Acropora Coral Garden

08-Jun-2011 Back to Image Gallery

Acropora Coral Garden

This image was captured on one of our Dive 2000 photo trips to Bali. Menjangan Island in the far north of Bali has fantastic shallow coral gardens in just 2–5m of sheltered water, perfect for wide angle images captured with just sunlight. Although I have photographed Acropora coral gardens before on this occasion my goal was to capture an image that would have impact in black & white. In the old days of film photography I would have been one of the few underwater photographers that shot black & white from time to time. Although I confess, it was not often as like most photographers, it was just too compelling to pursue the seductive quality of colourful subjects. Black & White is really a colour palette of many shades of blacks, greys and whites so this genre has the potential to create a timeless image that captures light & shadow. The challenge for the B & W photographer is to master the trick of the sun, `light and shadow’.

Photo Data: Location: Menjangan Island Bali. Genre: Black & White Wide Angle Sunlight. Photo Data: Nikon D200, 10.5mm lens, Seacam Silver Housing, ISO 100, Manual Exposure Mode. Sunlight Exposure f4.5 @ 1/160 sec. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: These images can be captured equally well with either a DSLR or Compact camera, as long as you have a wide angle lens with a field of view 100 degrees or better. You really want a cloudless day and work with the sunlight at angles to corals that will produce light and shadow. This is best accomplished by ensuring the sun is not directly behind you as in traditional sunlight colour photography. Try to shoot sideways to the prevailing light and experiment with these angles. Unlike the old film days, you will be capturing the images in colour so you have the best of both worlds. Once your image is in your computer you have the luxury or using your software to convert the image. My preferred software is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Every photographer should investigate this software. In Lightroom, using the vibrance slider, you can convert the image to Black & White. Use of the black slider can enhance the image. Now the magic of black and white will appear, but only if you shot it right!

Interesting Facts: Scientific name. Acropora sp. Acropora corals are the most prolific of the fast growing hard corals on shallow reef flats, they build the many forms familiar to all divers and snorkelers such as table and plate corals, stag horn corals, and a huge variety of branching corals. They are the favourite food for the Crown of Thorns sea star and the most prolific spawning coral during mass coral spawning events. Corals are not plants, they are reef building animals that feed on plankton life killed and captured using stinging tentacles as do Anemones and Sea Jellies.

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