STORY: The concept for this image began in Misool, West Papua, when I found a pile of these mushroom corals at the bottom of a small dropoff at the edge of Misool’s house reef. These mushroom corals were everywhere, and being slightly (slowly) mobile, they’d often get to the edge, where waves and gravity would eventually get the best of them, and they’d tumble a few feet over the sandy ledge. Still thriving, they’d be piled on top of each other, and I’d hover there, marveling at how any sand falling on their living tissue from atop the ledge would be rapidly carried to the perimeter of their bodies and cascade to the coral below it. Unfortunately, in that location, I had different photographic mission, so I was equipped with the wrong lens to create the tight composition I was after. But not long after, in the Philippines, I came across a very similar situation – healthy mushroom corals piled upon healthy mushroom corals. To make the image true to my vision, I wanted the corals brighter-than-life, so I took a range of shots, adjusting my light quantity using aperture, shutter speed, ISO, or flash intensity in turn, until I had a dreamy, bright palate on the screen, while my naked eye witnessed a mix of darker reds, yellows, blues, purples, browns, and greens.
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