A while back I wrote about a picture I took under a jetty in Ambon, Indonesia.
It was dark because of the struts of the jetty, and I wanted to create an impression of speed. Here is the link to that post.

I used exactly the same technique on last weeks Wreck Photo workshop out in the Red Sea.
This time though I snuck off for a very early morning dive with Adel one of the dive guides on Mistral, with the sole intention of using the same technique, but for a very different outcome.

I’d seen a school of Fusiliers hanging around the stern of the Thistlegorm, and thought that they would make a suitably similar impression of speed as they whizzed about the place.

I needed to shoot with a slow shutter speed, but this time I wanted the background i.e. the stern of the Thistlegorm to stay sharp and free of any camera shake, along with my buddy Adel who’d positioned himself at the rear within the wreck looking out.
It’s a testament to the efficacy of modern camera image stabilisation that I’ve managed to do this, at the very slow speed of 1/5 of a second. Normally a way too slow speed to hold the camera steady without the aid of a tripod.

I also needed to allow the Fusiliers enough time to register as blurs, but the blur needed to be behind the fish, so I’ve used a flash setting called second curtain synchronisation to achieve this. As the effect would be diminished if the blur was in front of the fish.

So although the technique is similar to my Ambon picture, I’ve had to remain stock steady for the shot to work at all.

So I’ve shot at 1/5 of a second with the flash very noticeably firing at the end of the shot rather than at the beginning, and my aperture was at f7 with an ISO of 200.

I had to wait for the Fusiliers to whoosh towards me and hope for the best when I fired the trigger.

So on the early morning or late afternoon dives when the light is low, give this technique a try for yourself, you can get some fun and unusual results.



Slow shutter speed picture of the Fusilier action at the stern of the Thistlegorm.
Slow shutter speed picture of the Fusilier action at the stern of the Thistlegorm.