Nemo Pair



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4 Comments | Report
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots November 20, 2015
Great shot! Congrats.
MatW PRO
MatW December 30, 2015
Thanks!
rogerwauters
 
rogerwauters December 14, 2015
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
rogerwauters
 
rogerwauters December 14, 2015
2 pretty Nemo's, great photo!
MatW PRO
MatW December 30, 2015
Thanks!
fionamasterton
 
fionamasterton December 26, 2015
lovely photo!
MatW PRO
MatW December 30, 2015
Thanks!

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken underwater at Apo Island, an amazing dive site in the Philippines. The combination of beautiful and colourful hard corals, abundant sea life and warm water makes diving and underwater photography in the Philippines one of my favourite past times.
Time
This photo was taken on the third dive of the day, before we headed back on the boat to the dive resort at Dumaguette. I was nearing the end of the dive when I spotted these two clown fish and I took the opportunity to practice different lighting techniques with my underwater strobes. With the sun starting to get lower in the sky, the two underwater strobes were needed to correctly light the scene. After many, many shots, and fighting the inevitable need to return to the surface - I came out with one I really like.
Lighting
Underwater photography is all about lighting, and as an underwater photographer you have a myriad of lighting options and strobe setups. For this photo, I ket the strobes in close to the body of the underwater housing and angled them out so the edge of the two strobe beams met just in front of the anemone to avoid lighting up the particles in the water (backscatter) between the myself and clown fish. I had to play around with several strobe positions and power settings before coming away with this shot
Equipment
I used a Canon G15 compact camera in a Nauticam underwater housing. Attached, I have an Inon acrylic bubble dome lens, and two Sea and Sea YS-D1 Strobes.
Inspiration
The breathtaking underwater world initially drew me to diving - and then as my confidence grew, combining my love of diving and interest in photography became the perfect pairing for what has grown to be one of my favourite creative outlets. In particular, clown fish provide a great challenge - with their high speed darting in and around their anemone home. I have more photos of clown fish tails at the end of the day - but occasionally they stay still one enough to capture the expression on their faces.
Editing
As with most underwater photos, the key is getting the lighting and white balance correct to correct the loss of colour that occurs at depth. I used lAdobe LightRoom to correct the white balance, remove any harsh highlights, bring out some of the details in the shadow of the anemone. I also used the spot removal tool to remove some unwanted backscatter.
In my camera bag
Unfortunately it is hard to get away without bulk and weight for underwater photography. Where I am diving, the water conditions and the type of sea life in the area will determine the equipment I take with me including setups for wide-angle, macro and occasionally both. I have a Canon 5D Mk3 body inside a Sea and Sea MDX MK3 V2 underwater housing and then either a Canon 100mm 2.8L Macro lens or a Canon 16-35mm 2.8L wide-angle lens. Each lens requires a different port to be attached to the front of the underwater housing - a long cylindrical port for the macro lens and a large eight inch bubble dome glass port for the wide angle lens. Then there is a critical o-rings (up to five on the housing at one time) to prevent water from entering the underwater housing at the pressure increases the deeper you go. I also have two Sea and Sea YS-D1 strobes mounted on long arms on each side of the underwater housing. These work through two optical fibre cables that connect to a TTL convertor mounted inside the underwater housing. On top of the underwater housing I usually mount an underwater focus light to assist in sharp focus on macro subjects in low light conditions.
Feedback
Underwater photography is a challenging and highly rewarding hobby that enables you to bring the enjoyment of the underwater experience above the surface both to recall and examine the weird and wonderful critters you might find but also to share the experience with family and friends. First and foremost, it is a must to be confident with your diving and buoyancy control before considering underwater photography - both to ensure your own safety and that of your buddy, but also to avoid damaging and destroying the beautiful underwater ecosystem you have come to enjoy and photograph. When I find an anemone with clown fish residents, I usually spend at least a minute getting set up, adjusting strobe power and position and establishing neutral buoyancy before spending several more minutes trying to capture the perfect photo. Anticipation is the key - and the more you dive and understand the habits and behaviours of the sea creatures you photograph, the more likely you are to come away with a photo you really like. I always try to get as low as possible and shoot upwards to remove the sea floor from the photo and attempt to capture the subject against the water column behind. This helps to add depth to the photo and avoid the subject getting lost amongst the detail on the sea floor. Identifying when the clown fish will turn towards you is the tricky part and manipulating the shutter to capture the often split second moment. Trial and error is required - and more often than not - a healthy dose of good luck. I try not to spend more than a few minutes on underwater subjects. The combined effect of the noise from exhaling through the regular, the proximity of the camera, and strobe flashes can all stress the underwater subject - so once I have one or two shots I think will work - I move on and find another subject.

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