Getting the Shot – December 2010

Starting this month I plan on writing a blog each month about “Getting the Shot”.  As photographers, whether amateur or professional, we all talk about the magic that comes with capturing the perfect image!  Each month we will discuss techniques required to capturing that perfect picture.

Techniques and lessons learned.

  1. Before poking your camera into fish or critters underwater home and risk scaring the %^&$ out of them!  Hugh camera and flashing strobes, not everyone including fish are fans of the paparazzi.  Try a few test shots in a similar area paying close attention to depth; sun position and the reef back ground.  After reviewing your pictures on the cameras monitor and histogram if available, make the necessary adjustments and a mental plan of aperture bracketing and/or strobe positioning you will want to do with your final shots.
  2. Pay attention to your surroundings.  Make sure your fins are not destroying the reef or kicking up debris that will negatively impact photographers and divers visiting after you.  Check for the position of the sun, try to shot up or horizontal to the subject and slowly move close to the subject, now get even closer, but remember to move in slow!
  3. Always remember fish are very territorial and live in the same area of the reef day in and day out.  If you chase down a fish you will scar them for life and no one including you will ever be able to get their picture.  So the rule is be patient and the shot will come, it’s okay to return to the area several times during a dive or vacation.
  4. Take a few pictures and pull out of the location.  Relax, get breathing under control, review your cameras monitor for picture quality, let other divers and photographers have a chance to see your prized find.  They will be more likely to show you their critter finds.  If necessary take a few more pictures.

For my first “Getting the Shot” blog I want to start with the photo taken in May of 2010 while in Bonaire, N.A.   It’s of a male Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) incubating eggs.

Before, I explain the detail of this photo I want to take us back to a live aboard trip to Belize in 2000.  During 1999 and the early 2000 I was shooting with a Nike V.  In it’s day not a bad camera and excellent for a beginner like me. On a dive I spotted a Yellowhead Jawfish.  As luck would have it, I had my macro set-up and all I needed to do was capture an awesome image!  Easier said than done.  Don’t know if you remember, the old Nike V macro set-up had a focus bar.  And as a beginner I could not get close enough with the focus bar, without spooking the Jawfish.   He would never leave his hole when I was close enough to get a picture!  After nearly 1 hour of not getting one picture, I returned to the boat one frustrated diver.   Later that same day a friend suggested I try his housed SLR.  I was able to get a rather nice picture in about 15 minutes.  After returning home I ordered the Seacam Silver for a Nikon F100 and used it until I transitioned to the Seacam Silver for the Nikon D300.

Which brings us to the current topic and image.  After the morning dives I would dive the house reef at Buddy Dive.  On my first afternoon I spotted the male Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) incubating eggs.  I took 8 images and reviewed on the cameras monitor, I was not necessarily satisfied with my results, so returned to the room and down loaded them for review.

Now back to the pictures under all the excitement, yea, I know…taking pictures of a 3 inch long fish with eggs in its month doesn’t qualify in some circles, I forgot to use my 30% wet diopter.  Then over the next three afternoons, or five dives and 65 pictures later I captured the following two pictures.   If I say so myself, awesome!!!!!!!!!

Equipment used: Seacam Silver Housing, Nikon D300, Nikkor 105 MM lens, 30% wet diopter over flat port and 2 Ikelite Substrobe 200’s

Settings: ISO 200, Aperture f/22, Shutter speed of 1/125 sec, both strobes on full power.

Time of Day: Approximately 4:00 PM each day.  Remember the incubation period is 7 to 10 day’s.

To see more pictures from Bonaire just follow this link.

As always, thanks for following The Azul Ocean via WordPress, Twitter or Facebook.  However, if you would like to receive the FREE wallpaper or to receive photo of the month coupon codes you need to subscribe to The Azul Ocean monthly newsletter! For more frequent updates on our activities, follow us on Twitter and at our Facebook fan page.

Thanks,

Arthur Koch

The Azul Ocean Co-founder

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~ by Arthur Koch on December 13, 2010.

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