This photo was a mistake.
If the image was clear, you’d know the fish was a classic reef fish, known as kihikihi in Hawaii and Moorish idol elsewhere in the world. They grow to about 8 inches in length, and use their pointy, orange and white snouts to find food in small crevices, as their signature trailing filament wafts in the water behind them. Some translations of their Hawaiian name are “curves,” “corners,” “angular,” and “zigzag,” which gives you an idea of their shapely shape and their movement in the water. You’ll commonly find these fish in pairs or small groups, anywhere from the surge zone to 100 feet of depth, and around the world, from the Red Sea, the coast of Africa and Indo-Pacific to Hawaii. As such, they are not endemic.
We’ve all heard that some inventions started out as mistakes. Take silly putty. It was considered a failure when it was first created, because it didn’t harden. In 1930, when Ruth Wakefield made chocolate cookies, she substituted semi-sweetened chocolate for baker’s chocolate, and instead of chocolate blended smoothly throughout her cookies, she wound up with cookies with chunks of chocolate in them, and we now have chocolate chip cookies. And, of course, penicillin was discovered by accident when 47-year-old scientist Alexander Fleming left a sample of staphylococci bacteria on an open window sill and one thing led to another having to do his bacteria eating mold that had blown in through the window and, today, penicillin has saved millions of lives. Velcro. Post-it notes. Safety glass. All mistakes.
Now, I don’t think this image is going to save lives. But I do like it. A lot. In my mind, it veers from straight, representative, underwater photography to something approaching art. I got lucky.
Mistakes. Sometimes, you get lucky. Sometimes they turn out to save lives. Sometimes mistakes create a cool new product the world can’t live without. Other times, mistakes are just mistakes.
Take my last blog post. I thought we were all ready to start accepting comments. I was wrong. Darn technology. So, can we try again? If you haven’t read the previous blog post, will you? And, then, will you take the time to introduce yourself? It’ll make me feel a little less lonely and a lot less stupid. And silly. And embarrassed.