss them. They glow like neon lights. They also have a funny beak-like nose which makes me think of Jimmy Durante.

By the way, here is Jimmy Durante:

See what I mean?

Okay, it’s a stretch, I admit. Anyway here is another trophy shot of P. tuka:

And with that, I am running on empty.

Adios.

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13 Responses to “It’s More Than Purple”

  1. ZydecoDoug Says:

    The colors (okay, colours) of the fish and undersea life you photograph, Jan, just make me happy. Please keep posting those wonderful images for us to wander and ponder. Bubbles up!

  2. Ali Says:

    Totally agree Doug….thanks Jan! Your tropical photos (above and below the surface) make the cold winter mornings here a lot more cheery and easier to take.
    The Toby is truly adorable and runs a really close 2nd to my total “fave fish “. I love them all really…. but the tiny Yellow Box fish is an all time winner with me…. do you have any pictures in your underwater library of these liitle fella’s Jan?

  3. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, Doug. I’ve adopted the UK/Ausie spelling style because most Americans don’t notice the difference, but those of the former Empire are adamant concerning “proper” spelling. Call it an affectation. I’m quirky.

    Colours (okay, colors) make me happy to0 and I’m very picky about them. Another thing which makes me happy is that I make others happy by my efforts.

    Let happiness reign!

  4. kristy Says:

    Lovely pics, makes me want to take a trip to PNG sometime to do some diving! Is all the diving as colorful and lively? Or just your favorite spots?
    If you are using the empire spelling then you use aluminium then?

  5. MadDog Says:

    Kristy, outside the harbour you can drop anchor anywhere on the barrier reef or island shore and have dives similar to what you see in my journal. You could spend half a lifetime diving here and never see it all. In fact I have. We often dive where its possible that nobody has ever dived before.

    Yes, I do say aluminium, but I have to admit that it was one of the most difficult changes that I had to make. Aussies just crack up when you say aluminum.

  6. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Jan, some damn fine writing in this post; couldn’t agree more about the sense of wonder. Your thoughts reminded me of these words of the great naturalist, Loren Eiseley,

    “In the end, science as we know it has two basic types of practitioners. One is the educated man who still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery, whether it hides in a snail’s eye or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ. The second kind of observer is the extreme reductionist who is so busy stripping things apart that the tremendous mystery has been reduced to a trifle, to intangibles not worth troubling one’s head about.”

  7. MadDog Says:

    Steve, that’s one of the most apropos comments that I can remember. It fits perfectly with my sentiments which I attempted to express. You’re an astute reader and a helpful companion. I appreciate you more than you can know.

    Eunie has been diagnosed with an ulcer. She’s getting good treatment and the prognosis is excellent. It will take a while, but I’m sure that she’s going to be okay in time. I know that you will keep her in your prayers.

  8. MadDog Says:

    Steve, I’m going to add that quotation as an update to the post.

  9. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Hey, my friend. Thought you’d like that quote, and I’m glad you’re going to add it to your update! Eiseley is a kindred spirit, a brother of you and me, and folks like dear brother George. Thanks, and the feelings are deep appreciation are mutual.

    Sorry to hear about dear Eunie’s ulcer; sounds like she’s in good hands. I will definitely be including her in my prayerful meditation work from henceforth. (How you been doing, btw? Clear sailing? You’re still getting specific metta, which I’m quite happy to continue, of course, and now, for Eunie.)

  10. MadDog Says:

    Yeah, Steve, the quote was the icing on the cake.

    Eunie is getting better day by day, but it’s probably going to be one to three months before she’s pain free. There’s no such thing as a gastroscope in this country, so the doctor has to treat blind. She’s now taking the double antibiotic course for the eradication of Heliobacter pylori, which should allow her to heal up. I’ve had no memory problems since my bizarre encounter with Transient Global Amnesia in Fiji. So, whatever we are all doing for each other, let’s keep it up. It’s working!

  11. Steve Goodheart Says:

    Thanks for the updates. I promise to keep a “dharma eye” one you two lovebirds!

    With great affection,
    Steve

  12. Steve Bennett Says:

    Simply gorgeous. And thank you very much for the laughter on a Sunday morning as I read your comments about Jimmy Durante.

  13. MadDog Says:

    Glad to hear I’m amusing someone, Steve. It’s always a pleasure. I grew up with ’40s and ’50s comedians. There are some very funny people around today, no doubt. However, I have a rather substantial collection of comedy from that era. I still enjoy watching or listening to it. Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine is one of my favourites. I have it memorised.

    The part I like best is:

    Costello: I’m asking YOU who’s on first.
    Abbott: That’s the man’s name.
    Costello: That’s who’s name?
    Abbott: Yes.
    Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.
    Abbott: That’s it.
    Costello: That’s who?
    Abbott: Yes.

    Hardly anyone uses language so cleverly now.