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troporobo

twin morays, solo shrimp - comments?

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I haven't posted images in a while and am feeling a bit stuck with my usual subjects and technique, so here are two from my most recent dives. Comments on new ways to shoot these subjects would be most welcome.

 

These two white eyed morays did not seem too happy to be sharing a crevice. In fact, I rarely see morays sharing a spot. The slightly smaller one kept twisting around and nipping at the bigger one then they would wrestle a bit almost like kittens play-fighting. The lighting is a bit harsh, as I couldn't find a way to get my right side strobe around the obstructing bit of reef. Maybe I should have brought the left side strobe up and closer to the top of the port?

 

45832969741_b118659841_b.jpg

 

This wire coral shrimp presented a promising composition as it was nestled into a loop of the coral. Again I could not move the strobes to eliminate the shadow on the subject due to space constraints. Also I should have left more space to crop and rotate!

 

45832969641_838901f01d_b.jpg

 

These both feel like cases where a single strobe more or less centered and up a bit higher might have produced better results, at the risk of harsher shadows. As an aside, I find it challenging sometimes to position my relatively new Z-240 strobes for macro and really miss the tiny S-2000 strobes that I should not have sold!

 

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I like my strobes as far away from the lens as possible so I can get as much texture as possible without harsh shadows. Right now I'm using a pair of 16" arms on both sides allowing me 36" on each. You're right that the lighting is pretty flat and keeps the image from popping like it could. I also prefer to light with my key light on the left since our eyes travel from left to right on a photograph. I did an experiment and showed a group of people a portrait of the exact same image flipped and everyone thought the image with the light coming from the left was brighter and more inviting. So I would light the eels from the left and put the right strobe as a fill and move it more centered and above the lens to remove the shadow while still maintaining texture. Also set the output on the right light about a stop or so lower so it creates more shadows and depth while preventing a flat look.

 

For the shrimp, it's hard to tell what your restrictions were for light placement so it's hard to give advice. Without knowing the constraints and what gear you have this may or may not have worked. What looks like it would've worked well would be to bring the left light in close to the side of your port and facing directly forward so you actually light with the feather light of your strobe. Don't point it directly at the subject. On the right strobe you could bring in a snoot to light just the shrimp and make it pop more. This would create a substantial amount more texture for the coral and make the shrimp pop where you don't have to look for it so long. It took me a while to see the shrimp wasn't part of the coral.

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