Of all my photos that I created during my recent Indonesian adventure to the Misool Ecoresort, this is the one that I had most envisioned. Indonesia is well known for its spectacular reefs, and Raja Ampat is considered to have some of the most pristine in the world. I was not disappointed. Before my trip, I was anxious about my learning curve to create an image like this. I think that every photographer should try taking a picture outside of their comfort zone once in a while. I initially struggled with balancing an ambient light exposure with fill-flash from my powerful underwater strobes, but I overcame these limitations after my first few days of diving. Freeing myself from the technical aspects of underwater photography allowed me to focus on composition. Once I figured out where to look for soft corals on the side of boomies (underwater pinnacles), I was able to realize my creative vision. Clearly the focus of this image is the neon soft corals surrounded by tropical fish, but I added texture to an otherwise featureless blue background by angling my camera up towards the surface. The clouds in the sky above also added color. I find it interesting that clouds play an important role in underwater landscape photography just like they do above water. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and 17-40mm f4 lens with a +3 diopter in my Ikelite 5DmkII housing with dual DS160 strobes set to -3 power. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.
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