What have we here?

The Caribbean: Bonaire, N.A.

A curious barracuda hovers over the reef as it checks out the photographer (black and white image).
Click here to share or send a greeting with this image.

Or, “Have you got food? … ARE you food?”

On this dive I was seeking and expected small subjects — macro shots. My dive buddies were off in the distance and I was poking about some small coral heads and soft corals, looking for small eels, juvenile fish, nudibranchs, seahorses, snails, or whatever. My head was down as I sought small things in and around the various nooks and crannies of the reef. I looked up to check on my buddies’ whereabouts, and surprise! I picked up a new buddy! This barracuda was hanging out about five feet from me. He looked about four feet long. With teeth. I moved, he moved. I moved away from him and he came with me. I moved left, he followed … you get the picture. My other (human) buddies were still visible off in the distance. They certainly weren’t startling the fish near me.

Isn’t it funny how fast predators with lots of teeth tend to automatically become a “he” when you write about it later? Anyway: Since “he” was being so cooperative, I decided to take the barracuda’s portrait. I took this shot, then slowly moved towards the barracuda (camera held carefully in front of me, so that if he decided to taste … well, cameras break but I imagine aren’t very tasty). When I got within about four feet, the barracuda decided this was not the game he had in mind. He slowly moved off, giving me the eye the whole time. He was gone in a minute — disappeared into the sea over the reef drop off.

This was the best image from that “photo shoot.” There were lots of particles in the water, so in color the photo is very “washed out” and “fuzzy.” The light reflections from stuff in water steal the color from the deep blue ocean scene. When I converted to black and white, the image recovered some of its drama. (My wife, Nancy, selected this image for her blog “A Shore Dive Kinda Life,” so it easily made the cut for today’s Photo Tourist post.)

(Canon Powershot G9 in Ikelite case, ISO 100, integrated lens at 10.7mm, f/3.2 at 1/100 sec.)