Just two days after photographing the snowflakes, my Aunt contacted me and told me that their Seahorse had babies and invited me over to take photos. Pretty funny timing since I had just taken the snowflake photos and had concluded that was my most challenging subject to date, and now I decided to take on Seahorses. Not adult Seahorses, baby Dwarf Seahorses. ;) In comparison of the snowflake photo outing, there were of course relative similarities in size of the snowflakes to the size of the Dwarf babies so my setup was exactly the same. Lens: Canon 100mm Macro and 3 Kenko Extension Tubes (12mm, 20mm, and 36mm) using a tripod. The lighting of the area was not setup well for photography and using the Extension Tubes cuts down the light even more. I didn’t want to move the aquarium table and risk disturbing the Seahorses so I just worked with the available lighting along with a lamp. With the snowflakes, I was able to set longer shutter speeds but I couldn’t do that as these little buggers never stopped moving. High ISO combined with low f/stop to achieve a high enough shutter speed combined with using the Macro/Extension Tube combo meant that the plane of focus was very narrow. Focusing in live-view was once again quite beneficial and this time I added a remote so that I could push a button to take the photo as soon as I achieved focus. Of course there is also the added complication of photographing through the glass and water but at least I wasn’t risking frostbite with these subjects ;)
Here is a fun little video I took using the same equipment. You can get a feel for how much the babies move, even though they are small movements they are constantly in motion which makes it very difficult to focus and capture before focus is lost. I stopped the video to snap the above photo with the Seahorse was looking directly towards the camera.
I read that it is estimated that the Dwarf Baby Seahorses are approximately 1/4″ at birth. I took a few pullback shots to try to show the scale of how incredibly tiny these creatures are that I was photographing. As you can see, I’ve indicated that the width of the aquarium is 16 inches and I have circled, in red, the Seahorse that was the subject of all of the photos and videos above.
And to try to show the scale again, here is a closer photo with the Seahorse circled.