Reef Pipe Fish

Reef Pipe Fish – Beauty In Commonality


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Is there a certain fish you hate seeing while diving? For me it is Lion Fish, I’ve seen thousands, maybe more in my time, someone points one out to me on a dive and I feel a strong desire to push them into it. Simply the commonality of their species made them boring for me, but they are truly beautiful creatures just like this Reef Pipe Fish. Guides in the Philippines won’t even point them out, they pretty much consider these cute little Sygnathiformes pests because they are literally everywhere on the reefs & sea grass habitats.

So consider my surprise at seeing them on my first dives in Davao and thinking wow, never seen this specific species before, how awesome, then seeing it four more times in the next five seconds. One dive I counted maybe 40 and I wasn’t really trying, they are everywhere!

But, that makes them awesome, because it makes them excellent macro subjects for practice. You can find them in the Sea Grass, super shallow, so if you want to spend 2 hours practicing macro shots, they are perfect. Yes they might be Sygnathiformes and they might not like lights like all of their extended family, but if one moves away from you, well you won’t have trouble finding a second, and a third, and a fourth.

I spent some time playing with my different macro lenses, trying to get full body shots, head shots, black-water shots and a variety of other techniques, but in the end one of my favorite shots of the Reef Pipe Fish was this photo, with a lone subject poking his head through the sea grass. The background for me provides four distinctive sections, the Pipe Fish is than in the middle of those sections, so the photo has some very nice depth to it, basically it doesn’t look flat, plus the green sea grass really highlights the Pipe Fish’s yellows, whites and slight magenta colouring

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