I love any encounter with the Peacock Mantis Shrimp, they are so alert, so animated and so clever. They will lead you on a merry chase over the reef only pausing occasionally to look over their shoulder to see if you are still pursuing. They will duck into a hole in the reef and reappear from another escape route to watch you as you stare into a now empty burrow.
Their eyes pivot in multiple directions independently and they miss nothing. Mostly I find them peering from a shelter in the reef and occasionally spot them as an emerald blur dashing from refuge to refuge.
But every now and then, I come face to face with one and there is a `stand off’ moment as the shrimp considers its next move. That’s always my one chance to get the picture. And a picture of one clutching her precious babies is the ultimate Peacock Mantis Shrimp image.
Photo Data: Location: Coral Gardens, Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia Genre: Macro with twin strobes. Photo Data: Nikon D800, Nikkor 60mm Lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes and Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 200 Exposure f18 @ 1/125th sec shutter speed. Image by Kevin Deacon.
Photo Hints: As you will typically be shooting this type of subject with a macro lens it is important to focus on the animal’s eyes. The viewer will always make eye contact with the eyes of the subject in your image, it’s a human trait, so you need to ensure this part of your image is in perfect focus.
Regardless of the lens used, the area of your image that will stay in reasonable focus is always one third forward of your focus point and two thirds behind.
Interesting Facts: The mantis shrimps are the giants of the shrimp kingdom. At up to 18 cm in length this species is the largest of the mantis shrimp family of smasher shrimps. They are armed with a pair of claws that move with lightning speed and pack a powerful punch. They have been known to shatter the glass wall of aquariums. There strike has been measured at the speed of 1/3000th second and with the force of a 22 calibre bullet.
Their eyes are among the most sophisticated of any in the animal kingdom, far superior to the human eye which has three colour receptive cone cells. The mantis shrimp has 16 including UV and Infrared. Their view of the world is with Hexnocular vision compared to our more limited binocular vision so the mantis shrimp can see more of the underwater world than we can.