Abstract Macro Photography

One of the more unique looking photos you can take are of fairly common subjects but shot in an abstract way.  A simple way to do this is with a macro lens and using your “artsy” eye to see outside of the box.  In this photo of a wrasse in Bali I go right up close and personal and only focused on its pectoral fin rather than shooting the entire fish.  This style of photograph works extremely well with varied colored tropical fish which have interesting and unique designs.  Try out shooting abstract photos the next time you are shooting macro.

 

Fish abstract photo

Wild Oceans

One of the recent collaboration I have become involved in is creating short 3-5 minute narrated clips for an online media company called Earth Touch News which specializes in wildlife and nature programming. The segments I am contributing go to a series they call “Wild Oceans” which is a collection of shorts which comprise of single dives on a single dive site.  So far I have uploaded videos about Citrus Ridge in Raja Ampat, Manta Alley in Komodo, and most recently Andiamo in Daram, Raja Ampat.  The gist of the video is to have the cameraman narrate what he sees over a dive so that the viewer has an idea of what he/she is seeing throughout the world.  It’s like having a back stage pass to all the world’s premiere dive sites in one handy location!

Here is my latest video on Andiamo

Off to Komodo Tomorrow!

It has been ages since I have been there but finally off to Komodo again tomorrow, can’t wait.  I will be there for 7-10 days and it promises to be a great trip with lots of diving, snorkeling, walks, and of course Dragons!  Hoping to capture some great images as well as video and of course will upload some when I get back.

Komodo

 

Manta Rays Mating Frenzy Video

This is probably the single most frustrating clip I have ever shot when I look back at it.  IE: I screwed it up big time!  Not only had I scratched the port of my video camera two days prior, I also got greedy and tried to take still photos with my right hand on one camera while recording video with this video camera in my left!  Wouldn’t you know it, neither the stills nor the video came out all that great which is a darn shame as it could have been amazing footage of 30 or more Manta Rays mating in a frenzy right in front of me!  Mi’il Channel, Yap, Micronesia

 

Photo of the Day – Butterfly Fish

Here is a shot from one of my favourite locations on the planet, Rangiroa in French Polynesia!  This group of Pacific Double Saddled butterfly fish were always present at a dive site inside the lagoon called “Aquarium” and they had no fear of divers whatsoever (obviously due to the fact that snorkelers fed them bread and rice!)  You could always count on a lot of fish when diving at this site, hence the name “Aquarium”!

Schooling Butterflyfish

Grey Reef and Diver – Story Behind the Shot

Grey reef shark

Meet Seb, he is the French diveguide that I used to work with back in French Polynesia 10 years ago or so.  Seb lived on the island of Rangiroa and joined the Tahiti Aggressor when I worked on that boat from 2002 to 2004.  Seb was a special kind of person, he loved sharks and loved feeding them even more!  No mesh glove, no special equipment, no fear!  It was always a great adventure diving with Seb as you could always find a stray tuna head in his BCD, the photo opportunities for shark shots was always incredible.   On this particular dive Seb was feeding sharks at the bottom and I positioned myself right beside him in order to get some great photos.  This particular grey reef shark came in for a quick pass to see what was in store and I was able to take the shot as it shot between Seb and I.

Tuamotu Island Group, French Polynesia, Settings unrecorded, Nikonos V and Provia 100 film, 15mm lens, Sea and Sea YS 120 Strobes

