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Blue-Ringed Octopus Portrait

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Blue-Ringed Octopus



Anilao, Philippines



Canon Camera with dual inon strobes with red light, +6 wet lens



20 meters (65 feet at depth) during a night dive



This Blue Ringed Octopus was the largest I had ever seen.  He displayed his colors for almost 40 minutes straight.  I was very fortunate to have a dive guide that was skilled to find one and then helped me find him again, when I lost him in the rocks.  I lost him because I took my eye off him for about 3 seconds, to look at my previous shots.  Not a good feeling when you are in the dark and you lost a blue ringed octopus.


This cephalopod has the ability to kill you within 4 minutes if you are bitten.  To top that off, the bite can be painless and there is no anti-venom.   The solution I have found to getting photos of Blue Ringed Octopus, give them space, take a couple photos slowly and then move away a little.  Repeat this pattern and you can have a cooperating partner for several minutes.  Be slow and steady and they will get comfortable to degree.  Keep eye contact with them.  I always found getting your strobes in position while you approach them is best.  You don’t want to be fixing your camera set-up and looking at your camera and then lose them.  Easier said than done.


Blue Ring Octopus are very rare to see and will hide in rocks, never to be seen again, on some night dives.  They are truly a diamond in a rough and you want to be ready when you take photos of them.  I know because I have learned from my mistakes.  My go to wet lens for medium sized ocean dwellers is the +6 wet lens.  I will have my strobes at 10 and 2 o’clock positioning in reference to my camera and have a red light on standby.  This blue ring was about 4 inches full extended. He was about double the size of the average blue ring that I have seen, it was nice to have him all by myself.

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