Honorable Mention Novice Macro Ocean Art 2019 Naomi Strong

Honorable Mention Novice Macro

Naomi Strong

"What Are You Looking At!"


The Story: I have been lucky enough to dive the warm waters of Tulamben on the island of Bali, Indonesia on several occasions where I have seen a number of species of mantis shrimp including the Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus).  However, I had to look twice when I saw a pregnant Peacock Mantis Shrimp scurrying around on the ocean floor.  

Mantis shrimp are possibly the most confident sea creature I have encountered.  They often stop and look you in the eye, cocking their heads, assessing you as their eyes independently rotate back and forth.  

With their quizzical expressions and comic book character looks, it can be easy to forget that these tiny animals which typically grow to around 10cm in length have some of the strongest weaponry in the animal kingdom.  The Peacock Mantis Shrimp has a club-like appendage which delivers a blow at a speed of 50mph with the force of a .22 calibre rifle, so it is no wonder they have such a blasé attitude. 

I followed this individual around a small section of reef taking a few photos of it from behind as it went about its business.  Convinced it would shortly disappear into one of its tunnels leading back to its burrow, I was surprised when it climbed a small embankment and stopped, turned around and looked at me as if to say, “what are you looking at?!”.  After marvelling at its clutch of thousands of eggs for several seconds, I managed to take a few shots before it spun around, shot over the ridge and into a hole on the other side of the mound.

Definitely one the most memorable moments of my photography journey so far, I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to capture this image.

Location:  Seraya Secret - Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia

Equipment Used:  Nikon D850 Camera, Nikkor 60mm Macro Lens, Aquatica D850 Housing, Weefine Snoot

Camera Settings: 1/160 sec, F22, ISO 160


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