It seems everyone knows about hermit crabs. Where have I been? But they are a ready target for macro photography practice. I find a shell and turn it over. The crab senses his world is upside down and emerges to turn himself upright again. We do this dance over and over. I get ready aim and fire. I’ve learned some crabs are not bright red and photogenic. I’ve learned that some crabs are faster than others. They turn over quick and then it’s a trick to be ready with the camera in time. I’m getting better. I am using super macro now. I zoom up with the digital zoom. I thought you can’t do that. But it looks like I can. So I do. Naturally. Show me a rule I can bend and I’ll do it every time. I’m still not to the level where I can image just the eyes yet. I working on it.
I have a buddy who keeps showing me that there is a higher bar. You still have to be in the right place at the right moment.. But when that shot comes, I’ll be good to go. He’s been giving lots of folks lessons. He is the local guru of photography. His big rig Canon is quite impressive. It’s a massive housing and two flashes with double arms. The thing weighs about 25 lbs out of water. Underwater, it’s set to be neutrally buoyant. I have not taken a lesson. Cheap! But no.
When I learned to snow ski, I took a lesson. Exactly one. For four hours one morning. Mount Snow. Vermont. The instructor was busy hitting on all the girls for the four hours. I learned zip. I was married and did not need tips in meeting women. So the afternoon lesson was skipped and I learned to ski by putting on mileage. It worked. I can ski. I’m good enough to be at the bottom. In one piece. I may not look great coming down. But I sure have fun with my near escapes. How good? I’m good enough to ski down and video my kids as they go. Try looking at the slope thru a viewfinder as you go. Or to ski backwards as they come toward you. The real trick is that they would ski between and under my legs as they came by. The only caveat: “Do not under any circumstances, lift your head!” I got the video to prove it and it’s hilarious. Mileage baby.
I’m taking many many images and I keep practicing on these poor hermits. No, it’s not the same one. I got one good image. Quit? Lisa would not see the insanity. You know? Insanity – doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Me, I never claimed to be playing with a full deck.
Nice detail and nice background. Well, the detail in the coral helps the image. It’s why I took the image. So here’s the process. Did you want to know? No? Skip the rest and look at the fishie. First you swim by. You see the fish. You determine if it will stay put. Then you turn on the camera and the flash. Macro? Set up things by twirling the buttons and dials. Flash is done manually. There is no auto exposure. You set it up. And you set up the depth of field. And you make sure your background is uncluttered. And at high mag you are moving and so it’s exceedingly difficult to hold still while the current is pushing you up and down and to and fro. Meanwhile steady your hand and move in close whilst not scaring the poor fishie. He moves and your shot is toast. Still with me? Then you are indeed my friend. I imagine most folks would have given up on me way back. Ha! No paragraph. It makes it harder to skip ahead. Maybe you were reading along because you thought I might teach you something.
At the end of the day I like the detail in this white coral. I’d never post this image except the fishie got cooperative and stayed so that the two together make a good pair. You think this is easy? I now understand how to shoot a gun. You hold your breath and press the shutter slowly. Anything else and everything is moving and you don’t have much chance to hit a target or to get your image in focus. I’m getting quite good at holding my breath. No! That is the first rule of scuba. Breathe normally – in and out – and – out and in. But then again rules can be stretched without breaking. I’m holding in place. My lungs will be just fine. I will not pass out from lack of oxygen. And I got the shot!
In the movies the good guy shoots while falling out of a car and shoots three villians between the eyes in three shots. What you see here is a good shot. How it got here was a journey. Breathe in, breathe out.
Hey! A new trick. Multiple photos are place in a mosaic. Where have I been WordPress?
I know I talking macro photography like it’s a new discovery. And for me the fascination is in the learning. Technique is half the battle. Not that you might care too much, and besides, why do they call it macro? I think that micro would be a better way to describe something close up. You know, like micro-scope? Or microscopic slide. But nope, they call it macro photography. Which is, get in close, get very close. A zoom lens does not cut it. Underwater the more distance the more dust in your way to ruin the sharpness of your image. So I got the first part ok. The next trick is composition. Background matters. And the detail – oo la la! The fish has horns. Don’t ask. I’m just taking the picture. I got a profile. It’s what I could get. Right and left side. And his mouth is open and you see reflections off the lens of the eye. When you consider that the camera takes care of itself I feel fortunate to have the capability to utilize its potential. There is some skill involved. You have to know when to press the shutter. Otherwise it’s pretty simple.
