This past Saturday, Rod Morris and the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre, hosted a coastal marine photography workshop.
Rod Morris is a wildlife photographer and filmmaker, with more than three decades of experience. He is a co-author of the Collins Field Guide to the NZ Seashore with Sally Carson, Director of the NZ Marine Studies Centre. The workshop covered photography down on the seashore, macro-photography indoors, how photography can be used to monitor biodiversity and to better understand changes in the marine environment.
With over 30 people in attendance, everyone learned about Rod’s tips and tricks of photographing marine animals and plants. The morning was spent on the rocky shore of the Portobello Marine Laboratory to put their new skills to the test. Many were using towels to protect their cameras, containers to prevent animals from running away, and umbrellas to soften the light of the bright sun.
After lunch, the workshop headed into the touch tanks at the Studies Centre to get up close and personal with creatures. Many were able to practice some of the set ups that Rod had explained, such as taking the animals or plants out of their environments and creating a blank canvas to focus on one specific organism. For example, some put sand with colours they preferred on a white tray with a glass slide to separate the animal from the sand, so it could not burrow. Another issue with photographing marine organisms is that they live in saltwater, which is filled with floating plant material, waste from animals, and salt. The solution is to use coffee filters to filter out any particles in the water for crystal clear photos.
The day ended with a presentation from Rob Lewis, an educator at NZMSC, who spoke about an app called iNaturalist. This app allows anyone to upload your photos of marine life and help with identification.
Keep an eye out for another workshop like this one in the future!
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