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BartB

Photographing schools of fish

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One of the coolest things you can see while diving is big schools of fish. The movement, the glimmer, the choreography. There's single animals that look more impressive, but the sight of thousands of little fish acting as one big unit never bores me. It's truly great.

 

What's not so great, however, are my pictures of it. I press the button and on my little screen, I see all the magic has disappeared. I've tried different aperture settings, shutter times, whatever; it just doesn't work. Which really sucks because according to Google, any idiot can do a great school picture but me.

 

How do you take a picture of a school of fish that doesn't suck? I've included an example to show what I mean; I know the diver below isn't completely in the phot, but even if I polish him away in PS, the picture is still bad.

post-22352-1234967191.jpg

Edited by BartB

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You really need a wideangle lens to capture fish schools - this will let you get close.

 

Cheers

James

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As James said-get much, much closer!

 

You really need to be "in" the school to get really good pictures.

 

Adam

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Try judge where you think the school may move next and try to position yourself in their path. Then using a wide angle or fisheye lens snap away to your hearts content. I usually judge the movements of other divers in the group and see what way they will scare the fish and then i try and sneak into their path without scaring them back the way the came. In this way you can get some very pleasing face on shots of the school.

 

But ultimately getting close is the key

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I'd agree with what's been said so far - get as close to the fish as possible. However, I would add that it really does depend on the species of fish how close they will allow you to get. Generally, the lower on the food chain the less co-operative the species will be - they will be simply too afraid of being eaten to allow you to get very close (the so-called "bait fish" in your photo are a good example). On the other hand, a species that does the eating tends to be a bit more confident and will usually allow you to get closer. This is a gross simplification, but generally holds true with most species. Here's a photo I got in Kona of a school/schoal of Heller's Barracuda - a predatory species that tends to be rather confident, even with divers, so I was able to get very close to them.

 

resized-IMG_1134.jpg

 

In this photo I used a 28mm lens in ambient light. I eventually got so close to them that my bubbles were going up right through the middle of the group, and they still didn't swim away. Bottom line, pick your species and then work to get as close as possible. Good luck!

 

Lee

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