Behind the Photograph – Roughhead Blenny

It takes a good eye to spot these little guys on the reef.  The Roughhead Blenny is one of the smallest creatures I’ve managed to capture.  The one in this image was roughly the size of the tip of an ink pen.  They get their name from the obvious rough hair on their head.

I used a 105mm macro lens along with a sub see +5 wet diopter to get the detail of this curious creature.  Settings for this shot were ISO of 100, shutter speed of 1/250th and an aperture of F14. Also, in order to get close enough, I had to power down my strobes significantly. I have seen these guys in many locations but this one was hanging on to a piece of wreckage on the wreck of the Benwood in Key Largo, Florida.

Luckily, like most smaller critters, this guy was not shy.  He posed well for me and didn’t cower from the strobes. This enabled me to get some great detail, including the teeth which I found very fascinating.  The roughhead blenny do very little traveling and prefer to wait for food to pass by their home.

If you want to spot one of these guys, look for hard coral with very tiny holes then wait to see if one pops his head out.

Spiny Headed Blenny

100 ISO

For more information on the wreck of the Benwood, go here. Or just check out the dive doc below.

Check out more of my photography here!

More from our Behind the Photograph series here.


Kim Eldridge

About Kim Eldridge

Kim started diving in 2003, and soon after became a certified instructor. She moved to Key Largo in 2005 to pursue a diving career, teaching for the next 7 years. Her interests eventually led her into underwater photography, specifically animal portraiture and macro.