This peppermint shrimp is spending the day in a branching vase sponge about 75 feet deep in Bonaire’s Margate Bay. Lighting was achieved with an HID torch shining on the outside of the sponge. The photographer, working upside down, had to carefully control buoyancy while approaching as close as possible, taking care not to touch the sponge with camera or light and to avoid disturbing the shrimp or the sponge.
National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen “was drawn into its world by the circular shape of the sponge.” National Geographic design editor Darren Smith agrees: “This image transports the viewer to another world. The technical execution is flawless, the spiraling composition frames the shrimp and draws us in, and the lighting and varied colors add dimension.” Adds freelance photojournalist Maria Stenzel: “I admire the photographer who can work underwater, control his buoyancy, and hang upside down to get this intimate, macro view of a shrimp. The back lighting, the colors and textures, and the magnificent translucent shrimp are gorgeous.”