My recent coverage of another show, Reefapalooza in NY, included a 2 part series I called Fluorescence Extravaganza (check it HERE and HERE). I can humbly say that I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on that segment and decided to follow up with a special MACNA edition of the same series. In those earlier-mentioned articles, I talked a little bit about tweaking my setup and including some new elements to make the end images showcasing the fluorescent pigments in corals even better.
I’m working on a full-length article detailing my fluorescence photography setup and techniques, but just for the purpose of this coverage piece, let me explain the system I’ve used to take images at the most recent MACNA show.
The main workhorse camera I use for covering the reef show is a powerful full-frame Nikon D850. I used to experiment with a couple of lenses to achieve the desired effect- enhancing fluorescent pigments in coral tissue while blocking as much spillover light as possible- and I ended up liking the results coming out of the 100mm macro lens from Nikon the most. It’s a perfect lens reach combined with a short focusing distance that prompted me to use Nikkor 100mm f/2.8 Macro exclusively to take fluorescence shots. The tricky part with that combination comes with the fact that all my images are taken handheld, which is quite difficult given the fact macro lenses are very sensitive to even the smallest disturbances. To overcome that problem, I’ve used an off-camera flash mounted on the camera’s hotshoe, firing at either full or ½ power. I’ve also experimented with a couple of photographic gels (ROSCO brand) on the flash output to imitate fluorescence excitation light source and settled on a combination of deep blue and dark violet gels, stacked on one another, as it gave me the most satisfactory results.
Please let me know how you like the results and as always, thanks for reading. Oh, btw, two more parts coming up, alongside with tons more MACNA Coverage articles, so stay tuned and reef on!
fluorescence photography, macna macro