Image: Isabella Maffei’s “The Jetty”


Isabella Maffei has shared a fantastic shot of batfish under a jetty in Raja Ampat on our Facebook page. Here’s her description of how she got the shot:

*”I took this picture in Wai Island house reef, located in Raja Ampat. During a dive in a late afternoon of a winter’s cloudy day. A soft lighting slightly illumined the clear water, creating very soft shadows.

Under the old wooden jetty of Wai Island, a school of batfish used to stay regularly in the late afternoon. Maybe to rest before night hunting. The idea was to create a shot that enhanced the natural light illuminating the scene, faintly illuminating the liveliness and the golden band of bathfishes just enough to warm the image slightly. I didnʼt want to accentuate, in the final result the uninteresting backdrop and the encrustations, too much red that covered the stakes of the jetty.

For this shot I used a Nikon D700 for the size of the full frame sensor and its excellent performance at high ISO. The choice of the lens fell on of a Nikon 16mm f2.8 fisheye, which guaranteed a large depth of field with iris not too small, I wanted to make it slightly fading. The floor of the jetty made it interesting by the water moved by my bubbles. The fisheye lens was also the right lens to round the piles of the jetty, giving dynamism to the image. Exposing for the sky, the jetty would have been too dark, creating a black hole that would have unbalanced the structure of the image.

The choice of ISO 250 allowed me to illuminate the environment without the use of invasive artificial light. The great depth of field and short minimum focusing distance of 16 mm has allowed me to stay very close to the fish, so using the main flash (set to manual) leading to 3/4 of the power and the secondary as fill light to 1/4. The head of the flash were slightly oriented up to avoid illuminate the background a little colorful and interesting.

The manual white balance has allowed me to saturate the blue, dulling the strong dominant green water, I didnʼt fear a fall color on the fish due to the warm light of the DS161.

There was no direct sunlight to drastically vary the exposure with the movement of the fishes so it was enough to wait for the right moment. When the fish were in a willing pyramid, giving boost to the image, I pressed the shutter.”*

Equipment and settings: Nikon D700 , Nikon 16mm F2.8, Ikelite Housing, 2 X ikelite DS161

ISO 250 F8 1/160s