Seahorse in Soft Coral

23-Mar-2011 Back to Image Gallery

Seahorse in Soft Coral

My quest as an underwater photographer is to capture marine life in an artistic style. I will often ignore an interesting subject if the background is bland or the pose is unappealing! Consequently my favourite temperate water underwater studio is Nelson Bay at dive sites like Fly Point or Pipeline that provide colourful settings of soft corals, sponges and bryozoans among which my subjects can perform! Once there I will invest time looking for the more spectacular species, often bypassing dozens of subjects that might distract the average photographer. Once I find something that excites my photographic eye, I will invest the rest of my bottom time shooting dozens of images and working all the angles to produce one picture with real impact, what we call the `WOW’ factor! I knew that Sea Horses occasionally occurred in bright yellow and Nelson Bay soft corals are a favourite habitat. I searched dozens of soft corals, ignored many plain seahorses until my hunting endeavours paid off!

Photo Data: Location: Pipeline, Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia. Genre: Macro. Photo Data: Nikon D200, Nikkor 60 MM lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes, Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 100 Exposure f32 @ 1/60th second. Image by Kevin Deacon

Photo Hints: The right angle for good macro images often requires the camera to be very close or actually resting on the seafloor. This can be awkward for the photographer but getting down on the animals level is often essential for a good image. Photographers shooting macro often frame the subject very tight in the centre of the frame. While this can be acceptable if the background is dull, it is not the best composition for this picture. Note my use of the `rule of thirds’ to provide a better composition when the background is also an important element of the image. Also please take care not to damage the environment.

Interesting Facts: This species is the Big-belly seahorse, Hippocampus abdominalis. Hippocampus is from the Greek words hippos meaning horse and campus meaning sea-monster. The word Hippocampus was used by ancient Greek poets as the name of a mythical creature on which sea gods rode. Male seahorses provide the most extreme example of paternal care yet known, for only the male becomes pregnant and gives birth to more than 300 babies. Seahorses are an endangered species as millions are consumed yearly in traditional Asian medicinal trade.

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