As a photographer, it’s important to understand that even if you have fine-tuned technical skills and can do all sorts of fancy stuff with your equipment, you must also have a good dose of creativity added to your workflow to produce the desired results.
When we were in Australia, we discovered some beautiful sea anemones. Unfortunately, they were closed up during low tide. As the water in their tidal pool decreases, the anemones close to preserve the nutrients while they wait for high tide to return.
To be able to capture their brilliance, my first step was to open the anemones. To do this, I filled up a water bottle with fresh sea water and poured it into the anemones’ pool. I poured it in such a way to simulate the natural tidal conditions with splashes of water and bubbles. After about 30-60 seconds, the anemones opened and displayed their true brilliant colors. At this point, my technical skills could then be used to set up the shot I wanted. Creativity is not something you can learn from a textbook and is unique for each situation.
After I set up the shot, I realized that the sun, along with enhancing the anemone’s brilliant color and the underwater details, was also creating a harsh distracting shadow behind the anemone. I tried a variety of methods ranging from different filters to using my hands in an attempt to remove the shadow… but I had no luck. I finally used a diffuser to create an even shine on the anemone which then removed the harsh shadow. The diffuser had to be carefully placed – if it was too close to the subject it would create a reflection that would decrease the desired underwater contrast.
The take-away message from this article? You must always carry an extra Dose of creativity along with your photography equipment and fine-tuned technical skills.