A common subject shot differently!


Getting into strange positions comes part and parcel with trying to take photos of inaccessible subjects. It is an awesome skill to have and any photographer should strive to perfect their buoyancy, the importance of which has been stated countless times by others. For those of you that don’t know, what you’re looking at is called a Christmas Tree Worm.

Specifically you’re looking at both its mouth and its gills. It uses the feathery appendages to trap any prey that happens to floats into them, which is then drawn down into the body and directly into the worm’s digestive tract. At the same time the appendages allow the worm to breathe by extracting oxygen from the water. They are found virtually all along the tropics and come in every colour under the sun, to the point that it is probably impossible to see every variation in one’s lifetime.

I love taking photos of them; I have probably taken too many photos of them. I have pictures of Christmas Tree Worms on their own, in groups, with bright blue backgrounds and have used exposure differential to create contrasting black backgrounds when necessary. It’s safe to say that I have photographed them so much that I have almost run out of ideas with what to do to make the photo different. But this in itself is a challenge and in this respect I come back to what I was originally talking about.

This specific Christmas Tree Worm was tucked underneath a small ledge that had barely any room for my camera let alone enough room for me. I was obsessed with the idea of shooting it in a way that made the surface become the background in the hopes of catching the ripples and the way the light angled off in different ways. However as I couldn’t see the LCD screen on the back of my camera I couldn’t see the composition and check the focus. In essence in order to shoot this photo I would have to ‘fire blind’. But that wasn’t the only problem… I also had to hover upside down, tilted at a slight angle on my back AND hold the camera upside down, pointing back at me. This was the position I ended up in and it took a lot of trial and error to find it. I probably spent the best part of 20 minutes just working out how to shoot it. The background isn’t quite what I had pictured, but bearing in mind the position the subject was in and how I had to shoot it, I’m pleased with the result. Either way, I hope you like it because I know I had an awesome time photographing it!