Saturday, August 24, 2013

Now thats a mouthful

Egg brooding critters like fish, crabs, shrimp and more make for some very compelling photos. Taking your time with each subject will allow the photographer the opportunity to really capture some unique behaviors

   Parenting for marine animals takes specialized skill and strategy that only Mother Nature herself could have designed. Unlike humans, the expecting parents of marine animals must deal with extenuating circumstances at all times. In a risky numbers game the survival rate for individuals is extremely low and the constant threat of survival is always present for the parents and the babies.
Several factors come into play once the eggs have been fertilized that have forced the evolutionary process to provide. The most obvious first, the host parents must seek nourishment during the incubation period or risk peril from weakness and starvation. Leaving the defenseless eggs alone is never an option as they provide a tasty source of protein for other animals and therefore must be protected at all times. Additionally, during the incubation period the eggs must also be continuously aerated to ensure the proper flow of fresh water and oxygen or the eggs will die. So just how do the parents successfully protect their precious eggs while staying alive and perform all of these other vital duties? The answer is as different as the animals themselves. For instance, it’s the male that carries the eggs for common Pipefish and Seahorses while the female carries the eggs for the Ornate Ghost Pipefish. Sea Mantis males and female have both been known to share a brood of eggs and will carry or use a burrow to incubate their young.

Brooding Ringed Tail Anthia-Orange and yolky, these eggs are nice and freshly fertilized

Ring tail Anthia-These eggs are well developed at approximately 8-10 days

Fish on the other hand like the Jawfish or Cardinal fish males mouth brood their eggs until the babies begin to hatch. While other fish actually lay the eggs on a nearby rock or tunicates then tend to them in much the same way. Whatever method is used to accomplish the task, one thing is for sure, its a risky numbers game and survival of the fittest

Yellow headed Jawfish with fresh and yolky eggs

Yellow Headed Jawfish with well developed eggs
Photos were shot using my Nikon D300s-105mm macro lens and a subsee +5 Diopter

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Nocturnal Lights Review

Mike Bartick
How i made this sequence:
Gear used:
Nikon D300s
Continuous lighting using 2 of the Nocturnal M700 I , lights
Settings ISO 800
F18 @ 1/125
I set my camera on 3 frames per second to capture the action,
Exposure is critical for color, and sharpness so I Increased my ISO settings and shutter speed.  Using the single spot focus I moved the pixel over the eye composed, shot a photo to adjust the exposure then adjusted the lighting. After that I waited for the frogfish to do his part, which actually didnt take very long..
Choppin and Shoppin- (cropping or photo shopping)
I adjusted the colors with white balance in lightroom, exported to photoshop and removed some backscatter and thats about it. There wasnt any need to crop, infact i nearly lost the the subject as its mouth hit the apex of its yawn, in the lower 3 frames.

Nocturnal Lights Review

Nocturnal recently released the new M700I- Ultra Compact LED video light to the Underwater Photography and video lighting community. I’ve had the opportunity to use two of these compact lights extensively over the last 6 months logging over 200+ dives on them so far. We used the lights in a variety of conditions including intense ambient light to night dives and found them to be very effective from one end of that spectrum to the other. In addition I have also assigned them to my guides for use with guests for locating critters on night dives.
The lights are smaller in size but provide excellent output. They are lightweight for travel come with spare O-rings, 2 proprietary CR123 batteries (can be purchased world-wide) and a 110-240 charger which allows charging in almost any country.
The torch head employs a twist on/off mechanism to power up and with a quick twist can also change the output from full to half power. The design is also a heat sink that absorbs heat for working topside or for helping on the boat at night etc. My style of macro shooting demands quick focus and the brilliant white LED output helps my AF to lock on quickly, ultimately allowing me to capture photos as they unfold.
I normally use 1 light on night dives as my modeling /night diving light mounted on the top of my housing. The single battery consistently provided more than 1 hour of solid burn time on full power then slowly began to fade, over a 15 minute period.
I decided to try using two lights for a continuous lighting series and worked on several different ideas. The yawning frogfish was shot at 3 frames per second and I was able to capture the sequence nicely with excellent contrast and sharp edges.
With an explosion of modeling lights on the UW Camera market these days choices can get very confusing and very expensive, very quickly. The qualities that admired the most about tis light are
·         The size and weight
·         Output and quality of light
·         Ease of use and charging
·         cost
I will continue to use the lights to see how much more abuse they can withstand over the next several months, So far I’m impressed..

Mike Bartick