Our March 2014 workshop to Ambon, Indonesia was enjoyably hosted by Maluku Divers. Ambon is justly famed for its amazing critters but for some unknown reason at the time of our trip, they had deserted the area. As a result we had to think “out of the box” and concentrate on those critters which were in attendance. These included sea horse, frog fish, scorpion fish, leaf fish, nudibranchs, morays and hawk fish to name a few. This gallery is a true reflection on my behalf of subjects, which were frequently in attendance during our stay.
Air Manus Pier is no more than 60m (180’) from the resort and I spent a considerable time shooting towards late afternoon and into dusk. I was experimenting shooting creatures with intentional bokeh backgrounds. With my Nikon 105mm I usually prefer a bokeh start point of f8. On this trip I experimented with f5.6 and lower. These bokeh techniques were successful in controlling my backgrounds behind the subject but difficult when it came to controlling sharpness with both eyes and mouth on the same plane of focus. I also experimented using a soft fill light from a single flash to blend together with a Retra Prime snoot on subjects. I achieved what I was after with the example of the mantis shrimp. Just a subtle hint of the background environment from a soft un-snooted additional flashgun.
Moray eel eyes with equal weight on both sides of there face are a challenge to compose. I compositionally experimented with there eyes whenever possible and introduced extreme bokeh to the backgrounds. Unless the eyes and mouth were on the same parallel plane to each other it was a challenge to render all in sharp focus at f 5.6 and lower. Does the blur matter on the tip of the snout? That’s one for you. Sharp eyes and sharp teeth with a soft nose? Again, I’m still unsure.