13 Apr, 2017 Back to blog

Ribbon Eel


Image and Text by Kevin Deacon

These beautiful little eels are also commonly called Blue Ribbon Eel but only the males are blue, females are yellow, and juveniles are black. I guess that avoids a lot of confusion and any mistakes if you are a ribbon eel looking for a partner to mate.
We should be so lucky!
I also like the way they lunge at any fish passing close by, these little eels have a lot of attitude!

They are both a joy and a frustration for photographers.  Joyful because they are exotic and beautiful plus rarely leave their lair so one can settle in and shoot away until you feel you have the image you want.  But they are also frustrating as they can choose to disappear into their lair and not reappear for some time. It also doesn’t help that even when they are posturing in front of your camera they are never still.

Location:  Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Genre:  Macro with twin strobes.
Photographic Data: Nikon D800, Nikkor 60 MM Lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes and Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 100 Exposure f32 @ 1/125th second shutter speed.

Photo Hints:  Shoot a lot as you will find it difficult to be certain you have perfect focus on the eel’s head. Spend time with the animal, they are fascinating and they soon get used to your presence. If you take the time to observe you will note more spectacular poses such as the wide stretch of their jaws which provides a more dramatic image. When you compose your pictures, consider twisting the camera left or right which will make the eel appear diagonal in the image frame. This is a more powerful composition and a technique I use a lot.

Interesting Facts: Ribbon eels are hermaphrodite and can rapidly change sex. They are rarely seen free swimming outside their lair; at up to 1 meter in length they are surprisingly long for an eel so slim.

Common names: Blue Ribbon Eel.
Latin name. Rhinomuraena quaesita

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