Macro photography captures the detail, pattern, and behaviors of the sea's smaller creatures.
- [Narrator 1] In this movie, we'll talk about exactly what we mean by macro underwater photography, which is ultimately about capturing the smaller side of things. Including strange creatures, amazing behaviors, and otherworldly patterns. And so what we mean by macro photography, is that we're capturing images with lenses that approach life size that is 1:1, or greater reproduction. We'll look at that in more detail in the future movie. But for now, we're just going to take a look at some amazing creatures.
- [Narrator 2] So, for most people, if you mention macro underwater, this is generally the first thing they think of. Is beautiful, a spinecheek anemonefish resting in it's anemone. And this definitely takes us into one of the greatest aspects of macro photography, and that's you start to meet all these strange creatures that you had never ordinarily even know exist. - [Narrator 1] And I should say, many of you might think of this as a clownfish. However, clownfish belong to a larger group of anemone fish, which presently includes 27 different varieties.
- [Narrator 2] So, here we have one of my personal favorite animals, and definitely one of the strangest creatures you're going to meet in the underwater macro world, and this is a painted frogfish. And this is actually a juvenile version of one. So, he's not more than an inch long, and he doesn't swim around. He walks around on the bottom, and if does want to swim, he actually sucks in water through his mouth, and blows it out, kind of a jet propulsion, through gill slits behind his legs. So, if you're not a diver, it's really hard to even conceive of an animal like this being on the planet.
- [Narrator 1] Now this a special kind of octopus that is really, truly known as a wonderpus. - [Narrator 2] And this is just one of several types of what they call benthic octopus. So octopus who spend their lives moving along the bottom and living actually in holes in the sand. These are really whimsical animals, and watching their behavior and photographing it is really one of the joys of underwater macro photography. So, here we have an animal that a lot of people consider a delicacy, and this is a broadclub cuttlefish. These are really intelligent, expressive animals.
And when you're photographing these animals, you know that they can tell that you're there, and it really becomes an intimate experience when you're photographing animals like this cuttlefish. - [Narrator 1] And you can imagine, it kind of ruins your appetite for octopus and cuttlefish in the future. - [Narrator 2] It better. (laughter) So here on the right, we have one of the smallest animals that you're going to encounter. And this is a pygmy seahorse. So that is actually a seahorse, but he's literally only less than an inch tall. And so they inhabit sea fans, and you can see that this pygmy is hiding inside the polyps of that sea fan.
- [Narrator 1] And in case you're having trouble focusing on him, his eye is just slightly to the left of the center of the image. - [Narrator 2] And again, this is one of those creatures you can't make these kinds of things up. - [Narrator 1] Now what I love about this image is at first, it looks like it's a photograph of these exotic leopard anemones, but in fact, the subject of the photograph is this leopard anemone shrimp that's hiding out in camouflage. - [Narrator 2] And this again, is one of the extremely intresting parts of macro underwater photography is finding and photographing these cryptic animals.
And believe it or not, they are still finding more of these all the time. So, this one was only found a couple years ago, and since then, there have been several other varieties found. Aside from the crazy critters, there's also lots of other things that we can photograph with our macro lenses underwater. For example, here on the left, this is an encrusting sponge. So, this is actually a type of animal that actually feeds by ingesting and expelling water and filtering out all those little microorganisms in the water. So, this again is maybe a photo of two square inches of this encrusting sponge with just stellar colors and patterns.
- [Narrator 1] So in addition to capturing entire animals, you can hone in on these otherworldly, underwater patterns as well. - [Narrator 2] Another great example is here on the right. These are hard coral polyps. So this close-up image really highlights the actual colors and details of these hard corals. - [Narrator 1] And it's the kind of stuff you might miss if you were just swimming by. - [Narrator 2] So, here's one more type of coral, and this is a disc coral. - [Narrator 1] So again, we're able to capture a different view of these animals by closing in on the texture and the actual real world colors.
- [Narrator 2] So this is an example of a special technique that we're going to talk about in another chapter, called fluorescence photography. We're actually eliciting a fluorescent response from these animals, with a special type of lighting, and then capturing the result. So this is a small crab, who covers himself with algae, and as a result, fluoresces when hit with this special kind of light. - [Narrator 1] And so this creature, by the way, is called an orangutan crab. And you might be able to make out a tiny little shrimp on his head. - [Narrator 2] One of the other interesting parts of macro photography is we can play with lots of different lighting techniques.
And the next two images were taken with one of my favorite creative lighting techniques that we're going to talk about in the special techniques chapter, and that's called snooting. In this case, we're cutting down the light to a very small area and really highlighting specific parts of the animals. So, here on the left, we've got a tiger shrimp, and then here on the right, we've got the closely-related harlequin shrimp. And you can see there's actually two. There's the one on the foreground, and the one resting just behind it in the background. So these images were not done in post-production. These images were shot this way with very precise light control.
- [Narrator 1] And as a result, Hergan is able to separate these animals against a jet black background. - [Narrator 2] And another technique that we can use to separate our animal is to use very creative lightning techniques. So again, this is another one of my favorite animals. You're going to hear me say that a lot. This is the hairy frog fish. So, just like the frog fish we saw earlier, this is a slightly different variety. And what really makes this guy special is all those hairy appendages that you can see flying off of his face. And we've actually lit this guy from below so he looks like something straight out of a horror movie.
But again, unless you get in the water and experience these things, you wouldn't believe that this is real. - [Narrator 1] And what I love about this is the hairy frog fish is one of those amazing undersea killers that eats flounders and all kinds of other fish. And this image really gives you a sense of what it's like to encounter a hairy frog fish, from the perspective of it's victim. - [Narrator 2] But as a photographer, we don't need to worry. This guy is only about six inches long. So another technique that we can use, and we're going to discuss later on in this course, is creatively using our depth of field to really focus on certain parts of our animal.
So, here we have a photo of a thorny seahorse. I'm sure most of you are familiar with seahorses, but this really brings our focus to those beautiful, articulated eyes. - [Narrator 1] And just so you can make sense of this image, we're viewing this seahorse straight on, with it's bulking body in the background. - [Narrator 2] And finally, one of my favorite images. This was captured by my partner, Kerry Bingham. And this is an animal called a sea hare. So these are very closely related to those slugs you're going to find in your garden, but I'm really sure you're not getting down in the dirt to photograph those.
Whereas, this guy's got a really expressive face, and with that creative use of shallow depth of field and awesome framing, as well as excellent light control, really makes this a stunning macro image. - [Narrator 1] And there you have a sense for the kind of macro images that you can achieve using the skills that we'll be imparting other the span of this and future chapters.
- What is macro?
- Macro etiquette
- In-camera histograms
- Lighting your underwater scenes
- Working with shadowless lighting
- Using snoots, backlighting, or lighting from below
- Controlling your depth of field
- Capturing details
- Setting up your Lightroom workspaces
- Advanced post processing