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How Small Do I Go? Underwater Macro Photography

Posted on: January 2, 2014 by pinneng | No Comments
How Small Do I Go? Underwater Macro Photography

How Small Do I Go? Underwater Macro Photography

Underwater Macro Photography is getting smaller

Around the year 2009, some new gadgets for underwater photography allowed us to make super macro photos.  That was about the time I got my first underwater DSLR. It was one of my dream: make photo of plankton. I just want to see them with my eyes, underwater. I bought my first +10 diopter/close-up wet-lens to add on my 105mm macro lens. With that setup  (diopter + macro lens) I did my first plankton photo session in Kupang waters. Let’s talk more about underwater macro photography.

“Thanks to digital camera era, underwater photographers don’t have to hesitate to make mistakes in taking photographs. “

Fish larvae

Newly hatched fish larvae

Amphipod and Copepod

Amphipod and Copepod


To photograph plankton need some extra patience and stamina. They always move around and…. yes they are small. They are attracted to light, an extra torch will help you to “call” them in. Sometimes you need to turn the torch off for awhile if there were too many of them.
Plankton on torch

Attracted to light source

Underwater Macro Photography-Plankton

Krill and Copepod

Diopter plays big role in Underwater Macro Photography

With a diopter added, the Depth of Field will reduce a lot. That makes it harder to focus on the subject. Normally I turn off the autofocus on my camera when I use diopter.
Underwater Macro Photography-Nudibranch

Some of nudibranch are just too small to see with bare eyes

Nudi with Diopter

Diopter narrows the DOF


Sometime I use the “disadvantage” of the diopter to make photos I like: NDOF.
Pigmy Pipefish with measure

Not “too” small Pigmy Pipefish

Underwater Macro Photography-Pigmy Pipefish

Using the “disadvantage” of diopter: the eye of Pigmy Pipefish

For sure, with diopter you are able to make un-cropped photo of small objects. Normally this is one of the rule you have to obey in submitting your photographs in international underwater photo competitions.

This is the video of Wet Traveler as about Pikachu nudibranch with size was about 3cm.

More of Wet Traveler video HERE

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