Mellow Yellow




Location: Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Story Behind The Shot: Full of spunk & attitude, this pugnacious Golden Damselfish (Amblyglyphidodon aureus) is a pint-sized powerhouse. She may spend half her life scouting out the perfect nesting spot on the coral reef in which to lay her eggs, and when an intruder comes to her turf looking to take over that prime reef real estate, she’s going to scrap! But that intruder…. is her! As I approach with my big 9 1/2″ underwater lens (known as a dome port), she sees her reflection, and continually charges the only other damselfish that she’s ever seen who’s beauty rivals her own. How could another be so perfectly finned…. scales arranged so perfectly…. have such ample pectoral fins….??? There can be only one! Attaaaaaack!

Of course, I don’t want to cause the vigilant mama fish too much stress, and definitely don’t want to take her away from her busy parenting duties tending to her eggs, which in this case, were on a bare patch of wire coral, just a few feet below. So after a few minutes of shooting, I left her alone to go back to being one of the best mothers on the reef. While her teeth aren’t big enough to do any damage to my lens or camera, when they connect with my fingers gripping the camera, they sure let me know that I’m not welcome anywhere near her babies!