Approach

The physical means of moving into and getting closer to the subject.

Together with my course participants, I work hard to improve their understanding and ability to get close to subjects. I know how frustrating it is when without the help of the dive guide you spot a rare and exotic subject just posing for you, waiting to have its photo taken then for some unknown reason it's gone.

It could be a shrimp, a hawk fish or a small blenny on some whip coral. In fact, anything that could potentially disappear is relevant to the technique of 'Approach'.

You get closer, and closer, aim the camera, and 'pop' you have the subject on sensor — or do you?

The concept of 'Approach' as part of the TC System is at its most crucial between:

• Your eye spotting the subject, and

• Your brain making the decision to move closer and your finger pressing the shutter.

It's within this period of time that the decisions are made, which are crucial to achieving success. In fact what often happens is that the photographer spots the subject and, in the enthusiasm of the encounter, sometimes:

• Moves straight towards the subject, landing in a cloud of sand and creating backscatter.

• Approaches at the wrong angle then realises it is impossible to achieve a well composed image, or

• Gets to the subject before it's spooked, and now finds a need to alter the camera controls because they weren't set up for the shot before approaching.

With more adjustments, more movements and more chance of scatter, do you ever wonder why subjects swim away?

I recommend the following:

• Make all the adjustments you need but not too close to the subject.

When we observe a creature and decide to take a photo, before approaching it, remember to think approach:

Tips

• Look at surroundings; if you cannot approach without threatening the fragility of the reef, then don't try.

Don't take the shot! Back off and find another creature in a location in which you feel comfortable.

• Consider the angle of approach. From which direction does the subject look best?

• Backscatter and buoyancy control are fundamentally linked; they can ruin many opportunities.

• Consider the best angle of view.

• Set your aperture before moving in.

• Adjust your flashgun. Do you need to adjust your flash arms if you shoot it in a certain format?

• Ask yourself:'Does the shot lend itself to a landscape or a portrait composition?'

fig. 5.19 The first time I shot this great Barracuda on the Liberty wreck in Bali, I had no idea how tame and easy to approach it was. I set my flashgun into position and moved in slowly, pressing the shutter as I progressed from 2 m away to less than 20 cm. Nikon D200, 60 mm macro lens, one Inon flashgun (the other turned off to prevent excessive reflection) f5.6 at 1/60th sec, ISO 100.

fig. 5.19 The first time I shot this great Barracuda on the Liberty wreck in Bali, I had no idea how tame and easy to approach it was. I set my flashgun into position and moved in slowly, pressing the shutter as I progressed from 2 m away to less than 20 cm. Nikon D200, 60 mm macro lens, one Inon flashgun (the other turned off to prevent excessive reflection) f5.6 at 1/60th sec, ISO 100.

fig. 5.20 I spotted this Blue Spot Stingray in a cave on the Small Gota drop-off In the southern Red Sea. The cave had two entrances about 5 m apart. I Indicated to Sylvia the potential for an 'exploration shot'. Before I entered the other entrance I took a test shot out into the blue to determine a pleasant blue water colour and selected 1/30th sec with an aperture of f16. Once inside the second entrance and away from the ray I took a photo of plain sand to determine flash power, position and aperture. I knew I might only get one chance to move in before the ray swam off so my 'approach' preparation was to be 'all ready to go'. I then moved in on the subject, Sylvia took up position at the first entrance, and I was lucky to take a series of shots before the Ray moved on. Nikon 12—24 mm lens on the 12 mm end.

fig. 5.20 I spotted this Blue Spot Stingray in a cave on the Small Gota drop-off In the southern Red Sea. The cave had two entrances about 5 m apart. I Indicated to Sylvia the potential for an 'exploration shot'. Before I entered the other entrance I took a test shot out into the blue to determine a pleasant blue water colour and selected 1/30th sec with an aperture of f16. Once inside the second entrance and away from the ray I took a photo of plain sand to determine flash power, position and aperture. I knew I might only get one chance to move in before the ray swam off so my 'approach' preparation was to be 'all ready to go'. I then moved in on the subject, Sylvia took up position at the first entrance, and I was lucky to take a series of shots before the Ray moved on. Nikon 12—24 mm lens on the 12 mm end.

fig. 5.21 This screen print illustrates the progression of the idea at Fig. 5.20 above. Notice the three sand test shots and then 13 attempts with the ray, and the position of Sylvia in the background. Along the top row notice how I start shooting at a distance from the subject and continue pressing the shutter as I approach.

fig. 5.21 This screen print illustrates the progression of the idea at Fig. 5.20 above. Notice the three sand test shots and then 13 attempts with the ray, and the position of Sylvia in the background. Along the top row notice how I start shooting at a distance from the subject and continue pressing the shutter as I approach.

Make these decisions before you start your approach:

If you make your adjustments in close proximity to shy and timid creatures, you will spook them!

So what you must try and do is approach slowly, carefully and methodically.

Your adjustments will be minimal, and you will have a greater chance of getting close.

It is the movements and handling of the camera that cause the majority of approach problems.

Don't just swim straight in regardless; give it some thought beforehand.

Digital Photography Mastery

Digital Photography Mastery

Insider Secrets Revealed By the Pro Showing You How to Become a Professional Photographer! Discover The Secret Tips & Techniques On How To Be A Professional Photographer, Start Producing High Quality Pictures and Skyrocket Your Photography Business Income Revenue To The Roof TODAY! You're About to Discover the Powerful Strategies and Method to Start Taking Sharp, Clear and High Quality Pictures Like the Professional Photographer Without Paying a Single Penny to the Expert!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment