In my last few posts I’ve discussed how I try to photograph a cross-section of the reef life I come across, from vistas of coral in well-lit waters to shoals of whatever night be swimming past. One of my favorite categories of reef life to snap are the tiny critters of the reef, including as many of the small fish as I can find.
Tiny little fish pose a few problems for me. First, they are harder to find, but they also require use of a macro lens, so I need to know well before the dive that I need to swap lenses and get my camera back in its protective housing. However, when I’m on a healthy reef, with my 105mm macro lens fitted, I’m as happy as I can be.
Some fish, such as the Dentex Blenny (Ecsenius dentex) ( main image) are a few inches long and easy enough to approach and shoot. I tend to focus on the eye and squeeze the trigger until something acceptable appears in the rear display or the fish flees. It’s usually the latter.
On occasion I find really tiny little fish, including the wonderful Pink-eyed Goby. Bryaninops natans is found from the Red Sea to GBR, but at around an inch long (2.5cm), or smaller, it is not an easy fish to shoot. Consider as well that it is moving in three axes, and so am I. Not easy, especially when there’s delicate coral around.
On occasion fish play nicely and spend their lives on a surface, meaning their movements are more predictable, such is the case with this wee fellow, which I think is Eviota guttata. Like many of its clan it uses cryptic patternation along with transparency to make it harder to find..
The fish above is another inch long specimen, which is some form of ghost goby, possibly Pleurosicya mossambica or P. micheli. These tiny fish are almost always found on non-branching corals.