Wide Angle Macro

What is it?

Using fisheye lenses in combination with teleconverters to create macro photographs with a wide angle perspective.

To my knowledge this was first pioneered above the water by the renowned nature photographer Frans Lanting, however quite recently it has gained in popularity and Alex Mustard has brought it to the fore underwater. Mustard was looking for a technique which could provide a bona fide macro detailed view of a subject in the foreground, with the background clearly communicating the environment it is living in.

I have very limited experience with this technique so at this juncture, and before I discuss my own efforts below, I suggest you visit these links for further information on how best to get started:

• Underwater Photography web magazine, page 24, by Alex Mustard. This can be downloaded free of charge at www.uwpmag.com

http://wetpixel.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t28556.html This particular wetpixel thread has many photographic examples and discusses equipment requirements, particularly in relation to which wide angle dome ports to use.

http://www.divephotoguide.com/articles/a_fish_eye_for_critters_in_the_ lembeh_strait Article by Andrea and Antonella Ferrari.

For the price of a teleconverter, this rediscovered and innovative technique is great fun, especially if you are an experienced shooter looking for new ideas. I don't believe it will take the place of true wide angle but it's a very worthwhile tool in your proverbial box of tricks.

FIG. 9.64 (Opposite page)

I was astonished the first time I tried wide angle macro. I used a fixed lens — the Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye with a 1.5 x Kenko teleconverter — and not being in possession of a small fisheye dome (which are recommended) I had to use my existing Subal larger fisheye dome. I was able to achieve sharp focus on the dome port itself, which made every small critter I could find a potential subject. The Clown fish here is only a couple of cm from my port, as is the harlequin shrimp on the fire urchin in Fig. 9.63.

I experiment with flash angles all the time so when I came to play with wide angle macro I immediately opted for my 'inward light' flash angles (see Chapter 6 'All About Lighting'), which entails pointing my flash back towards my housing so I use the very edge of the flash beam. My problem (which is still ongoing) is a soft focus effect in the middle of the frame. At the time of writing I'm yet to ascertain why this is. It may be dome optics or it could have been a little condensation on the inside of my dome when I last used it for this purpose. This figure was taken with a Nikon D300, lens configuration as above, on f 11 at 1/90th sec, ISO 200. Fig. 9.63 was the same set up on f 11 at 1/20th sec with two Inon Z220 flashguns.

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