Brunei Darussalam

BEACH CRABS. THEY’RE NO HERMITS.

Know what it’s like to be bitten all over by sandflies (apparently they’re also called blackfly in Australia/New Zealand)? It seems odd that they are over a dozen products for mossies but nothing to wad off these pesky flies that leave unsightly and very itchy marks. Worse part is they take weeks (up to a month from memory) to disappear completely. But, if that’s what it takes to photograph these beach crabs, so be it!

 
© Jan Shim Photography

So these appear to be one of the many variety of FIDDLER CRABS that are popular on our sandy and muddy shores. If you visit the beach enough like me you’d have know it’s almost impossible to get close to these crabs. They’d scurry off very quickly and chances are there’s not enough holes for them to hide in so the rest just keep on running until it’s safe again to relax and enjoy what they do best—a little fun in the sun! They’re always on the move and seem to hang around that S curve border between moist sand and water and if you’re able to see what I’ve seen through my 100mm macro lens, they playfully spit water through their tiny little mouth.


© Jan Shim Photography

If you look at these pictures and stare into the face long enough you’ll probably see (as I did) where some of these nasty looking faces make their way to the big screen. The fugly alien in PREDATOR springs to mind!


© Jan Shim Photography

Another EASI card image in the making? Maybe. Who knows. The burn from sandfly bites and the scorching sun didn’t make this catch any easy! 🙂

What I do know is that my EOS 20D camera that recently took a swim in the Temburong river continues to work and I photographed these crabs with the EF 100mm f/2.8 lens. In addition, there are no sandflies or mosquitoes at the Ulu Ulu Resort to ruin the experience.

NOTES: Coming back to the subject of repellants for sandflies, a swimming instructor (thanks Hans!) once suggested baby oil and I’ve since been applying it before I head to the beach. Even at the local club swimming pool, I get sandfly bites too so I’ve been able to determine the effectiveness of baby oil and it works (unless it had been a coincidence)! However, in light of a recent discovery that Listerine (the mouth wash) makes a great safer alternative to repellants against mosquitoes, I can vouch it’s useless against sandflies!

Related Beach links
NATURE’S IRONY AND ART | MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE | POLLUTION: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL | DUMPLING FESTIVAL. A BIG DAY OUT. | SCHOOL’S OUT. SANITY RESTORED.

15 thoughts on “BEACH CRABS. THEY’RE NO HERMITS.

  1. Thanks Jan! Needless to say I’ve my own “sights” of these fast and elusive crabs . . . but never one via the macro lens. Thanks for the close up. Now I know what they really look like. They spit water?!!!! Things that make you go hm . . . .

    Btw, baby oil effective against sandflies? Another thing that makes you go hm . . . .

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  2. Very nice and descriptive post. The NG also aired them just a couple of weeks back. I wish I could see a picture where they are just popping out their eyes before emerging from their den.

    Cheers!

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  3. Needless to say I’ve my own “sights” of these fast and elusive crabs . . . but never one via the macro lens. Thanks for the close up. Now I know what they really look like.

    Owning a macro lens is only the beginning. Getting down and dirty unfortunately a necessity to getting these images. I had to stay absolutely still on my elbows and knees before they started coming towards me—it was a great feeling of accomplishment being able to “communicate” with wildlife—and they came up really close shy of “fiddling” with the lens.

    I wish I could see a picture where they are just popping out their eyes before emerging from their den.

    That has crossed my mind not once but on a number of occasions. After several unsuccessful attempts I changed tact but decided a compositional change too while at it.

    first to comment =]

    Afraid not 🙂

    the first picture is rather a rare sight, do you always get such scene in the seria beach?

    I believe so. I have so far only visited the beach on Sundays and they’re always there unless there’re also seasonal creatures that I am not aware of.

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  4. yea Jan these photos are simple yet they are saying so much, i have never seen one of those crabs before. And seeing them like this almost bridges that gap between my PC’s desk and there sandy abode, thats really nice.

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  5. So this is how those crabs look like!

    Now, how about stalking them pesky sandflies and give us some close-up pictures?

    As for the baby oil tip, I’d be sure to try it out as the store-bought mosquito repellent have no effect against sandflies.

    Also, how far were you from the close-up photos?

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  6. Now, how about stalking them pesky sandflies and give us some close-up pictures?

    Unfortunately sandflies are too tiny and our 100mm Macro lens do not provide magnification unlike a microscope. Sandflies are so tiny they’re not even at times visible to the human eye. It’s amazing how toxic they are!

    As for the baby oil tip, I’d be sure to try it out as the store-bought mosquito repellent have no effect against sandflies.

    I’ve only used Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Oil (the purple cap with lavender and chamomile). Don’t know what special properties in the product that makes it work but in order to rule out the possibility of a coincidence, more people should try it.

    Also, how far were you from the close-up photos?

    The crabs (there were two bigger ones I paid attention to) were anywhere from 6 to 10 inches away. The 100mm Macro on the 20D is actually 160mm due to the camera’s 1.6X crop factor so if I was shooting the same lens on the full frame 5D, it would be one to one and I’d have to move much closer to get the same framing but with much resolution and detail. As much as I can help it, I’m never taking the 5D to the beach and subject it to the elements.

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  7. Nice catch Jan, I mean the photo not the crab… hehehe. Which camera you use most the 5D or the 20D? How’s the EF 100mm Macro f2.8 lens? Is it worthed to have it? Can you get any closer of the subject with the 100mm Macro lens?

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  8. The EF100mm f2.8 Maco has a minimum focusing distance of 0.31m (~12.204 inches) to ∞ infinity. This means my original estimate was a little off although I’m not sure usable focal lengths make a difference between full frame and cropped sensor body. Of course the same photo captured on the 5D alone would make a big usable difference since you have more detail to crop with compared to the 20D.

    I use both bodies depending on the need. If I was shooting birds there’s never enough focal lengths. For example, the 20D’s 1.6 crop on the EF100-400 gives you 640mm that’s a difference of 240mm—significant and costly difference if I were shooting on the 5D requiring a 600mm lens (that’s only available on PRIME lens costing several times more). Of course the optic quality on the 600mm prime would be more superior than the 100-400 telephoto.

    Having said this, I would not intentionally risk contaminating the 5D with salt spray from the beach unless I have no choice.

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