Through the Lens – 1. Snooting in Bali.
In the waters just off the black sand beaches of Tulamben in North East Bali lie some of the best muck diving sites to be found anywhere in the world. Possibly the most prolific for small and rare critter encounters is Seraya Secrets. It was here that I captured these images of tiny (10mm) juvenile hairy frogfish (Antennarius striates). These mini predators use an appendage on the top of their heads which resembles a small worm as a fishing lure to entice prey close enough to capture and consume. The frogfish I encountered were colourful specimens (orange and yellow) lying on a silty, black sand substrate.
Thought process: I wanted to try and show the detail of the frogfish’s hairy appearance and to separate the fish from a cluttered and unattractive background by placing it in a small circle of light directed from slightly behind the fish. Using a fast shutter speed (320th) and small aperture (f/29) the camera would only register the high intensity beam from the Inon Z240 slave strobe leaving everything else totally black.
Technique: I briefed Norris, my photo assistant / spotter / guide on how to use the Z240 and Retra light shaping device (LSD) to provide a small area of light to the fish’s head. With the main strobe linked via fibre optic cable to my D800 / Subal rig and the slave firing via its slave sensor I pre-set the strobes to minimum and full power respectively. Norris used the Z240’s bright LED focusing light to target the light beam while I focused on the subject through the Nauticam Super Macro Converter flipped down over the camera’s Nikon 105mm lens, composing the shots before pressing the shutter button.
A picture paints a thousand words: