VISIONS Insight: Stratosphere Zoanthid

23 Jan, 2020

Just what exactly went into creating the Stratosphere Zoanthid portrait captured by Michael Vargas, and published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue?

Just what exactly went into creating the Stratosphere Zoanthid portrait captured by Michael Vargas, published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue?

CORAL Magazine Photographer Michael Vargas shares insights on how he creates his stunning photography. In this installment, the Stratosphere Zoanthid, featured in the January/February 2020 REEF VISIONS column.

I always said that photographing Statosphere Zoanthids (Strats) was one of the last things on my bucket list. When I owned them I was still learning how to take a photo, but my Strats melted (like everyone else’s in the hobby) before I ever captured a good image. I really thought they were gone from captivity until I learned that Shane B. Backer/SBB Corals still had them.

How I Got the Shot

When I look at a coral, I consider a couple things: How is it going to look as a portrait, and what can I do to compliment the coral?

For this photoshoot, we posed the subject with a WWC Bounce Mushroom in the background for color contrast. The disc the Strat frag was on was trimmed, and we tilted the subject slightly for composition.

We used 2 Kessil A360x to light the coral, and the photographs were captured with a Nikon D850.

Getting to the Result

The final image is a composite of multiple images, blended at different apertures so you still get a nice blurry background and focus on the subject. In the process of photographing the Strats, the one on the left stopped cooperating and the mouth started to gape, so I took a portion of the mouth from an earlier shot and used that for the final image.

A high resolution watermarked version of the printed image, shared so you can see the detail captured. The original image is more than double this size still!

A high-resolution watermarked version of the printed image, shared so you can see the detail captured. The original image is more than double this size!

Related Posts

About the author

Reef To Rainforest
Reef To Rainforest

Reef to Rainforest Media, LLC is the publisher of award-winning magazines and books in the fields of aquarium keeping, aquatics, and marine science. It is the English-language publisher of CORAL Magazine and is based in Shelburne, Vermont, USA.

Leave a reply

Receive FREE e-Newsletters from the editors of CORAL Magazine.

Sign up to get interesting news and updates delivered to your inbox.

Thank you! You have successfully subscribed to the CORAL Magazine e-newsletter.