I’ve yet to meet the person who isn’t absolutely enchanted by koi. Design-wise, koi are the show-offs of the carp family. They are bred for color and pattern, but the bog-standard gray variety is still much in evidence.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens features a number of varieties of koi. As a non-koi specialist, I am going to tentatively identify the orange, blue, and white fish as a kujaku (based on the color pattern of the head). Since I am unable to discern minor but important differences in the other fish, I will just call them the yellow koi, the goldish-white koi, and the goldfish-colored koi.
Koi is the Japanese word for “carp.” The fish at Kanapaha are of that friendly variety that know an easy mark when they see one; no sooner had I started to cross the little bridge over the koi pond than they swam towards me, looking for the fish pellets that are sold in a handy little dispenser at the foot of the walkway. One quarter later, the fish were flashing around in the water, overrunning each other and hundreds of smaller fish that sped beneath them in search of a crumb.
After sharing half my pellets with a kid, I realized that I was making my life difficult by trying to simultaneously throw the pellets and take a photo. The fish are speedy, the water is murky, and as soon as I framed the perfect shot the fish swam out of range. Clearly, this is an area of photography in which I need improvement. This made me wonder about fish photography in general. Does it fall under the mantle of both underwater and wildlife photography? How would the conditions differ between salt- and freshwater photography? I, for one, would be interested in taking a leisure class on the subject, if such a thing existed, with a special focus on ornamental fish. We can add this to my dream leisure-class list that includes such courses as “Traditional Christmas Dishes from Novosibirsk,” and “Essential Lure-Making for the Absolute Beginner.”
A flurry of fish around the tasty fish nuggets.
Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve captured until you download your photos. Here, I’ve caught two of the small fish breaking the water next to the colorful koi. On the left, a dark grey koi surfaces at the same time.