John Collins Photography | Supermacro Underwater

Supermacro Underwater

December 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

The term 'supermacro' is often used to describe making photos of small subjects that make them appear larger than life-size. In other words, photographing really small life and making it dominate the image. In the above portrait of a seahorse, taken during a recent workshop in Lanzarote, the face is about 2-3 cm, so getting this close to the animal and then making the photo require some special equipment, techniques and lots of patience.

I find this kind of photography also requires a particular mindset – you have to be mentally prepared to work slowly and calmly or else it can be super-frustrating rather than supermacro! You also need to have put in some preparation to plan what types of animals, marine life or absract studies you visualise in your mind, before the dive. Ideally, you will have dived the area and are familiar with the site and these dives must not be technically challenging in terms of depths, times, current or tide. It is zen and the art of photographing small things underwater.

Equipment-wise, you need a macro or close-up lens to start, and then add a magnifying dioptre to allow you to focus really close. I use the Nauticam Supermacro Converter (SMC), which is a threaded 67mm fitting and a flip dioptre holder to allow this to be quickly moved into place. A really good focus light is essential and I will use 1-3 flash (strobe) guns to light the subject, one of which will have a snoot to create a really narrow beam of light.


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