Hippocampus pygmy Denise. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Pygmy seahorses do not like photos

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the strange sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here PetitesBullesdAilleurs.fr

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

Nothing is more annoying to photograph than a seahorse-pygmy. Too small. Too much camouflaged. Too shy. But his delicate plastic is worth a few efforts.


After the mood pictures, place to macrophotography! In the waters of Weda Bay, at HalmaheraIn Indonesia, where I was in March 2013, I am lucky to have models of choice: seahorses-pygmies.

Seahorse-Pygmy Bargibanti. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

But photographing them is not easy. A real challenge, even ...

First concern, with these miniature sea horses: they are more than "pygmies", they are downright half-naked! ! ! To be able to observe them, some divers even take a magnifying glass under water with them. That is to say…

With their size of a centimeter (sometimes less), pygmy hyppocamps are really difficult to spot. We find them by patiently scrutinizing the branches of the huge sea fans of Weda Bay.

Gorgon. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

Seahorse-Pygmy Bargibanti. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

The quest looks a little like looking for a needle in a haystack, sometimes ... But we get there. The proof.

Hippocampus pygmy Denise. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.Fortunately, I am helped by the lynx eye of my Indonesian guide, Radyal.

He helps me to see them, in the huge fans of coral, and especially to find them, when, the mask stuck to the viewfinder of my box, I moved a few inches and lost sight of the branch where is hiding the little sea horse on which I set my sights. It takes patience and calm, to successfully photograph the seahorses-Pygmies.

We met two species during our dives at Weda.

Whoever has pink or orange bumps, which are used as camouflage in the gorgonians of the same color, it is a seahorse bargibanti. The little yellow with a bald head answers to the sweet name of Denise.

Shy people

Second concern: small sea horses do not like to be photographed at all.

Whenever I point my macro lens at them, I get the same acrobat number around the Gorgon branch. Here they start to pivot gently on their coiled tail, the air of nothing, to go on the other side, ostentatiously turning my back ...

Seahorse-Pygmy Bargibanti. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

I breathe deeply, bypass the gorgon, take up position, readjust the angle of my flash and the opening of the case. And damn! Still missed.

The development is very delicate to succeed, on such small creatures, it is played to the millimeter. But their shyness adds to the difficulty.

Seahorse-Pygmy Bargibanti. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.And I really feel they are taunting me ... Hop! I still turn your back, I do not like the pictures.

: lol:

The repetition of this subtle camouflage maneuver - once, twice, three times - it becomes very annoying!

But, by dint of perseverance, I still manage to draw the portrait.

My photo equipment: the Eos 7D and the lens Canon 60mm f / 2.8 EF-S Macro.

And I'm kind of obstinate, must say ... Able to stay stuck in front of a gorgon for long minutes, under the benevolent eye of my guide, who patiently meshes his string of bubbles.

He's waiting for me to finish, to lead me to another coral fan, a few meters away. He has even done a little round-trip, to check that the gorgon is still inhabited, since its last passage, while I plague in my regulator because of the little cooperation of my tiny model.

Hippocampus pygmy Denise. Weda Bay, Halmahera, Indonesia. March 2013.

On one of the gorgonians visited, we find a small family of sea horses. But there, I do not strive anymore. Impossible to have everyone on the photo.

I'm just doing some clichés, for the memory, with two seahorses in the frame. It's not so common to capture more than one at a time!

When the time comes for the first sorting of images, in the evening, on my MacBook Air, I eliminate a lot, without a qualm. But how far have I come from my very first images of seahorse-pygmy to compact, in 2008 (to see right here and the)…

I do a lot less "macro" since I have my new toy, the fisheye lens Tokina 10-17, great for underwater photos. But at Weda, the tiny sea horses have given me back the taste of "little".

: roll:

Travel to Indonesia: Veda and Bangka - March 2013

  Indonesia: Weda [Halmahera] + Bangka [Sulawesi] - March 2013

  1. @Corinne: I like these little animals, but I've never seen one !! 🙁
    Must also say that my view is not terrible, and that despite my mask with corrective lenses (yes, essential for bigleux like me!) 8) I'm not ready to see! 😥

    1. @Didier: do like so many other divers, go down with a magnifying glass in your stab! It's great to watch the really small stuff, and not just the pygmy seahorses ...

  2. too cute these pygmies!
    I confirm it is quite annoying to photograph, especially when we love to take all his time but other photographers are also waiting for this rare moment ....
    Anyway well done !!

    1. @Laurence: Weda, it was ideal for the photo, I must say ... In my palanquée, just the guide and a Dutch diver who drowned his camera a few days ago, so I was the only photographer !!! 🙂
      No need to wait for your turn near the gorgon ...

      The other photographers were dispatched to the other palanquées. Long dives, very quiet, no-one around ... Ideal !!!

  3. Great photos, Corinne. Better than with your compact in 2008 (With my little Lumix camera, I did my best, when on 2 wild sites of the Samal Island -Philippines- we discovered several couples of Bargibanti) 😉
    You express so well - with humor - the difficulty of photographing them; yes, they have the art of making us a pirouette under the lens and pass on the other side of the gorgon!
    A magnifying glass, yes, it can help to observe ...
    Good bubbles

    1. @Siratus: thanks! 🙂 I became more skilled afterwards, with my little compact camera, but when you go to the SLR with a good lens, the difference is incomparable ... As for these pesky seahorses, yes, there is enough to become a goat, to want shoot them the portrait!

    1. @Laurence: You'll laugh, too, when I took the photos underwater, I was so focused on the Denise, to try to capture it in the right position, to apply myself on my focus , lighting, etc. etc. I did not notice the cute prawns around, which add a lot of interest to the photo ...

      Only after, discovering my images on the screen of the computer, I finally saw them!

  4. MAGNIFICENT your pygmies, really!
    And what do I learn? you do not have a magnifying glass when you dive 😉 Indispensable for an old man like me if I want to see these adorable creatures ...

    1. @Pit: a thousand thanks, from you, the compliment touches me 🙂
      Well no, not (yet) magnifying glass. But that's one of the little accessories that I'm thinking of taking with me for the next few times ...

  5. The little Denise yellow he has his guard to eat small fins, shrimp are many to have elected home in this gorgon. Is it true that the pygmee feeds on shrimp, bigger than it? Otherwise what ?

  6. Hello Corinne and congratulations for these images that make me wait! I will try to bring back some pictures of these pygmies !! Lilliputiens !!

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