When diving off the shore of Makena Maui, I came across a small outcrop of rocks sitting by itself in 54 feet of water. I wondered what could live on such a small an isolated piece of reef.
The answer surprised me. I found two leaf scorpion fish and a Hawaiian Turkey fish wedged into the coral. I really wanted to get a nice photo of these three animals together. I thought about using a stick to move the Endemic lion fish a bit so it would be more present in the frame, but didnt as I know better.
One of the golden rules of nature and underwater photography is never move an animal for the sake of a better photograph. These fish are ambush predators and select their spots so that they can in time snag an unsuspecting fish that swims by. Instead I moved off a few feet and watched them. I was hoping they might move around on their own but after 15 minutes they didnt and it was a 20 minute swim back to the beach.
So, before leaving I moved in slowly and created a few images with the fish positioned as they were. I took care to look and not touch. When talking to my daughter Hana about the photograph, and saying how the image would have been better had the Hawaiian Turkey fish been a bit bigger in the frame. She said you get what you get and be upset.