Stills V3

March 21, 2012

Clowning around

Filed under: Doonster — doonster @ 12:04

False Clown Fish, Anilao, Philippines, March 2012


  1. You will see plenty more underwater stuff from me as the majority of my photography at the moment is subaqua.

    Comment by doonster — March 21, 2012 @ 12:05

  2. Do you get the name of a fish like this from a book or is there a guide who leads you through it?

    I definitely get the impression that this is more than a nature snap. The waving tendrils of whatever provide a mildly surreal backdrop to the belisha beacon orange glow of the fish. It’s a very striking shot. This must be fun to do and quite a challenge technically I imagine.

    Comment by zavaell — March 22, 2012 @ 07:47

    • I learn most of the names from a couple of big books I have, although guides help (training to be one myself). I’m getting quite good at naming a large range of fish & underwater creatures.
      The tendrils are an anenome (I’m not so good on anenome species) in which the various anenome fish live (Clown Fish – think Nemo – & False Clown are anenome fish). Each species has a specific symbiotic relationship.

      Comment by doonster — March 22, 2012 @ 08:34

  3. The moment is so frozen in time I almost wondered whether false meant ‘a model of a’. The wonderfully mournful expression (anthropomorphising again) on the fish’s face and the catch in the moment of turnign towards you completes the impression beautifully. A very clever picture with a nice sense of humour, as well as a nature image. The anenome also is nicely rendered, slightly soft and looking as though it’s in motion, though the diagonals at the lower left frame may be slightly intrusive?

    This deos seem to be a formidable technical challenge and it would be good to know more aobut how you make these sub aqua pictures.

    Comment by sojournerphoto — March 26, 2012 @ 23:36

    • Some brief notes on taking sub aqua wildlife shots. There are 3 parts to it; diving skills, camera skills, wildlife skills. The latter 2 have things in common with dry land wildlife photography.
      For diving, I practice “no touch” photography – I don’t touch anything solid with any part of me. No kneeling, fins down, holding on. All perfectly neutrally buoyant (floating without moving). In a current, that takes some care and interesting finning technique to avoid drifting off. i practice my manoeuvring & buoyancy skills a lot to achieve this. I’ve also had to work on breathing technique, both to create fewer bubbles, which can hamper view-finding and to make a tank of air last longer.
      For the camera, it’s a bit tricky as it’s in housing with some fiddly control buttons. I use a Canon S95 with a pair of external mini strobes, fired by fibre optic from the in-built flash. Manual mode, fixed aperture and shutter. there is little time to fiddle with settings as time is limited both by air and current. Street shooting has helped a lot: f/8 and be there sort of attitude is really good for underwater.
      For the wildlife bit, especially the faster moving fish, you have to wait patiently for a few minutes for them to swim into pose. Learning their movements and behaviour helps – all with repeated observation. Much like any wildlife photography. Over-coming shutter lag is a challenge. Single shot: rapid fire isn’t fast enough on this camera, and the strobe batteries die quickly.

      Comment by doonster — March 27, 2012 @ 07:08

  4. That fish is almost luminous and has a great expression. The lighting has avoided the harsh shadows often linked to flash so it still looks natural..

    Comment by Rex — March 27, 2012 @ 19:44

  5. Thanks for that concise and very clear explanation Martin. It may be much like wildlife photography in needing to know the habitat and habits but I don’t think too many people would be able to marry the u/w bit with that!

    Comment by zavaell — March 29, 2012 @ 06:54

  6. Side and head on makes this more interesting for me. Add to that the lack of blue (or a Pixar colour palette) and I initially thought this was a model and not shot in the wild. Perhaps a few bubbles would have worked for me!

    Comment by akikana — April 2, 2012 @ 04:19

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