Gorgeous Red Sea Soft Corals

by | Feb 2, 2021 | Photography | 0 comments

Like most folks with a passion for diving and underwater photography I’ve been going a little stir crazy, something I may have mentioned from time-to-time in recent posts.  The curbs on travel that a lot of us are facing mean my only interaction with the underwater world is through my back catalogue of images.  I actually had a dream a few nights back that I was hanging in the blue off a reef in the Red Sea.  I’m not sure which one, I don’t think it was specified, but it certainly had all the splendor of one of the offshore ones, somewhere in the south.  These reefs are bathed in the cleanest waters and benefit from strong currents that allow many photographers’ favorite corals to thrive.  It is images from that region that I’ve chosen for this post.  We divers tend to call these ‘softies’ and leave it at that, very few divers will have heard of dendronephthya or Litophyton; phrases such as ‘cauliflower’ or ‘tree coral’ crop up randomly and interchangeably.

I don’t pretend to be an expert, and as I noted in a previous post, my main interest in these reefs is capturing the wealth of colors and with luck some of the textures too.  The picture above shows a particularly fine example of a reef covers in dendronephthya and Litophyton (presumably L. arboreum) and I can’t wait to get back to a site like this.

It’s interesting just how different the same species assemblage in the same locale can look.  In the picture below a different shade of ‘dendro’, combined with some coralline algae and the anthias, creates a totally different look, based on color palette alone.  The anthias underneath the formation are doing their trick of adopting the nearest surface as ‘down’.

This shot shows off the coral’s color as a contrast to the blue above it.  Getting below a subject and including the water above and the sun is a great way to make images stand out.  Annoyingly, my dome port seems to have generated an internal flare which is showing as two curved lines around the sun burst.  I must deal with this in Photoshop!  I might also remove the bubble stream in the lower  right.  The same thing has happened in the image below, you can see a bright line at the top of the image.

I chose this one as it includes a few Orchid Dottyback in the top left and a good smattering of Xenia.


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