Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Painted Ponies

Greg and I went to a talk put on by the Underwater British Columbia Photographic Society (UBCPS) last week. It was by Dr. Amanda Vincent where she discussed the ongoing work of Project Seahorse. I had met Dr. Vincent a couple of years ago at another conference and she is a wealth of information about world wide conservation efforts and is well connected to both the scientific and conservation communities. She is well spoken, generally upbeat, and just a pleasure to listen to. And, she happens to know a thing or two about seahorses. We had just been looking at some of our Solomons photographs and remembered that we never really got an ID on these little guys. Over time, they have just got cuter and cuter. So we printed out a couple of images and took them with us to the talk. How handy is that.

Talking to Amanda, she thought they might be Hippocampus colemani, a relatively newly identified species (the 34th in fact) named after Neville Coleman that is found at Lord Howe Island in Australia. So far, we're not convinced but then again, we're not exactly seahorse experts. Amanda also said they may have about 2 other species that they are looking at adding and it might be one of those. And would we mind sending in our photographs in to help with the identification? I have a couple of good photographs of them. Greg has a bunch of great photographs of them from all different angles that are still "in the archives", perfect for a good ID analysis. Good thing we didn't delete them. Maybe that's why we keep the extra 5,000 marginal photographs that we do. You never know when you'll need to identify a new species ...... It could happen!

I've been thinking about this as we've been cataloguing our photographs into Lightroom. Some of our photos are not "the best of the best" so why even bother keeping them? I try to be brutal and delete the less than mediocre ones, but sometimes it's just fun to review all of the images in a particular dive and have it bring back the memories of the dive itself. Sometimes you'll find things in a photograph that you didn't realize was there. Sometimes it allows you to see a "different side" of a particular fish. Sometimes it helps someone else decide whether that was a yellow fin or a yellow line species. Sometimes, the crappy ones can be made into a great web photograph that will never be printed on paper.

And now, just what I needed, I have another excuse - sometimes you can help identify a new species!