Manta Rays Feeding – Story Behind the Shot

Manta Rays Feeding

This photo is one of a series of photos from one of the best manta interactions I have had in the last 10 years.  It was the 27th of Dec 2013 and I was in the Raja Ampat region of Indonesia at a site called Manta Sandy.  The group of people that I was with were a large family of snorkelers who were super excited at the chance of encountering a few mantas if they were lucky (little were they to know!).  We all jumped in close to the “cleaning station” at this famous dive site and drifted along the coral reef while interacting with a group of 5 or 6 mantas that were actively swimming only a few metres away from us.  The water was full of small jellies and other planktonic goodness that the mantas were feeding on and they didn’t seem to mind our attention at all.  After being in the water for around 30 minutes, and encountering at least 10 different mantas, the group tired of the swimming and decided to jump back on the chase boat for a few cool beverages while talking excitedly about the great manta action they had just witnessed.  While the family basked in the sun, myself and the resident dive ops manager of the boat, Alex, kept a sharp eye out on the water surface to see if we could see any further manta activity.  Sure enough, as the boat drifted across the channel from the manta cleaning station, we could spot plenty of manta wing tips breaking the surface.  After a few minutes of watching the manta activity from a little ways away, and noticing that the guests were not in any hurry to head back to the mother ship, Alex and I asked if we could jump in the water again to “investigate” the mantas that we could see in the distance (Being the photographer that I am I of course brought my camera as well).  Within seconds of jumping off the boat we were surrounded by what must have been a minimum of 30 mantas rays feeding at or near the surface scooping up the rich plankton and jellies in the water.  Of course we immediately told everyone on the boat to jump back in the water and everyone had the most incredible experience of being surrounded by these magnificent creatures in a once in a lifetime opportunity!  I won’t forget that snorkel anytime soon  and every time I head back to Raja in December I am constantly looking to repeat it!

Nikon D7000 in Aquatica Housing, 10.5mm lens, f8, 1/250, ISO 400, natural light

Floatogear Float

Lanyard from Floatogear

Recently I was sent a Floatogear wrist lanyard to try out with my photo gear to see what my opinion is about this new product.  Thankfully I received the lanyards 2 days before heading out on a big trip to Ambon and Raja Ampat for a couple of Underwater Tribe photo workshops and I thought they would come in quite handy.  The first thing I noticed about these lanyards were that they were quite “thick” and should be able to help keep smaller items afloat. The other thing I noticed was the BRIGHT yellow colouration of the lanyard which of course was designed to stand out underwater or at the surface.  Now I must admit I am not really a big fan of lanyards, I don’t use them to attach my camera to myself, never have.  The reason for this is that with a big bulky DSLR housing I am constantly switching hands with it, holding it in different ways, manipulating the strobe arms etc.  therefore, a lanyard would just get in the way.  However, obviously the Floatogear lanyard was not designed for an SLR housing anyway but rather for smaller cameras and other accessories instead, for this function I felt I did have a few uses for the lanyard.    First stop on the trip was a photo workshop in Ambon at Maluku Divers Resort, on this course I would be always carrying a dive light with me in order to help the students backlight or focus on their subjects, this was the first tool that I decided to try it out on.  I was very happy with the quick release lanyard solution included with the Floatogear lanyard, it allowed a quick loop on to the light without having to make any weird knots or anything.  Once I hit the water the first thing I tried was to see if the “float” would be strong enough to lift the light, although not a large light, the float did not lift it from the bottom.  However, to me this was actually a blessing, as I wouldn’t want something I put on the bottom to float to the surface anyway and that is not what they are meant for anyway!  But the lanyard did fit very snugly on my wrist without having to tighten or loosen it and it did give me a feeling of confidence that the light wouldn’t drop off my wrist.

The next item that I attached the lanyard to was my pokie stick and this proved to be where it stayed for the rest of the week.  Although the lanyard was capable of floating the stick to the surface (I didn’t want that to happen obviously) it was not for that reason that I was using it.  What I was using it for instead ended up being the visuals of it.  When I am muck/critter diving with photography students I can often find a subject that I want my student to shoot but that student is currently busy shooting something else.  When that happens I will often stick my stick into the sand to mark the location and then I swim away to work with the student on something else.  However, sometimes it takes me a few minutes to find that stick once I start looking for it again!  Once I attached the Floatogear lanyard to the stick I didn’t have that issue anymore, the bright yellow material stood out from a mile away and I was always able to find my stick and subject very quickly after that.

Although not really made for a diver with a DSLR,  I think these lanyards are well suited for are folks who are using smaller cameras and accessories in a marine environment such as paddle boarders, kayakers, swimmers, and snorkelers.  These robust lanyards are secure and can “float” compact cameras and GoPros without an issue and give good piece of mind to people using cameras in or near the water.  I am happy with mine and will definitely be using it again in the future, especially when shooting with my GoPro at the surface.

As Floatogear is a new product they are also announcing a 30% discount when purchasing it on Amazon at the following link: Floatogear Amazon page and enter MVeitch1 as the discount code.  If you are someone who uses equipment around water quite often then this is a great deal!