open studio: destination wedding / by kelly heaton

Destination Wedding, 2016.  Digital photo collage.  Kelly Heaton

Coral reefs have it bad.  Coral is suffering from so many different problems, it's hard to be optimistic about the existence of reef ecology beyond this century.  Increased temperatures and UV radiation lead to bleaching; water pH (think acid rain) disintegrates coral; chemical-run off is poisonous; biological waste supports algal growth where it does not belong; fisherman actually detonate underwater explosives to "catch" fish; fishermen also douse coral with cyanide to paralyze fish for capture; boats gouge coral with propellors and anchors; sediment from erosion and dredging smothers coral; people collect coral; swimmers stand on reefs without realizing their fragility; and then there's trash.

Snorkeling is one of my favorite activities.  It's like entering another world, full of color, texture and sculptural form.  There are few experiences more amazing than exploring a living reef.  Unfortunately, it is ever-harder to find reefs that are healthy ... but there I go sinking into environmental depression.  I need to make more pretty and humorous images.  Vorwärts!