Wednesday, June 24, 2009

#14: Underwater Fiji--Discovering small details

Guest Post by Keith Ellenbogen, Parsons School of Design

From nudibranchs to crabs to fish, the underwater world of Fiji is renowned for all manner of small creatures that defy imagination with their exotic shapes and colors. They are often lost to the eye in the riot of visual activity of the South Pacific coral reef. Macro photography allows the underwater photographer to focus on small animals, making their beautiful subtle details as noticeable to human observers as the similar easily-seen attributes of larger animals.

Reef Crab, Paraetisus sp.

Spotted Shrimpgoby, Ambiyeleotris guttata

A great example-
When photographing the Spotted Shrimpgoby Amblyeleotris guttata head on, the animal appears to be aggressively staring right at me. However, in reality, its eyes point sideways and the 'front facing pigmented eyes' are a disguise, illusion or impression to scare away unwanted predators. As a diver you might not notice this unless you are able to get very close; a tough thing to do because the fish retreats into its burrow when feeling threatened.

Nudibranch Chromodoris Iochi

Longnose Hawkfish, Oxycirrhites typus

Underwater, when looking at many fishes the coloration of their bodies at a distance appears to be one solid color. However, upon closer inspection, I've often noticed that colors may be a blend of many tones or hues. Case in point--the coloration of the Longnose Hawkfish Oxycirrhites typus, with its red bands around the nose and eye include a blending yellow and orange and even a little accent of green. From a distance, a diver has the impression of one red solid color; as can be seen in this photo, hardly the case!

I find the art of macro photography inspiring as it opens a window into the complexity of an animal's composition that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

For macro photography I use a Nikon D200,Nikor 60mm or 105mm lens, Sea&Sea underwater housing and YS-250 Strobes.

-Keith Ellenbogen, Parsons School of Design