Scorpionfish & Cherie

02-Aug-2011 Back to Image Gallery

Scorpionfish & Cherie

This image is unlike anything other underwater photographers are producing at the moment, (but you can bet they will now!). It is created using a new genre I call Wide Angle Macro & Model. It demands the use of a macro focus wide angle lens, dual strobes, perfect balance of strobe and sunlight exposure, very small aperture settings for maximum depth of field in order to have both subjects in focus, a very capable model, very slow shutter speeds to expose the background sunlight and a very capable photographer. Such a combination would often be considered impossible by many. Vital to such an image is a cooperative subject that remains still in an attractive setting and Fly Point at Nelson Bay is my favourite UWP studio for such opportunities. These scorpionfish often sit in giant sponges and tolerate a very close approach. Cherie must also get very close and not disturb the animal. She must also remain very still as the slightest movement would cause image blur at the very slow (One third of a second) shutter speeds I use for such images.

Photo Data: Location: Fly Point, Nelson Bay, NSW. Australia Genre: Wide Angle Macro & Model. Photo Data: Nikon D200, 10.5mm lens + 1.4 Tele-converter, Seacam Silver Housing, ISO 100, Manual Exposure Mode. Sunlight & Dual Strobe Exposure F16 @ 1/3sec. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: In order to expose the sunlit background sufficiently when using an aperture setting like F16 for maximum depth of field, one must be willing to work with very slow shutter speeds so you must be very still and trigger the shutter carefully while not moving at all until the shutter closes. Dual strobes are needed so you can strobe light both subjects independently. The strobe aimed at Cherie has the power level switched up to a higher setting than the strobe aimed at the scorpionfish. This ensures an even exposure of all subjects. (My god I am generous with all my hard earned expertise!)Cherie has much experience as a model, a term that hardly does justice to the role! She knows how to manage the marine life and play her part as a subject, how to position her body, how to cheat her mask upwards to catch the strobe light on her face, and most important, how to smile underwater. If you are lucky enought to have a dive buddy this interested in making successful underwater images, take the time to coach them and involve them in all aspect of the process, especially the editing. However I must admit to getting quite frustrated when Cherie wants to discard an otherwise perfect underwater image because her hair is out of place!

Interesting Facts: Scientific name. Scorpaenodes cardinalis. The Eastern Red Scorpionfish, also called Red Rockcod, is common around NSW reefs. Like all scorpionfish, including a relative, the Stonefish, the spines are quite venomous. Marine Biologist, David Harasti, has been researching the seahorse population at Nelson Bay habitats. He believes that the lack of seahorses at Fly Point is due to the large numbers of scorpionfish at this site. Seahorses are part of the scorpionfish diet. And, excessive demands on underwater models has been known to cause divorce!

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