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pakman

How would you have shot this...

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End result wasn't great, but this photo op of a passing school of barracudas on Balicasag Island, Philippines had some potential to make a great pic. How would you have shot this? First off, my strobe placement was well off (right strobe just brought out horrible backscatter in the right half of the photo, left strobe resulted in a hot spot on the left 'cudas). All that ugly noise on the rightside is a sad attempt at me in CS2 to get rid of the backscatter... Shot was taken with a Canon 350D, Canon 10-22mm @ 10mm, Athena dome +40mm ext, a=f/8,s=1/100, ISO100 (2 Inon Z-240'son manual).

 

This was deep, had to drop to 40m, but visibility was still good. Should I had just turned off the strobes, upped the ISO, and taken a natural light shot? And of course I should have done a better job framing it - move frame more to left...:blink: ?

 

Another related question. Any good advise on shooting shiny fish like schooling barracudas and jacks. How do you avoid getting strobe hotspots/ reflections when you're so close to them with a 10mm WA???

 

IMG_1453.jpg

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well... for that particular shot if you couldn't reposition your angle in time it would have helped in the way of scatter to have just turned off the right stobe as it is not really lighting up the fish.... (less work in PS after)

 

With shiny fish i tend to add the diffusers to my strobes and knock the power back. It doesn't always work but it does sometimes... your TTL might have done alright on this shot, if you can get really close and fill the frame with the school TTL might work, might not.

 

You are on the right track with thinking natural light with shiny fish. What probably works best is to use your light meter to get the exposure perfect, then just a kiss of strobe for highlight.... like 1/8th or even 1/16th.. No need to go to higher ISO on your shot there, its a nice blue...

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I think you just missed the strobe position. A little highlighting on reflective fish can really enhance the picture. I'd held the strobe much higher and more to the middle of left 1/3rd of the image to give it flow.....to see the highlighted fish gradually move into faint shadows like you did. It's a mere strobe position and as Mike said probably a diffuser need. Nice image though.

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I agree with Mike and Joe.

 

I think a touch of diffused light on the first fish fading to natural light would be nice. The light draws your attention and then you follow the flow of the fish into the image. I like the composition in general. I think the depth did not help allow you more natural light so next time ask the fish to move shallower. :blink:

 

Todd

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thanks guys for comments... now all I need is to go find a large school of cooperative barracudas at 10m to refine my techniques... :blink:

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All good advice so far. I would also try and crop a bit from the right side of the picture and burn in gently the highlights on the left, to get something like this:

 

post-4904-1158504613_thumb.jpg

 

Sorry, but I had to cut out your watermark to demonstrate this :blink:

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Swimming barracudas, in available light photography, are more often than not going to look soft at 1/100. I think I would have notched up the shutter speed and opened up the lens. I also might have turned to face the oncoming school because if you can get a few fish faces in focus and well lit, the remainder of the school sometimes doesn't matter. Fish tails don't allow you the same compositional latitude. But I realize there may not have been time to do that and your compositional choice may have been exactly what it is.

 

I know you say the vis was good, but if I look at the rocks in the bottom right foreground (which with the lens short at 10mm must have been close and should have some clarity) it looks like the vis was a little bit south of giving you the opportunity to make a good balanced photograph. Sometimes you simply cannot overcome vis that just isn't good enough.

 

Like Mike V, for highly reflective subjects, I turn down strobe power and flip over a diffuser, in your case I'd go with the -1.5 rather than the -0.5. While with your strobes that doesn't really widen the beam pattern much ( I think maybe another 8-10%?), it does soften the light a great deal.

 

Pretty cool shot though! Schooling fish are the best. Sometimes when I'm in PNG or Indo I get so depressed when the photo ops are mostly macro. There just aren't too many dramatic macro shots, but these days most people shoot that as a preference and the boats have seemingly tilted thier itineraries for those kinds of ops.

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I tried to bring out the baracudas a bit by adding a stroke of color in PS. I think that if you lower the strobe power a bit the next time you meet those guys you will get other great pictures.

post-6907-1158587608_thumb.jpg

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I took these two months ago at Ras Mohammed, using ambient light and a Magic filter, 1/60 at f5.6 with a fisheye lens. No strobe. There wasn't any colour left at 35m or so, but the Magic filter increased the contrast. My big problem was the very short time I had inside the shoal, so framing was a bit hit and miss.

 

It's a different approach, but may not be that much better than working with strobes positioned carefully before getting into the thick of the action.

 

In ambient light some of the nearer barracuda look very bright when the more distant fish are visible, even if the dynamic range is tweaked in Photoshop.

 

 

post-4522-1158600803_thumb.jpg post-4522-1158600694_thumb.jpg post-4522-1158600827_thumb.jpg

 

 

Tim

 

B)

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I agree with earlier posts: use diffusers, light obliquely, and get in front! Get in front! This is a crappy shot, but being in front, it works better, see?:

picture-28.jpg

D70 -- 2 X DS 125 w diffusers, *TTL* -- f3.5 @ 1/100 -- ISO200 -- 10.5mm -- Dirty Rock, Cocos, Costa Rica

Decent angle negates many sins.

 

Cheers,

Chris

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