It’s More Than Purple

Posted in Under the Sea on July 21st, 2010 by MadDog
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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.


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