Underwater Photography – Location and Equipment
The underwater photography image of Cratena peregrina was shot just inside the Xlendi Tunnel on the left hand side of the cavern in mid June. I used a 60mm Macro lens on a housed Nikon D2x with one strobe placed high and central above the nudibranch.
Underwater Photography Technique:
The nudibranch is feeding on a patch of hydroids that grow on a limestone ridge. I choose to shoot from below the ridge upwards to isolate the nudibranch from the hydroid forest behind it, and to use the black negative space to show off the animal’s colours. Using black negative space is an often used technique in underwater photography and results from the flash exposure being brighter than the ambient light surrounding the subject. This was further enhanced by choosing a subject that was positioned with the darkness of the tunnel behind it rather than some of the other specimens which were framed by the brighter tunnel mouth.
Using a small aperture (f16) and increasing the camera to its maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 second ensured that the nudibranch was only lit by the flash and not the ambient light in this style of underwater photography.
While the black background works very well to bring out the colours in this nudibranch, using this technique for all your macro underwater photography soon leads to a very predictable look for your images. If you get the chance, do not forget to try some macro shots balanced for the ambient light. Just open up the aperture (f5.6 or f8), slow the shutter speed to around 1/30 or 1/60 second, and turn down the power of the flash gun. You need to watch for subject movement, but if there is no wave action or current, then you should be ok with most invertebrate species.
The image was further enhanced by cropping, clearing some stray backscatter, and adjusting exposure, vibrance, and clarity in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
Taxonomy: and more details on the Encyclopedia of Life website
A wider range of Underwater Photography images from Gozo are held on my stock photography website.
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