While the beautiful island of Roatan offers several attractions on land, the uniqueness of the island really comes from its underwater topography. Divers have been traveling to Roatan for years to experience the incredible underwater paradise. The entire island of Roatan is surrounded by impressive dive sites that many consider to be the best in the world to photograph. The diverse and colorful underwater landscape of Roatan makes for absolutely incredible photos. Whether you’re an experienced photographer or just wanting to jump right in, a Roatan vacation is the perfect opportunity to take underwater photos.
Macro photography is a special kind of close-up photography that allows photographers to magnify their subjects to a point that allows viewers to see very minute details. When it comes to macro photographs, the subject must be the same size as the camera lens or smaller. Getting as close as possible to your subject is what will cause your photos to stand out. The closer you get, the more detailed your image will be. If you’re diving during a Roatan vacation, your guide can point out good areas to photograph macro subjects. Getting up close and personal with your subjects will make your Roatan dive even more special.
Many divers enjoy underwater macro photography which allows them to explore and analyze the tiny creatures that live under the sea. A special macro lens will magnify a tiny creature so much that you will be able to view the extremely fine details that make it up. Many divers are fascinated with underwater macro photography because they are able to turn small and overlooked creatures into creatures that appear to be extraordinary and larger than life. Without macro photography, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the tiny creatures that live in small crevices along walls, attached to other sea creatures, or along the ocean floor. Unnoticed marine life gains some well deserved attention with underwater macro photography. If you’re new to underwater photography, then many divers suggest starting with a macro lens as it is easier to to adjust to than a wide angle lens.
Choosing a camera for underwater macro photography
In oder to take underwater macro photos, you can simply use a compact camera that is set in macro mode. These days, modern compact cameras are more than capable of producing professional looking photos. The compact camera can fit into tight spaces to capture your subject. If you’re using a compact camera, no additional gear is required for you to be able to photograph macro subjects- the zoom on the camera will adjust itself to allow for closer focus.
You can also use a DSLR to shoot underwater macro. However, you will need a macro lens and the appropriate flat port. There are several different lens sizes available, so be sure to ask questions and do research beforehand so that you know what will suit you best.
Getting the best shot during a Roatan vacation
There are several different things you must consider when attempting to get the best photo.
1.) Subject- Of course the most important part of your photo is the subject. Choosing the right subject for your photo can take time and research. Part of choosing the right subject is choosing the right place to photograph. Luckily, dive sites in Roatan offer some fantastic opportunities for macro photography, and your dive guide will most likely take you to the best spots. When thinking about what you want your subject to be, many suggest picking a creature with big eyes. This often translates well into a photograph, and people are drawn to this type of picture. You also may want to think about whether part of a creature deserves emphasis. Choosing subjects that are calm in the presence of divers will also benefit you greatly.
2.) Composition- Choosing the best way to fill your camera frame is important for underwater macro photography. Shooting at the same level as your subject will often make the image much more appealing to those viewing it. If you photograph your subject from above, the creature will appear flat and will take away from the attraction. Experiment with different compositions to get the perfect shot, but remember that you want your subject to be obvious to the viewer.
3.) Strobe Positioning- In order to take a good underwater macro photograph, you will need to add artificial light to your subject. Be sure not to use a light that is too bright as it can scare your subject away. You want to be careful not to position the lighting too closely and directly, or the subject will look over-lit and washed out. Try different strobes positions when photographing your subject. Light it from the front, side, top , and back to see the different effects that are created.
4.) Background- Many macro photographers often consider the background to be just as important as the subject itself. Black backgrounds usually make your subject stand out in the photograph due to the intense contrast. If you can’t seem to find a background that works well, you can create negative space behind the subject by shooting upward. Anemones and coral polyps usually make for great backdrops, but you want to make sure that your background doesn’t take away from the subject of the photo.
5.) Depth of Field- Think about how sharp you want your image to look in the photo. You may want a large or small DOF depending upon the composition that you have chosen. You may want/need a blurred background or a more focused background.
Once you have begun to take photos of your subject, take several so that you are sure to capture the perfect one. Watch the subject to determine when will be the best time to snap your photo. As you watch the creature, you may notice that it exhibits some strange behavior that will make for the perfect shot.
Remember that because macro photography is so close up, bad visibility in the water is rarely a factor when taking photos. Reducing the amount of water between your subject and your camera lens will help create the best picture with few particles.
Things to remember while photographing during a Roatan dive vacation
When photographing any underwater creature, it is always important to remember not to touch any animal you come into contact with. Touching your subject could be putting yourself or the creature in danger. While we should feel free to enjoy the beauty of the underwater world, we do not want to disturb the life down below. In addition, always approach your subject in a slow and careful way.
If you’re shooting underwater macro for the first, remember that it takes time to get the photos you’re looking for. As you gain more experience, you’ll feel confident trying new techniques that will lead to the perfect photos. After getting the hang of macro photography, the possibilities for incredible photos are endless. Remember, great things comes in small packages! So, be sure to slow down during your next dive to appreciate life’s little creatures.
Contact Reef House Lodge for a customized Roatan dive experience that allows you to explore macro photography under the sea. Our dive guides are dedicated to ensuring you a once in a lifetime diving experience. Whether you’re an experienced macro photographer or just in the beginning phase, we will cater to you every step of the way during your Roatan vacation! Check out our packages that include affordable Roatan diving prices!