Start Looking

• Look for an overhang or reef wall where it starts to drop away. You have a good chance of placing two fingers on a non-living part of the reef, holding steady and approaching a subject from below or at eye level. From this angle, you have a great opportunity to eliminate a cluttered background.

• Shoot a bottom dweller whilst it is resting on plain sand instead of rocks and boulders. It's easier for you and will make a better picture.

• A great tip from the late great Jim Church is to shoot the strongest features of a dive site. A dive site may have a particular feature that is prominent to that particular location.

• Ascertain the strongest features from other photographers and locals before you even enter the water. Because the feature is common to that dive site, you will have a far greater chance of finding an opportunity that is situated in the ideal place to make an excellent photograph.

fig. 5.5 Just off the Kona coast of Hawaii, manta rays are 90% guaranteed to appear just before dusk at shallow dive sites close to shore. In these circumstances the potential is plainly obvious.

Nikon D200 with Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens, One Sea & Sea 120ys flash, f5.6 at 1/8 ISO 400.

(one eight sec)

fig. 5.5 Just off the Kona coast of Hawaii, manta rays are 90% guaranteed to appear just before dusk at shallow dive sites close to shore. In these circumstances the potential is plainly obvious.

Nikon D200 with Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens, One Sea & Sea 120ys

(one eight sec)

fig. 5.6 At Loloata Island, PNG, on the wreck of the New Marine, two fan corals hosted at least five longnosed Hawkfish, which were forever present throughout our 10 day workshop. They were quite approachable and allowed us to fill the frame using a 60mm macro lens. It was the deep green colour of the coral branch background, which contrasted with their vivid red colour that most impressed me about this opportunity and I shot at least 50 frames to ensure I achieved several which pleased me.

Nikon D300,60 mm macro lens, one Inon Z220 flashgun (the other I turned off) f4.8 at 1/250th sec, ISO 200. I selected a wide aperture of f4.8 in order to blur the background to emphasise the fish. More about blur/bokeh in Chapter 8 on 'Close-Up and Macro'.

fig. 5.6 At Loloata Island, PNG, on the wreck of the New Marine, two fan corals hosted at least five longnosed Hawkfish, which were forever present throughout our 10 day workshop. They were quite approachable and allowed us to fill the frame using a 60mm macro lens. It was the deep green colour of the coral branch background, which contrasted with their vivid red colour that most impressed me about this opportunity and I shot at least 50 frames to ensure I achieved several which pleased me.

Nikon D300,60 mm macro lens, one Inon Z220 flashgun (the other I turned off) f4.8 at 1/250th sec, ISO 200. I selected a wide aperture of f4.8 in order to blur the background to emphasise the fish. More about blur/bokeh in Chapter 8 on 'Close-Up and Macro'.

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