Mike Veitch Show Reel

I have finally gotten around to creating a short Show Reel of some of my more memorable video encounters from over the years. This showcase features imagery from Yap, Lembeh Strait, Bali, Komodo, and Raja Ampat among others. This film is edited to show just a few highlights of interesting behaviour but no long or intensive coverage of any one animal.

Enjoy the video and feel free to share with your friends but please don’t edit or use the footage in any commercial venture without prior permission.

Story Behind the Shot – The Peeking Orangutan


Orangutan Peeking

This was taken at an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok in Sabah Province, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The Centre has a “feeding platform” where recently released orangutans often come to get a free meal in the morning, as they may not yet be fully adapted to life in the wild. This particular orangutan was a very shy individual and allowed the other primates to have first crack at the bananas that the handlers were handing out. However, she did keep a keen eye from afar on the goings on at the platform; I believe this photo really captures her look of curiosity and patience while awaiting her mid morning snack.

Nikon D70s, 400mm lens, f5.6, 1/80

Story Behind The Shot – The Manta Train

Story Behind the Shot – The Manta Train

 Manta Train

Due to its popularity on social media the last few days, I have decided to tell the story behind the “Manta Train” photo.  This photo was taken in Yap, Micronesia on a dive site called “Valley of the Rays”, in Goofnuw Channel, a passage that connects the lagoon to the open ocean on the North East side of the island group.  From the months of May/June through to Oct/Nov, mantas are often found in this channel hovering above one of several cleaning stations while being swept clean of parasites by a variety of wrasse and butterfly fish.  During certain times of the month, around full and new moon, there can be a lot of plankton in the water (possibly fish eggs from a mass mating event or coral spawning) and large groups of mantas congregate in the channel in order to scoop up this food source.

On this particular occasion, I had arrived on a boat with Yap Divers (Manta Ray Bay Hotel), early in the morning and the conditions were perfect; sun, flat calm sea, and the beginning of the rising tide.  We jumped in the water at the edge of the pass and began to slowly drift into the channel with a mild current.  Not long after, we began to encounter small groups of mantas swimming back and forth along the water column, their mouths agape, scooping up nutrients from the water.  As we drifted further into the channel, the groups of mantas became ever more numerous and the encounters continued non-stop; both near the surface as well as up to 10-15 metres deep. An interesting behaviour of feeding mantas is that they often “draft” one another in long lines with the one behind slightly higher in the water column than the one in front, similar to how a cyclist stays close to the rider in front to improve aerodynamics.  This behaviour allows the manta situated behind to scoop up plankton that has been pushed over the top of the manta in front, allowing for a more efficient feeding action.  For this photo, I was hovering not too far from the surface when a large group of mantas in feeding formation turned and came racing toward me with mouths wide open.  As I saw them turn I immediately swam downward and was able to situate myself just above the “Manta Train” and fire off a series of shots.   This shot is my favourite and I believe it’s the one that captures the mantas behaviour best; a close inspection reveals 8 mantas in this photo.

Nikon D70, Aquatica Housing, Nikkor 12-24mm lens at 12mm, f8, 1/100, ISO 200, no strobes