The Republic of Fiji in the tropical western Pacific, approximately 1,600 miles (2,575 km) east of Australia, is considered to be the soft coral capital of the world. Many of the reefs surrounding the many islands of the Fijian archipelago are dominated by soft corals. One spectacular example is the site known as the Great White Wall, which really should be called the Great Blue Wall, on Rainbow Reef off the coast of Vanua Levu.
I’ve written about soft corals in previous blogs (https://chuck-kopczak.squarespace.com/blog/2015/8/15/soft-corals-1 and https://chuck-kopczak.squarespace.com/blog/2015/5/3/the-soft-side-of-corals) so I won’t spend much time on the details here. But it is worth mentioning that, unlike hard corals, soft corals do not harbor single-celled algae in their tissues, and thus are totally dependent on food that the individual polyps capture with their tiny tentacles.
Today’s photo captures the colors and shapes of a fully inflated head of soft corals. The ability to expand to feed when currents increase makes it seem like soft corals appear from nowhere. Their bright colors complement the colors of the small fish that cluster around coral reefs feeding on tiny plankton floating by, just as do the corals.
This photo was taken with a Canon EF17-40 mm f/4L lens on a Canon EOS 5D Mk. III in an Ikelite underwater housing. Lighting was provided by two Ikelite DS-161 strobes set on eTTL. The exposure was set to 1/45 sec. at f/11 and ISO 200.