Image: Manta breach

Shawn manta breach on Wetpixel

Wetpixel moderator Shawn Heinrichs captured this amazing image of a breaching manta at Isla Mujeres, Mexico last week. He describes capturing the image:

While in the water photographing whale sharks and mantas with Taro Smith and Hannah Fraser, a manta drifted below me at about 20 feet and stopped. As it hovered in place, it started to twitch and wrap and unwrap its cephalic fins. It looked like something was irritating it, perhaps a parasite. Suddenly it give 3 or 4 rapid pumps with its wings and raced toward the surface. The last pump was full and more powerful then the rest. Its body launched about 6 feet out of the water and crashed back down. Pretty intense when you witness it right in front of your face! I managed to grab a couple of frames with my Canon 1DX as it flew past. I was using a Sigma 15mm fisheye lens so basically the manta was within touching distance!

The camera settings were what I had been shooting with underwater: ISO 604, f11 and 1/250 shutter. These were not ideal for capturing motion!