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Wide angle colour blindness

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At the beginning of this year I dived in the spectacular waters around Misool. It was a great opportunity to forget about my usual macro photography and go for wide angle. Although sea life was at its best, the relatively strong currents made it difficult to take shots with much control. In addition, it usually was quite dark under water, as our divemaster mostly took us to 15 to 20 meter depth and the water at times was full of plankton. Here my idea of ‘colour blindness' came in, the surprise you get when the strobes light up the scene. The dark blue reefs, of which our travel friendly torches just lighted some pieces, were full of colour. I did not fully realise it looking at my shots in the viewfinder, but got a pleasant surprise afterwards.

Videographers with their permanent lights won’t have this WYSINWYG handicap. Photographers that know the species at their dive site, or only shoot macro, also not. However, especially when it comes to gorgonians and sponges at depth, we often cannot predict the outcome.


In wide angle photography this phenomenon prevents the use of colours in our compositions (unless you spend much time on one site) . For me it isn’t a great handicap, I like the surprise. Now I wonder, are there many underwater-photographers that pay attention to colour combinations?



The first shot revealed an unexpected variety of colours. 



Taking this shot I knew what I would get, the species are well known. 


Edited by Floris Bennema
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Beautiful photos.

This is a very common phenomenon here in the Mediterranean where animal forests usually start below 30 metres.

Experience and knowledge of the different species help in the composition.


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