Word About Your Flash Position

Be aware that if you choose to position your flashgun in front of your housing and out past your port, towards the creature, then you run the risk of it being spooked — not by your presence or your housing but by the intrusion of your flashgun into its comfort zone!

The fish swims away, you become frustrated and you blame your powers of stealth, when all the time it was simply the close proximity of your flashgun to the subject.

If you are approaching a shy bottom-dwelling subject:

• Set your flash, exposure and camera orientation.

• Simulate the opportunity by shooting a test shot along the sand to determine whether your flashguns are placed correctly.

• Do this a distance away from the subject — it will only take a moment.

• When you then move in on the real thing, you can be confident that your camera/ lighting techniques are sound.

When you take a shot, there is an overwhelming desire to view the LCD after every frame: human nature, probably, but believe in yourself — it can become a habit.

You know exactly how the shot will look, BUTcuriosity gets the better and you take a peek. I have often seen the camera being lifted from the eye and moved forward a foot or so to take a comfortable look at the LCD. The action of moving the camera in this manner and the direction of movement is thrusting the camera rig directly in the face of the subject. I see so many subjects spooked by this action!

I still forget and do it now, even though I know I am pushing my housing towards the creature I'm trying so hard not to disturb. If like me you are prone to this then affix a sticker to the back of your housing with a prompt you will remember. Also, notice your buddy will do the same thing. The LCD review is like a magnet to our eye. I know I encourage constant review but spooky subjects are not the time and the place.

You will find that when the action is fast, every other seven to 10 shots for review may suffice and satisfy your curiosity. I fully appreciate this is a very subjective observation, and whilst I do not intend to be prescriptive, it may just give you the edge the next time you are shooting a skittish subject.

• Set up your lighting and your composition, and

• If the action is occurring, keep your eye on the viewfinder.

• Trust your trigger finger and resist the temptation to review the LCD after every single shot.

fig. 5.22 By Leena Roy. Leena has considered her approach before moving in to shoot this wobbegong shark and approached it from a photogenic angle. 1/250thsec at 18, Canon Ixus 980, an Epoque ES-230DS flashgun, UFL 65AD Inon wide angle lens.

fig. 5.22 By Leena Roy. Leena has considered her approach before moving in to shoot this wobbegong shark and approached it from a photogenic angle. 1/250thsec at 18, Canon Ixus 980, an Epoque ES-230DS flashgun, UFL 65AD Inon wide angle lens.

fig. 5.23 Hawkfish are plentiful in the Red Sea and make colourful images but they are very skittish and frustrate the most patient photographer. My tip is to consider your approach. Position your flashgun before you move in and keep your eye on the subject. Resist the temptation to review your LCD as any sudden movement will spook them. For every 20 that I approach, I may get this close once or twice. I doubt that I would have been able to compose this tightly using a 60 mm macro lens.

Nikon D200, Nikon 105 mm macro lens, one flash Inon flashgun (the other turned to off). F16 at 1/30th sec shutter, ISO 200. I choose 1/30th to record the blue water background as blue as opposed to dark blue or black.

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