Graham’s (GWS3) Eye Candy Thread – Best of the Best

gws3

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I’ve been meaning to start a thread like this to share some of my favorite pieces for a long time now. I’ve been collecting SPS for 15 years, so it’s long overdue.

I’ll keep adding pics regularly as time permits and things grow out. My obsession, or collection, has become pretty extensive, so it’ll be a bit of a journey to get them all photo documented.

I’m going to kick this off with my favorite grafted pieces. Some of these were purchased as grafted pieces, while others developed grafting in my system for whatever reason. It seems like the more grafted pieces I add, the more likely others are to develop grafting.


RR Euphoria – this thing is insane, I’ve got to get a pic of my bigger mini colony, it has even better colors. This piece is one that developed grafting while growing out from a frag in my system:
wHqYptR.jpg



RRC Rainbow Splice – Of course this one was purchased with grafting already. I paid top dollar for a frag with all the colors and a good ratio of grafting, which is critical to growing out a colony with all the colors:
SMeewjq.jpg



CRT Freakshow – I’ll have to check with Hung to see if any of his pieces have grafting, I believe this is another that developed grafting in my system:
gfhRFpA.jpg



GWS Grafted Acro – Here’s a perfect example of why it’s important to start a grafted colony with a frag that has a good mix of grafted and non-grafted tissue… it sets the stage for the entire colony:
gg5k7jw.png



CC Fuzzy Rainbow – Another piece with colors that are hard to believe. This one has taken forever to finally start throwing branches. The frags typically lose a lot of color when cut, similar to Vivid’s rainbow that will often require new growth to get full coloration:
syk5qAY.jpg
 
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gws3

gws3

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Up next are my favorite rainbow smoothies


POTO Flamethrower – My favorite smoothskin of them all. The color pallet shifts significantly depending on lighting. Grown out from a frag I got from Kenny at POTO back in 2016. He brought it in as a wild colony and only sold so many frags before losing the mother. Fortunately it eventually adapted extremely well in captivity, I’m growing it in just about every tank I love it so much.
kFP1P6F.jpg




JF Neophobia – Runner up to Flamethrower, Neophobia is very similar and an absolute stuner. It’s basically trades Flamethrower’s orange base color for a hot pink, and has slightly less bushy growth.
tHSJvY9.jpg




TUSI's Rainbow Granulosa – One of a kind granulosa, appears more orange in person. If only it grew a bit faster!
XvAk0RZ.jpg




CRT Red Riding Hood – Been keeping an eye on this piece, very nice smoothskin from Hung. The old growth has stronger colors than the new growth, so it will be very interesting to see what this colony looks like in a year or so:
pDgZf6G.jpg



Hung's Rainbow – A lot of folks consider this the nicest acro of all time, I definitely see why:
mj7wk7k.jpg



Therman Swearwolf – Got this piece from Tim Herman, I believe he received it from Adam at Battlecorals as a no-name. Similar color pallet to Neophobia, just more pastel and not quite as intense. Another beautiful smoothskin none-the-less:
2o2lzs5.jpg



CRT Monstro – This one makes one of my favorite smoothskins due to its unique color pallet:
7XICm83.jpg
 
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gws3

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Here’s a few of my top ranking rainbow tenuis


RMF Lucky Charms – This has to be my favorite rainbow tenuis. Got a couple pieces from Jared at RMF back when rainbow tenuis were just becoming popular. I’ve been propagating it for years now. It’s another piece with which the color pallet shifts depending on lighting and nutrients, but always looks amazing when healthy:
sueFbTQ.jpg




GWS Melonball – I grew this piece out from a frag of a wild tenuis. In most cases, wild rainbow tenuis struggle in captivity of don’t turn into anything special. Fortunately, once in a while you get one like this:
WluG5XP.jpg



RMF Jared's Pinky – Another beautiful tenuis from Jared:
HH2VvYc.jpg



TSA Bubbleyum – Very high end piece from TSA. It took a long time to really get going, but I am starting to see more of the colors, I think it will really shine once it’s a bit larger of a colony:
oZEX38k.jpg



RR Lady in Pink – Now a pretty common rainbow tenuis, but still very beautiful when colored up:
Fk4K1vo.jpg



RMF Jared's Furgo – This piece was much more orange when I grew it out under halides. I almost lost it at one point but it’s doing well again now:
VnMVATn.jpg



SKA Jackpot – I only have this large frag, but the colors are super bright on Jackpot:
gdUl75b.jpg



MCC Prom Queen – Such a unique piece from Joel at MCC. From what I understand CC got it from him and renamed it CC Pink Highlighter Tenuis. Regardless, it’s a unique and beautiful piece:
HPkTiw9.jpg



TGC Acrolandia – This is my only piece of Acrolandia, it’s still small, but quickly becoming one of my favorite rainbow tenuis. I can’t wait to see what it look like when it’s a bit larger of a colony:
1jZMl4j.jpg
 
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gws3

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Some new pics of pieces for your enjoyment:

A wild tenuis from ASD that turned into something nice and grew. Wild tenuis are definitely not easy, in my experience the majority of them die soon after shipping, or hold on and encrust a bit but eventually fade away. A lot of the ones from the big names in high end tenuis don't do well long term, even though those guys are acclimating them to captivity over 6-12 months:
uJwjXLG.jpg



