Hiya folks really quick post coming up.
This is one of my favourite photographs taken in the summer at Jackson Coral Garden in Tiran, Northern Red Sea
The Jewel in the Crown
On my photo workshops I like to do a couple of dives at the very least, up in Tiran.
And one of the most photogenically productive is the Coral Garden on the south side of Jackson Reef. Now I know a lot of folk go there to see the hammerheads which are usually to be found on the north side, near the shipwreck of the Lara, now just a few rusting plates jutting through the turbulent waters at the edge of the reef plate, but in my opinion, even if you can guarantee that the Hammers are there, it’s still normally a deep dark dive, and not easy to get good shots of the sharks.
So, in the summer there is loads of exciting fish action in the Northern Red Sea, of all kinds, and the bright colourful Coral Garden at Jackson is a primary place to witness cool stuff, that you wouldn’t usually see the rest of the year.
I mean don’t get me wrong Jackson’s a great place to dive year round, but it steps up a notch in the summertime.
This shot for me sums up the frenetic fish action to be witnessed here.
I had my appropriately named fisheye lens on my camera, and I had seen these guys whizzing up and down the reef a few times.
(If you want to see why wide angle lenses are such a big deal and make such a difference to your underwater photography click here to see why they can step up the quality in your underwater shots.)
These are trevallies and are normally seen in smaller groups than this, however at certain times during the summer, they congregate in larger groups, and make for a great photo opportunity, but you’ll have to be quick.
As i’d seen them whizz past a couple of times, with about five minutes duration between passes. I figured I would set up my exposure. It was a fairly bright day, it was Egypt after all, and it was mid morning. So as the sun was high, I wanted to make the background exposure a little darker than it was. So without strobes I took a couple of tests, of aperture and shutter speed, giving me a shutter speed of 1/250 sec ( you can’t go above the flash synchronisation speed of your particular camera) and an aperture in this light of f8.
My flash exposure I get by holding my hand up in front of the lens, at the distance I knew I was going to get from the closest fish, and popping off a test shot.
Now careful here, because like most fish Trevallies are very reflective, more so than your hand at any rate, so when you have your baseline exposure, turn your strobes down a bit, how much you’ll have to base on previous experience and your particular strobes.
I definitely wouldn’t use TTL flash for this type of shot, and the reason for that is that it invariably gets the exposure wrong, because of the reflectivity of the fish, causing unpredictable and very inconsistent results.
if you want to understand the basics of flash exposure, click here for a post covering this.
I was very very lucky here, and the shot worked first time, but my chances were improved by prepping for the shot beforehand.
Try and pre-empt things when you can, that way you can shorten the odds of getting the shot as you’d like it.
Why not join me in the Northern Red Sea, or one of the many other great diving spots, that we use to help people of all abilities to get great underwater shots, all year round.
Check out my upcoming workshops here.
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