macro technique underwater

Nudibranchs at Dawn

The alarm clock went off half an hour later than planned this morning but luckily I’d prepped all my dive and camera kit the night before.

The plan was to dive in Selsey, under the lifeboat station and despite the slight chop and the early start, many others were diving too!

Last weekend, I missed the reported hoardes of nudibranchs so I was hoping for better luck this time!

Egg-laying Nudibranchs

It took me about half an hour to spot my first one but by that point I’d adjusted my lighting on numerous different subjects, including pipe-fish and anemones, building a good feel for light power and position.

I was using a home-made snoot on my right hand strobe… made from a funnel with an old piece of wetsuit sleeve to keep it in place. The left strobe had a diffuser in place and I used it to create a bit more light on each scene, enabling me to highlight subjects or parts of a subject with the snoot.

I came across a pair of white nudibranchs, both laying eggs on the same piece of rusting debris. This bit of metal actually helped my composition since it raised the two creatures away from the ground and allowed me to get the camera down to their level, hence allowing me to seperate them more easily from the background. I used an inward lighting technique with the main strobe to isolate them even more from the background and I started shooting.

Since I wanted to get each nudibranch and it’s eggs in sharp focus, I used a high f-stop (F11) and adjusted my shutter speed accordingly to work with the light I could get from the strobes.
It’s a shame the nudi’s werent both facing the camera but I dont like going round moving the wildlife to suit my photos so I’ll just have to revisit and keep looking!!

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