RMF Bubbleyum - This one can be tricky to color up and is definitely a slower grower for me:
PwpkF3s.jpg



CRT Joyride - Showing a lot of potential as a mini-colony, I think it has more to give as it grows out further:
jE9tc0Q.jpg



RMF Tiger's Blood - I think this one got some grafting in my system as well, it didn't start out this way but developed some really bright yellow/green tones in the base:
x8V6zuR.jpg



Farmer Ty's Lava Monster - This may be my favorite mille now. I need to get a better pic. The color variation in the branches is just crazy, and it develops yellow tips as well that aren't showing up well in my pic:
D5CUldg.jpg



TGC Crazy Eyes - Funky growth pattern. This particular frag / mini-colony has developed some really sick colors as it encrusts on this disc:
dW5258T.jpg



JF Serial Killer - Really starting to shine as it turns into a colony. As a colony it displays a lot more colors than just a frag will show:
MIaQlwA.jpg



POTO Optimus Prime - Another really nice piece from Kenny. Better colors than TSA Optimus Prime in my system:
LOIijWI.jpg
 
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gws3

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I’m mostly speechless but I’ll just go with WOW !

Works for me too! WOW!!!

This thread is gonna be epic. Thanks for starting it Graham.

Ok, I found a few words …
Thank you for posting this thread. As a fairly new Acropora keeper it is both inspirational and aspirational. I also really enjoy the little description attached to each piece.


About time! GWS3 has, without a doubt, some of the best acros out there. Can't wait to see more of this collection!

Amazing corals, keep the pics coming.

Amazing photos, beautiful colors! Very impressive coral.

Thank you all for the kind words. I'll make an effort to keep this thread going with new pics, as well as my random blurbs about each piece.

Graham what do you use to to take your pictures and videos?

I just use my smartphone. It's not even a newer one, it's a galaxy S7. I like the sharpness of the newer phones, and the FOVs the multiple cameras offer, but I'm not sure they produce more appealing pics. I'll probably upgrade soon just because the S7 is annoyingly slow now.

I have a nice DSLR and a bunch of macro lenses collecting dust, it's so time consuming to get set up and then post process RAW pics. All my reef tanks already consume so much time. I've always wanted to do more with photography, maybe if I didn't have a full time job.

I either take the white balance slider all the way with no filter, or if that's not working out I use a 25% light straw filter. It's a very subtle filter. I have the orange clip on filters as well, but I don't like using them. Sure, they will produce some crazy colors, but it shifts the colors to where it is not representative of what my eyes see. I want to take appealing pics, but ones that capture the colors I actually see under blue lighting.

Really the most important asepects for good pics are a look down box and diffuse lighting.

One area where my pics fall short is with polyp extension. My tanks just aren't set up to be conducive to taking good pics, so I always have to move the pieces to where I take the pictures. I'm running a lot of Radion G5 blues now, which need to be mounted close to the water due to the wide spread, and this makes it very difficult to take top down pics.
 

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This is fantastic. I can't wait to see more! Could you share your setup for photographing your pieces? I know with actinics it is nearly impossible to photograph true color, but I'd love to know what the color is like to the human eye. Nothing against these amazing pictures!
 
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gws3

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Here's one more I've been meaning to share for a while.

GWS Arcoiris - Grew this out from a frag of a browned out wild piece. Was very slow at first, but is now growing very fast. It really shines when it it reaches colony size. Unfortunately the FOV on my cell can only capture about 2/3 of the whole colony.
daA1Fm7.jpg
 
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This is fantastic. I can't wait to see more! Could you share your setup for photographing your pieces? I know with actinics it is nearly impossible to photograph true color, but I'd love to know what the color is like to the human eye. Nothing against these amazing pictures!

If you scroll up to post #14 I discuss how I photograph. The photos I have posted in this thread were taken under blue plus T5 / reefbrite XHO / kessil A360WE. However the mix is two 5' blue plus / two 6' reefbrite xho / three kessil A360WE with only blue channels on over a large frag tank. So no doubt very blue lighting.

The pics are representative of what the corals look like under heavy blue lighting. I avoid using the heavy orange filters like the clip-ons because the colors shift so much they aren't often aren't representative of what you see even under all blues.

The corals definitely won't show nearly as strong of fluorescing pigments under a "daylight" mix. No acros will look like that under whites, no matter how much they cost. If anyone tries to convince you otherwise, they're lying.

All my tanks have a very blue spectrum now. Last year I replaced all my radium 250W metal halides with radion G5 blues. I'm an old school reefer and always liked metal halides, so it took me a long time to switch over from the old technology. With halides the light is very immersive and reminds me of what it looks like when snorkeling under midday sun. But halides have a lot of downsides, and I can say without a doubt I get better colors from the G5 blues.

I wish I still had halides over one tank to get good daylight shots. Some of my nicest pink and purple pieces look best under daylight, but I haven't been able to get good daylight shots under G5 blues or T5s like I could under my old halides.

I'll do some pics soon of some of my favorite daylight pieces under whiter lighting. I've never been able to get a good pic of one of my favorite acros, Eisenberg, which looks much better under daylights than blues. So I'll use that as some motivation to tackle that challenge.
 
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