By: Todd Winner
Spending an entire dive finding and photographing something the size of a flea is not going to be for everyone. I have wanted to shoot ladybug amphipods since the first image I saw of them and Komodo is known for some of the most colorful ones. My goal was to get some different backgrounds and capture enough detail for large prints.
I chose a Canon 5DSR and EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens to deliver the detail. I housed it in a Nauticam 5DSR housing giving me full access to all the controls including back button focus and a manual focus gear. To get more magnification than the 1/1 offered by the 100mm macro lens, I added a Nauticam SMC and for a few shots even added the Nauticam multiplier on top of the SMC. To be able to see the detail on such a small subject I used the Nauticam enhanced viewfinder and a Sola 800 focusing light. Finally, to illuminate the ladybugs, I used 2 Ikelite 160 strobes.
Probably the biggest challenge when shooting something this small is simply finding it through the viewfinder. Spending some time practicing with something that doesn’t jump around the reef is always a good idea. I find using auto focus on subjects this small to be too frustrating. You can use AF with a spot focus point to get you in the ballpark but then switch to manual focus. I use back button focus so I can simply rock back and forth and pull the shutter anytime the subject looks sharp in the viewfinder. If you would like more information on back button focus please see the included link.
Overall I’m happy with the images but that’s not going to keep me from shooting them again next year! If you would like to join me in Komodo in 2017 please contact me at the links below.
Todd Winner is a contributor, instructor, and trip leader for Samy’s Underwater Photo & Video and has over 20 years of experience in underwater still and broadcast video. To see more of Todd’s work please go to www.toddwinner.com. For the latest information on workshops and trips, sign up for our newsletter.