The underwater world is a beautiful place and it becomes more amazing the more often you go diving or snorkeling. For new divers, everything seen on a dive is of interest because it’s all new. For divers that have been diving a long time, many fish and coral species have been seen time and time again so to keep diving fresh it pays to look for macro life. Underwater Macro Photography, is extreme close up shots of very small creatures such as Nudibranchs and Shrimp.

Underwater Macro Photography On Whip Coral

It may sound like macro life is impossible to find but, for most underwater macro photograhers, that is partly the fun, searching for them. Underwater photographer or not, the hunt for underwater macro photography is a rewarding challenge despite sometimes being unsuccessful. There are however, ways of minimizing search times and increasing our chances of finding the next tiny creature.

For example, we don’t want to just have our eyes glued to every millimeter of rock, coral and sand. This would mean we miss bigger things swimming past and it would make for an uninteresting dive. Firstly, think about what you want to look for e.g. Nudibranchs, shrimp etc. If we are keeping it as vague as whole class or sub-classes of creatures then think about what species are in the area you’re diving. Ask local guides, read books and check online before getting there so you have an idea of what you are likely to find

Bubble Shrimp Underwater Macro Photography

Once you have narrowed it down, think about what your subject needs for example, shelter and food. Shrimp can often be found in caves, overhangs and cracks in rocks. Many Nudibranchs feed on hydroids, which are white, dead looking, plants found on the sea floor. The clue to finding certain creatures is often the name. Bubble shrimp, for example, can be found by closely looking at bubble coral. They can be found by looking for the bright purple joints of these other wise tiny transparent crustaceans. Whip Goby’s, Zanzibar Shrimp, Saw Blad Shrimp and Xeno Crabs can be found clinging onto the long thin whip corals. A tip for locating whip coral inhabitants is to keep your hand behind the whip, without touching it, and keeping it at eye level. Anything living on the whip will instinctively move round the other side from any potential danger. In this case your hand is closer to the whip than your face so they will move around the coral so you are able to see them. Another thing to consider is timing. Painted Gobies (common in the cold waters of the UK), for example, typically fight during mating season, a time, which is short, and around early summer each year. Many fish, including clown fish, will lay eggs around the full moon when tides are stronger so that when they hatch, the young are spread far and wide to minimize competition for space in the anemone. To see the eggs and even watch them develop over the course of a few days, first you must time it right and then watch out for the most dominant males tending to the eggs.

Beautiful Nudiebranch

With a little planning and knowledge, we can minimize searching time for desired macro life leaving more time to enjoy the rest of the dive. However, if you’re like me using the remainder of the dive perfecting your underwater macro photography.

At Sairee Cottage Diving our dive masters love showing off their macro skills in the warm waters of Koh Tao.

Come and find some for yourself

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