How to focus on "black" subjects

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Postby critter-hunter » Sat May 22, 2010 7:33 am

I've tried capturing black frog fish without much success, can some one offer a tip on this common problem ? I shoot a Nikon D300.
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Postby DevilDiver » Sat May 22, 2010 10:21 am

Are you using a focus light? If not you should consider it, could be a huge help with dark subjects and low light situations (macro).

Just a thought...

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Postby critter-hunter » Mon May 24, 2010 3:06 am

Yes I've used a focus light during low light or night dives, the camera just keeps searching with auto focus.
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Postby scottg » Tue May 25, 2010 7:08 am

The camera needs contrast to focus, and a black object has very little. Do have your C/S/M switch on "C" or "S". Having it on "C" will allow you to take the shot when the subject is in focus.

Scott Gietler Owner/Editor, Underwater Photography Guide & Bluewater Photo http://www.uwphotographyguide.com http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com

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Postby Critternut » Wed May 26, 2010 3:18 pm

Hey Larry, Mike here. Yes shooting a black subject is tough, regardless of the light, your subject is still going to be black.
Contrast is exactly what your camera needs.
Scotty eluded to the nomenclature of the camera controls, but allow me to expand a bit

first and foremost, black froggies are tough to shoot. When i am composing a photo of frogfish in particular, there are a couple things i want. The eye has to be tight, lure extended is optional and yawning is always fun too,
What does this mean, it means relying on your technique.

Techniques:
1-Find contrasting colors, single spot metered with manual controls Focus on the edge of your subject/background, hold the shutter 1/2 way and re-compose, fire the frame

2-Focus on the eye-using your AF point directly over the subjects eye(rhinophores etc) the contrasting colors in the eye or the star around the eye should be enough. Even try using the Lure, often time that is enough as well

3-focus lock.There should be a thumb activated lever on the back of your housing that allows you to lock focus anytime without removing your eye from the viewfinder.

4-Switching the camera onto Manual focus-last resort option but effective as well. Behaves the same way as focus lock because, well it is locked. Adjust your focus by moving your camera back and forth.
Image ImageImage
Using the focus lock also allows you to fire your Ikleite strobes as fast as you can, 1/2 power means even dumps no problem

Hope this helps larry, good luck!

Mike Bartick~ Critternut
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Postby critter-hunter » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:48 am

Hey Mike,

Slow responding to your help, great info with lots of things to try. I missed too many black frogs the last couple years cussing underwater at the camera and it was me all along !
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