So red, the background, it’s coral – you know – it’s why they call it the Red Sea. And my fish posed perfectly. And if he had not, the image would not have been nearly as striking. I am just getting beyond where I happy to just have a macro image. Now I can go for composition and background. Yay! I’m still not giving up my day job.
The chicken or the egg? Clownfish reproduce. Cool! They laid their eggs on the wall of coral beside their protector, the anemone. Mama, papa, they look the same to me. That’s a nice thing. Eggs need protection. We were a few days early. I showed you the embryos with eyes not too long ago. Now, I got a few really nice images close-up. The eggs in fact look pretty detailed. I have no complaint. It’s not easy to spot the eggs. And then the fish nip at you as you move in to take a picture. Alas, by the time we return in a week the eggs will have hatched. Not many will survive to maturity. I’d come back to photograph the developing eggs but I have a day job.
Look, I admit to being a certain age. And it’s beyond middle. Who lives to 100? That’s all I will say. I discovered I needed glasses when I was lost in Puerto Rico and tried but failed to read a map in a rental car’s interior dome light. That’s another story. But suffice to say when I visited my good buddy ophthalmologist he said, “You need glasses. Go to K Mart (yup, K Mart!!) and get a pair of 1.50 reading glasses.” Darn if that didn’t work for almost twenty years. I’m pretty lucky. My vision without glasses is good mostly. Dim light is bad for me. In the operating room, well, that’s different. I used strong headlight illumination – halogen then xenon. It worked till recently. Then I succumbed and got proper prescription glasses which I promptly crushed in my pocket. So now they are always on my head to avoid crush injury.
Back to my post… I dive with a guy who would be supernatural. He must have another sense. Maybe he sees infrared. But no, that won’t work in an ocean full of marine life. Who knows?! The son of a gun can spot things that mere mortals, even with good vision, cannot possibly see. This nudibranch is tiny. How small? Smaller that 1/16 inch. Who knows. It was so small that he took my close up lens and piggybacked it to his and then shot with +20 diopter. I hovered. It looked like dust, maybe a piece of stray debris. I mean I was looking now that he was all over the subject. Yeah. Really! And when I took my turn and got my shot, I could only see this in retrospect on the screen of my computer. Yes, it ain’t fair that some people can spot stuff I would have no ordinary hope of seeing. Hey! Look close, the rhinopores have striations. That’s really fine detail. Do I sound impressed? Well, I am unabashedly happy to have been there to get this shot.
I’m not using macro. And I’m not challenging. He’s not challenging either. The coral hind is a big chicken. Well, he’s a fish that would prefer to flee rather than confront. I trap them periodically under coral. Nowhere to retreat. Or he feels like I can’t pursue. Or, he thinks I can’t see him. Who knows? Anyway, I can occasionally get a good head on shot. Ok, done, been there, done it. Now I got teeth. I know sharks have teeth. So too does this brand of fish. They are not large. Do they fall out and are they replaced by new sharp teeth that will rip your guts out? Ah! And why don’t fish have eyebrows?
Yes I have shot this and enlarged the image to see the fish. And here I did the same. And when I enlarge you can see the spots and look in the guy’s mouth. Look close you can see antennae. And when I next use my macro lens and find one of these, I hope to get even greater detail. Why? ‘cause I can. It’s a nice image. I like the color pattern. I chose it out of the many because I am obsessed with the new lens that I will have and how that will change my technique. Learning new tricks is fun.
There is a guidebook I use for reference. It’s the only book I use. Hey, the books are expensive and take up space and I am a minimalist at the moment. No baggage – I might have to run. And a “go bag” is ready if ever I need it. All the fish in the Red Sea are not in it. But mostly they are there to look up and identify. But right on the cover that I have seen every time I pick up the book are the very same fish in this image. I am smiling now. I have at least matched the photographic performance of the authors of the book.
Hang dog look. You know. It’s like how a hound looks. Cartoonish. Look up with big puppy dog eyes. Cute. Are fish cute? Sometimes an image works because it does. You need exposure, focus, and background working with you. Lighting! Hum, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog…” while looking at this image. It helps, ‘cause that’s what I’m hummin’ right now.
Everyone stops to take a picture. I’ve seen him or his kin many a time. No big deal. So, a new day, a new angle, try something, work the scene. Ah! Close-up. It looks like a flap over his pupil.
Hmmm, now I got questions. Meanwhile how do fish wash themselves? It’s not like they have arms or soap to use. This guy looks like he could use some derm-abrasion. Oh, the opening behind the eye is the gill opening. At least that’s my story on that.