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Thread: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

  1. #1
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    On this past dive trip, I was trying to get a little more artistic with my photography. As such, I would periodically look for interesting patterns to photograph (when I wasn't searching for nudibranchs, shrimps, octopodes, etc, etc). Having side projects like this while diving is great in case you hit a dive site that is just kind of sparse since you can almost always find interesting things to shoot in even the most common of reef subjects (especially when working macro).

    This is the first in that series....

    Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    The subject is a Magnificent Feather Duster (Sabellastarte magnifica) which is actually a type of worm (yes - related to common earthworms). It uses these feathery appendages called radioles as both gills and to trap food particles that are drifting by. When disturbed, the worm will pull its feathery crown back down inside a tube that it has constructed of sand and a glue type substance it secretes.

    The photo is of the very center of the crown of feathery radioles - where the food pieces will be passed down towards the mouth.

    Does this work for folks? Is this an interesting study or just an indecipherable snapshot that should have hit the bin?

    Please share your C&C and opinions - I certainly would love to know what I could improve on the next time I go diving.

    Thanks!

    - Bill

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    I like the color and pattern and say no to the bin. Although I am glad you explained what I was looking at as I would have had no clue!

  3. #3

    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Good show!

    Sabellastarte magnifica is a natural fractal. With no background/sea floor to give one a point of reference, it appears almost like a computer generated fractal.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    I certainly would love to know what I could improve on the next time I go diving.
    I certainly wouldn't even attempt to suggest what you might do better.

    This is composed wonderfully well. Many others may well have placed the centre of the crown right in the middle of the frame ... and that would not have been such a powerful image.

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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Would make a wonderful wall mural.

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    I used to dive… back in my bachelor days when I had 7 different expensive hobbies… Marriage trims that list significantly! anyways, was this taken while drifting above or were you able to brace yourself on the seafloor or rocks? Its pretty sharp considering. I like the composition too.

  7. #7
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    I am really glad that everyone is liking this shot. I was worried that folks would not like it as much as I do. I think I need to start trusting my instincts a bit more when it comes to this kind of abstract work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harpo View Post
    I used to dive… back in my bachelor days when I had 7 different expensive hobbies… Marriage trims that list significantly! anyways, was this taken while drifting above or were you able to brace yourself on the seafloor or rocks? Its pretty sharp considering. I like the composition too.
    Luckily for me (but unlucky for my wallet), my wife dives as well. So while it takes half the convincing to go on a trip, it does take double the saving! But when we're in the water, she enjoys finding subjects for me to photograph, so it is really nice to have someone spotting my next subject while I'm photographing the current one.

    As for anchoring on this shot, I don't remember for certain. I will say that I was definitely not on the seafloor as the reefs we were on were dense enough that you couldn't do that in most places (every once in a while I'd find a sandy spot I could kneel on to get shots of things like yellow-head jawfish or the like), so I was either free-floating or using my newly made muckstick (Karl, do you use a muckstick at all?). A muckstick is a rod of some sort (mine is made of steel, but I've seen them made of fiberglass as well) that you can use to rest on a dead part of the reef as an anchor/pivot point. The muckstick works better than a finger or hand because you touch a much smaller area, can hit points that your hand might not be able to fit in, and get to avoid disturbing the sealife and/or getting stung! My guess for this shot though would be that I was free-floating - so the sharp focus is an accomplishment for me because I'm still working on my buoyancy skills.

    For the non-divers... think of how hard it is to focus on something when you have a constant breeze... now think about that breeze being able to move you and your subject... now add in the fact that you usually don't have anything you can anchor yourself, so you're just floating in the water, and each movement (even just turning your head) can have an effect on your position in the water.... and now add in that even breathing affects your position in the water - hold your breath and you'll start floating up. That should give you a slight idea of some of the extra challenges presented by dive photography.

    - Bill

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    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Another installment in this series to share today...

    Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    In retrospect, maybe I should have eliminated the fish from the shot and just used the coral (and perhaps I could crop it out).

    Thoughts?

    - Bill

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    I think I'd want to leave the fish in it, Bill. It breaks up the regularity of the coral and offers a positive diversion in the image

  10. #10
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I think I'd want to leave the fish in it, Bill. It breaks up the regularity of the coral and offers a positive diversion in the image
    Donald,

    I think that you've got a very valid point there. Maybe a side-by-side would help - perhaps I'll work up a crop tonight and see how I feel about them, and if I'm still on the fence I'll share for others to chime in.

    Thanks!

    - Bill

  11. #11
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Third installment in this series...

    Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    I'll leave this one open for guesses as to what it actually is for a few days. Enjoy.

    - Bill

  12. #12
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    Fourth installment in the series...

    Patterns of the Reef: Trying to get artistic underwater...

    - Bill

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