I regard reef shows as an excellent practice ground for macro reef photography and when it comes to the abundance of photographic subjects, it can’t get better than Reefapalooza. The first day of the show, I took only straight up macro pictures, using a Nikon DSLR camera paired with a 105mm Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 Macro Lens, a small hot-shoe mounted flash with a blue gel over its xenon-filled glass tube, and a steady enough hand of the camera’s operator. Yup, I had to handhold these images, as the acceptance level for a dude setting up his tripod to take 20 images of the same coral, blocking access to the frag racks full of goodies just waiting to be taken home, currently hovers around 0%. On the second day, I modified my equipment and added a Deep Yellow screw-on filter (the kind that was produced in the film era of photography to deepen the contrast and dramatically darken the sky in black&white landscape photography) and switched the gel on the flash to a purple-dark blue one, to convert the light source to a fluorescence-exciting (causing other things to fluoresce) one. Post-processing consisted of moving a couple of sliders in Adobe CameraRAW program:
- Shadows slider slightly to the left to deepen the shadows and enhance the fluorescent pigments
- Texture slider to the right to further sharpen the image
Below are a few more images of corals that showed the most promising fluorescence abilities.