Super macro photography is when our image has a subject to sensor magnification

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1 Outline for Tutorials: Super Macro Underwater Photography 1. Introduction Super macro photography is when our image has a subject to sensor magnification ratio of greater than 1:1. Super macro opens up an entire new world within the already unique underwater world! We can see what the ordinary eye cannot. Super macro is different from other types of UWP in several important ways. In some ways it more challenging. In other ways it is easier, both technically and with regard to composition. Challenges: Need extra, specialty equipment (and preferably an SLR camera) Close up lenses ( diopters ) wet or dry Teleconverter Need to get very close to subject (subject selection) Camera and subject must be relatively still to allow focus (dive site selection avoid current and surge) Strobe positioning can be difficult Essentially no depth of field with super macro photography! Need for PRECISE focusing ; often lock focus and rock back and forth; the photographer must determine the exact plane of focus Must be patient and still (therefore, shallow dive with minimal current or surge are best) Advantages: Almost always subjects available! Can take something mundane and make it stunning or beautiful ONE THING TO concentrate on the subject! (focus, lighting, composition); therefore,

2 no worries about big scene, distractions, multiple subjects (profile, orientation), background, ba lancing light and focus of foreground and background, distractions like mergers and amputations Minimal worry about backscatter Okay even if poor visibility (very little water column) With super macro, we can be different! Instead of boring and conventional shots, we can let our imagination run wild as to what specific detail we capture, how to compose it (proxim ity, angle of approach, and framing), how to illuminate it, exactly what to focus on. 2. Equipment Needed Remember, the photographer is more important than the equipment; AND not so much photographer s skill, but rather, the photographer s patience, persistence, creativity, and sometimes LUCK. Camera and housing (SLR preferred) Specialty lenses (and ports) to allow for super macro (greater than 1:1 magnification on the sensor) Close-up lens (diopter) Attaches in front of macro lens Inside dome port ( dry) Outside dome port ( wet detachable during dive) Increases magnification Limits focusing range Does not require additional strobe power Decreases working distance Good with 105 mm (since this lens has a longer working distance) reduces

3 water column; strobe closer Not as good with 60 mm (already has a short working distance) hard to get that close; hard to position strobe Dry close up lens - mount inside of dome port; committed for entire dive

4 Wet close up lens - mount outside dome port; detachable; not committed for entire dive Teleconverter Attaches between macro lens and camera body inside dome port Increases magnification Does NOT limit focusing range Requires additional strobe power Makes lens longer so might requires longer flat port Does NOT decrease working distance Preferable for 60 mm macro lens (already has short working distance) s ubjects more approachable, easier strobe positioning Not as good for 105 mm macro lens (already has longer working distance) too much water column; difficult to focus and difficult for strobes to provide enough light Committed for entire dive Illumination - strobe 3. Working Distance Demonstration: Part One 105 mm macro lens 105 mm macro lens with +4 diopter dry close up lens 60 mm macro lens 60 mm macro lens with +4 diopter dry close up lens lens

5 4. Working Distance Demonstration: Part Two Subsea +10 wet close up lens preferred with 105 mm macro lens 1.4x teleconverter preferred with 60 mm macro lens 5. Technical Issues: How To Do It Find subject Dive site selection preferable: no current, surge, shallow, easy navigation, supportive dive buddy Subject selection - small subject, small portion of larger subject, abstract image Must get close, so subject must be approachable Must be stationary so subject must have periods of minimal motion and must be able to hold camera still; must keep camera still (perfect buoyancy or rest on seafloor; prefer minimal surge, current) Takes times to focus and work subject, so subject must be cooperative and shallow dives better No damage to reef or subject Background and backscatter considerations less important! Tips on approaching subject: No damage to reef Slow approach Look elsewhere Don t not look directly at eye Take initial shots from a distance; allow subject to acclimate; move in gradually If muck bottom, settle very gradually; use stick; settle in down-current, if

6 possible Back off when making adjustments (strobe position, camera settings, LCD check) If subject cooperative, work the subject Composition proximity, angle of approach, framing Focus variable focus planes and apertures

7 Strobe position straight ahead or from acute angle (from above or side) ; consider backlighting) Do not touch life; do not harm or damage reef; know when to stop Camera settings ISO lowest Shutter speed fastest that will sync with camera strobe (I use 1/200 second) Aperture small but might not smallest; sometimes, might open to reduce depth of field even more Focus difficult; extremely shallow depth of field with super macro; I use contin uous autofocus, but then often lock focus and rock back and forth; could try manual if set-up allows; support port; take several shots in attempt to bracket focusing, if subject allows Strobe Settings - TTL or manual and check histogram; (don t scare subject when checking histogram; consider backing away from subject to do this) One or two strobes, with or without diffusers Strobe position can vary depending on composition but in general, must pull in tight 6. Composition When we find a good macro subject, we have the following considerations and decisions (keeping in mind considerations of background, potential backscatter, and composition of subject: Camera position

8 Proximity - how close? (determines subject size and overall image content) Angle of approach? (determines subject orientation) Framing? (determines subject location within image) Focus Backscatter usually not a significant problem with super macro since minimal water column and depth of field Consider background; however, background is often not a significant consideration since subject often fills frame; if background is present, it is easy to blur due to minimal depth of field Question: Exactly what do you want to show (make clear vs. blurred) Focus options Autofocus continuous focus if significant movement Preferred by me: autofocus - then focus lock and rock Manual focus - purchase a focus ring and manually focus using the ring The photographer must determine exact plane of focus Depth of field very limited; usually use small aperture, but can limit it even more if open aperture Strobes Don t forget about backscatter and background issues See Episode 5: How To Do It Technically TTL or manual and check histogram One or two, with or without diffusers Location (position), direction (angle) Emphasize color, pattern, detail: one or two strobes; straight ahead, diffuser Emphasize texture, topography: one strobe, acute angle (from above or side), no diffuser

9 7. Examples of Super Macro: Composition

10 8. Examples of Super Macro: Focus 9. Examples of Super Macro: Strobe Position

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