Leaf Scorpionfish

15-Dec-2012 Back to Image Gallery

Leaf Scorpionfish

Any fish that sits still is always popular with underwater photographers. The Leaf Scorpionfish is just perfect as it will remain almost motionless as long as it's not disturbed and it would be easy to just take a picture or two before moving on in the belief that a good image has been captured. A great image however, will not have been captured if you overlook some key characteristics of this fish. They occur in a variety of colours so you should try to find a pretty one. Otherwise when you proudly show your plain brown Leaf Scorpionfish picture your image could be overshadowed by a competitor’s bright pink one! There are other points to note about acquiring a great image of this fish so I suggest you read the hints below.

Photo Data: Location: Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Genre: Macro. Photo Data: Nikon D200, Nikkor 60mm lens, Seacam Housing, Dual Seacam Strobes, and Manual Exposure Mode. ISO 100 Exposure f36 @ 1/125th sec. Image by Kevin Deacon.

Photo Hints: Take the time to watch the behaviour of this fish, it will actually rock back and forth like a leaf in motion. It will also raise and lower its dorsal fin so you should try to capture the moment when the fish leans over and presents the best angle and simultaneously raises its dorsal fin. Your overall composition can also be improved by twisting the camera from the landscape position so that the fish is framed diagonally in the picture. I use this simple trick a great deal to create a more powerful image and since no horizon is apparent, no one knows what I got up too! Equipment Comments: Photographers shooting with compact cameras are often frustrated that the camera is slow to trigger and the perfect moment is missed. Since most of the delay is caused by the camera auto focusing when the shutter button is depressed, it is possible to pre focus by half depressing the shutter button which pre-selects the focus, hold the shutter button in this position until the perfect moment, then once trigged the shutter will respond much faster. It takes some practise but it is the only solution other than buying a DSLR camera as these have much faster auto focus capabilities. I suggest you practise this technique above water with the camera in the housing so you become accustomed to the feel of the shutter button and the timing.

Interesting Facts: The Leaf Scorpionfish is also known as Paperfish. Scientific name: Taenianotus triacanthus and it is small at just 10 cm long. Their colour variations include white, lemon, yellow, green, brown and pink. They are easily overlooked sitting motionless among the coral or swaying back and forth like just another dead leaf in the surge on the seafloor. In fact I didn’t even know they existed until my friend Bob Halstead pointed one out for me in Papua New Guinea.

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