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False Percula Clownfish, Wakatobi


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#1 echeng

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 08:15 AM

I'll start off in this forum, since no one is biting yet. Please read the rules before participating. ;)

Posted Image

- Subject Description:
False percula clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in an anemone

- Location
Wakatobi Resort, Sulawesi

- Equipment Used
Canon 1Ds, 100/2.8 USM Macro, Dual INON Z-220 Strobes

- Post Processing Description (optional)
Minor color correction and sharpening. Need to do backscatter removal.

I know that clownfish shots are really common; why is it, then, that I can't *not* shoot one when I see one? I like this image a lot -- it's my best clownfish photo -- but somehow it seems like it doesn't stand out from the rest of the nice clownfish shots out there. How do we get more interesting shots out of this subject matter?
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#2 tshepherd

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 08:32 AM

I love clownfish and their variations as well, and suffer the same problem Eric.

I think in this case, the lighting might be causing the image to look a little flat. The anemone makes this particular shot tough to light other than straight on, but maybe side-lighting would help? This might also be a good time to try turning off one strobe, because some shadowing might help.

#3 scubamarli

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 09:04 AM

My feeling is that the fish face looks hot: perhaps some increased saturation in that area would help. As well, the centred placement of the fish creates a very static balance. If the face was at an angle, or shot from an angle, more tension and interest would result. If you side light the shot, you may end up with shadows from the tentacles across the subject. Perhaps a diffuser on the strobe would accomplish a softer lighting effect.
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#4 Simon K.

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 10:57 AM

I'm sorry to start in this forum with a post a little off topic:

But could you post a 100% crop of the area attached.
It looks to me like a tiny anemon shrimp and I'm curious if I'm right.

There are two minor things I see that could be better:

There is a strange reflection on the lower right part of the left eye of the fish that maybe can be removed

Also the large "grey" area in the lower right corner without any tentacle heads is distracting.

I would also try to get less flattness with a littey bit contrast and maybe darken it

Anyway it is a great picture. Especially the unflawed white of the stripes is great.

Simon

#5 Simon K.

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Posted 20 February 2004 - 11:00 AM

I played around a bit

- removed reflection in eye and some "stuff"
- +10 contrast -15 Brightness
- + a lot saturation and - a little bit of lightness in the nose area (what scubamarli suggested)

Her is the result (Eric i loaded it up, so delete it if you don't want the played around image online)

#6 Lionfish43

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 09:29 AM

Eric,
I think this shot really stands out from the typical clownfish shots that one sees. A very fresh image - I like the way the tentacles frame the fish's face. My only criticisms would be that I think the exposure is a just teenie bit hot and I don't think that the image is quite wire tack sharpe.
I don't like Simon's version at all. Look's way fake.

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#7 mexwell

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 10:15 AM

@eric
I guess there are only few "wow"-clown fish shoots because the Clowns are easy to find and everybody tried it at least one hundred times... What I love about your shot are the theeth of the fish. I never saw that on any other pic. The face might be a bit overexposed but over all its a very good clownie.
Best regards

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#8 fullmonte

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 03:25 PM

Hi Eric,

I think this image would be better as a vertical. Some of the tentacles on the sides will not be looked at by the casual viewer because of the clownfish being so bright. Also, a vertical might not have cut off the body of the fish, which, even if out of focus, bothers me a bit. The exposure could be pulled back a bit to get a better saturation of the orange. (Maybe it's my new monitor!)

#9 Reefwreck

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Posted 21 February 2004 - 04:51 PM

Well, I certainly don't have as much knowledge and experience as most of the others here, but I nevertheless feel compelled to post.

First, other than the backscatter, which you mentioned, I think it is probably THE best Clownfish image I have seen.

The whites are very clear and not blownout. I really like the mix of colours which make the fish stand out in the anemone.

The position of the fish and the expression are superb.

I will agree that the face is a tiny bit overexposed.

I also like the slight reflection on the eye, which I feel usually adds another positive dimension to the eye, leaving them looking less flat.

With all due respect, I too do not prefer Simon's attempt - especially the orange "teeth".
Cheers.
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#10 Kasey

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 01:11 PM

Hi Eric,

I think this image would be better as a vertical. Some of the tentacles on the sides will not be looked at by the casual viewer because of the clownfish being so bright. Also, a vertical might not have cut off the body of the fish, which, even if out of focus, bothers me a bit. The exposure could be pulled back a bit to get a better saturation of the orange. (Maybe it's my new monitor!)


I agree that shot vertically this would be an amazing shot! I am also bothered by the tail of the fish being cut off. Beautiful color and contrast, though!
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#11 Canuck

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 09:36 PM

why is it, then, that I can't *not* shoot one when I see one?


Eric:

I can't resist them either! Why? Because they are a beautiful subject in a great backdrop. Because they are a subject that non-divers really take to (thanks to Finding Nemo). And, last but not least, because it really is difficult to get a WOW photo of a subject that darts around continuously. I think we look at the fish and know that it can be part of an awesome photo, and then we are disappointed when the result doesn't live up to our expectations.

I really like your photo. The open mouth with the tiny teeth. Staring straight into the lens. The anemone curled around the cheek. Looks like a pose ... which just isn't possible!

Simon K. liked the "unflawed white of the stripes." I beg to differ. For me it is too white. In fact, I would like to see the photo 1/2 to 1 stop less exposed. I think it might bring some texture back into the stripe and it would darken the grays and greens a bit. I agree with others who suggested a vertical crop with the tail in the photo. If the vertical crop could fade from lighter at the bottom to darker at the top it would be a nice effect.

Keep shooting the clowns ... I know I will :)

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#12 echeng

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Posted 22 February 2004 - 09:43 PM

Thanks for all the wonderful, constructive comments. :)

I did shoot this in RAW mode, and if I have time sometime soon, I will go back and extract a version that is less hot, to see if I can bring back some of the detail in the whiteness of the stripes.
eric cheng
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#13 scorpio_fish

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Posted 23 February 2004 - 06:19 AM

Why do you keep shooting them? Maybe one will turn out better than any other shot ever taken.

I think this is a great shot. The teeth detail and color contrast make it quite appealing.

How do you make one of these stand out/different/compelling? Ask yourself what could make such a shot more compelling. Then go shoot it that way. When you have an answer let us know, because I don't have a clue.

When something has been shot a million times, it doesn't matter to me unless I've done the shot. Even if I've done the shot, I still take the same shot again. I keep one or two shots of each subject and toss the rest. Sometimes I get a better one to replace one I've already got. Nothing wrong with shooting over and over again. Ansel shot the same thing over and over again because it was never the same shot.