August 27th, 2011

underwater macro week #4

Denise sea horses on gorgonian fan, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia

Nikon D300 + Sigma 70mm, strobes Sea&Sea YS-250 x 2

this is embedded JPEG scaled and sharpened for screen

Location on Google maps

Wikipedia reference

Yet another super-popular subject for amateur macro-shooters like myself - pygmy seahorses ! There are several species of them - all discovered relatively recently - which highlights again how little we know about life in the ocean. One pictured above called denise pygmy seahorse - "Hippocampus Denise" in formal Latin. It is named after photographer Denise Tackett whom discovered this specie in 2002 - or to be more precise pointed out differences with Hippocampus Bargibanti. So less than 10 years ago it was not recorded - making it very fresh wonder of the sea - and also it is smallest of all seahorses - and I think cutest too !

Adult denise seahorses usually about 1.5cm tall. They spend their lives hanging with tail to the gorgonian fan branches. When photographed they tend to turn their backs to the camera, which makes them demanding subject - I spent 20 minutes near that fan trying to get sequence of images containing one above.

I want to give my readers chance to feel themselves as macro world explorers armed with the magnifying glass - below is the 1:1 pixel zoom into the original image where you can see a lot detail of these amazing creatures. You also will see why I'm such big fan on Sigma 70mm macro lens - it produces extremely sharp picture - I did not apply on purpose any sharpening to this image:

Zoom In !

BTW one of our friends from previous posts of macro week is big fan of these seahorses - but mostly in gastronomic way :-D !

One image from the same sequence as one above was exhibited among three of my winning photos on Golden Turtle during March this year. This is interesting achievement for me - I won numerous competitions - some very prestigious - with my wide-angle shots - but never before had macro photo I shot taking any award - denise seahorses became my lucky subject which makes them very special to me ! :-)