Round Batfish in Blue Water Mangroves

28-Sep-2011 Back to Image Gallery

Round Batfish in Blue Water Mangroves

This juvenile Round Batfish appears to be almost flying through the mangroves, above and below the water. I love capturing images that see through the looking glass, water to sky! The clear waters that flow through the vast mangroves of Indonesia’s Raja Ampat provide unique underwater photographic opportunities not found in muddy mangrove habitats elsewhere. However, I dived this site in pursuit of these unique images at potentially great risk. The last underwater photographer to explore this area last season was severely mauled by a large saltwater crocodile so I seriously considered sitting it out. However, I remembered one of my mantras `fortune favours the bold’ so I went for it. I was rewarded with a beautiful little batfish in its habitat of mangroves, coral & somewhere around, crocodiles!

Photo Data: Location: Blue Water Mangroves, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Genre: Wide Angle Macro. Photo Data: Nikon D200, 10.5mm lens + 1.4 Tele-converter, Seacam Silver Housing, ISO 100, Manual Exposure Mode. Sunlight & Dual Strobe Exposure F8 @ 1/160sec. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: Well you can’t afford to breathe (very often) as your bubbles will break the surface and spoil the looking glass not to mention the batfish doesn’t want to be in a spa! You need very good buoyancy control as you must track along with the fish at some speed and almost impossibly close to it; they are only 15 centimetres tall. I did pretty well at this I think except at one point when I almost had the little fellow laying across my dome port!

Interesting Facts: Scientific name. Platax orbicularis. The juvenile Round Batfish prefer mangrove environments where they drift around looking like dead leafs. When approached from underwater they flatten against the surface to further effect this camouflage strategy. This actually is very helpful when you are photographing them.

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