photographing seaweeds with a Canon Powershot part II

This friday, I tried my hand at some more underwater rock pool photography with my point-and-shoot Canon Powershot (see also here and here). This is both rewarding as the colours of seaweeds are so vivid and the textures so varied, and frustrating, as I cannot use the viewfinder and even if I could, lots of shots would be much better using a wider-angle lens. Also, I am often kicking up silt with my wellies and the nicest shots often are just out of reach. So next time, I should really photograph whilst snorkelling. (It would be great to use an SLR in an underwaterhousing. I bought a much cheaper and much more cumbersome ‘underwater-camera bag‘ without remembering that my old, not-so-frequently-used-anymore Canon EOS 400D does not have a viewfinder. I am afraid this will make the experience less, not more, fun…) Anyway, the trick for now is to take many pics and hope some turn out all right. I like the ones with a water surface reflection best. The nicest one was a snakelocks anemone among corraline algae. Next, what is may or may not be Sea flax weed Stypocaulon scoparium. After that, the brown Divided net weed  Dictyota dichotoma growing inbetween Discoid fork weed Polyides rotundus, a Bull huss/Nursehound/Large-spotted dogfish Scyliorhinus stellaris mermaid’s purse and a Spiny starfish Marthasterias glacialis. Probably more photos soon as the pools look by far the best in early spring.IMG_2708IMG_2683IMG_2577IMG_2644IMG_2602


7 thoughts on “photographing seaweeds with a Canon Powershot part II

  1. Beautiful pictures, really like the surfacewater mirror effect. This might be a new “thing” this rockpool photography 😉 Looking forward to more. Cant wait to get out myself, best time of the year for it but bloody cold 😉

    • Thanks Emilie! Have you explored the Hong Kong intertidal yet? It would be great to see some photos, I have no idea what to expect. I like the seaweed/rock pool pictures, but it is frustrating too as I know that they could be taken a lot better…perhaps I need to save up for a underwaterhousing for a Canon or Nikon with display and video capability (second hand). Would you have any recommendations?

  2. Hi Mick, Sorry for my late reply, I’ve been busy with work and not been on wordpress for a few days.

    For taking pictures of small objects close up you need either a) a macro wet lens which mounts or screws onto the outside of a standard underwater camera housing (e.g. for a compact) or b) a camera (e.g. an SLR or mirrorless) which allows you to change lenses and then buy a macro lens to put on it. And then you’d need the actual housing for that camera obviously. So option A is the cheaper. When I was using a compact, I experimented with wet macro lenses from Inon and also Subsee. Wet lenses come in different strengths. You might be able to pick up a second hand one. If the diameter of the wet lens is different from the diameter of the end of your compact’s housing, or if there is no screw fitting on the end of your housing, you might need to get a special adaptor to fit it on.

    However, when using a wet lens, (or indeed a dedicated macro lens) you might have difficulty focussing if you are shooting without looking through the viewfinder. The camera will have more glass to work through and a smaller area to focus on and you’ll find you need to be quite precise with your framing and composition, so you’ll probably need to get wet and snorkel.

    But actually I think you are getting really nice results doing what you are doing right now.

    I have not got round to doing intertidal photos in HK yet. My housing is being serviced after my big overseas diving trip! It is on the to do list as I find your photos very interesting. I need to identify some good spots. A lot of rocky sites in HK are far too exposed and get too much wave action, and sheltered places are muddy with mangroves. And seaweed in HK is seasonal with a lot in the spring (i.e. now) and hardly any for the rest of the year.

    Cheers, Emilie

    • Hi Emilie, thanks for your thoughts! Option A definitely sounds best for me. Have done some googling and a good option seems the Sony RX100(IV) + fantasea housing + wet macro and wide angle lens which seems to set me back around £1300….(+ a strobe would also be in order for diving of course). Need to think this over! This is a whole different category than the Canon powershot I have now, the good thing about being limited I guess is that the pressure to produce really good photos is not there! (as is the case using an iPhone above water instead of a camera).

      I did a quick search for Hong Kong intertidal as I was curious and did not find much but saw this blog where someone compares fossils with comparable living organisms: It has some pictures of horseshoe crabs at Ha Pak Nai which are very cool creatures, but you are right mud flats are not the most easy or fotogenic habitats! cheers Mick

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s