by Jim Zuckerman
On the way home from my recent trip to India, I was waiting to go through the immigration line when I noticed that the New Delhi airport had an aquarium. I had never seen one in an airport before, so I got out of line and went over to see if there was a photo opportunity. I was rewarded with this unique species of starfish clinging to the glass. The dorsal surface, which I could see from the side view through the aquarium, was actually more dramatic than the ventral side facing outward. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a good angle on that. So I contented myself with doing close-ups of the underside of this bizarre yet beautiful creature.
I was carrying a cord with me that allows the use of off-camera flash. It connects the hotshoe on the camera to a socket in the base of the flash. Sometimes I carry the Pocket Wizard as well because it enables the wireless use of off-camera flash, but on this trip I only had the cord. In this instance, direct on-camera flash would have put a terrible reflection in the glass and ruined the shot. Holding the flash at an angle was my only option. I took a few shots holding my Canon Speedlite 580 at arm’s length, but then a man walked up to watch what I was doing and I enlisted his help. He was able to hold the flash further away and at a better angle to the glass – about 40 degrees to the lens axis.
The immediacy of digital technology allowed me to inspect the images to make sure I wasn’t getting any unwanted reflections. It also enabled me to show my assistant what we were accomplishing, and this kept him interested long enough to get several good pictures. I used a Canon 1Ds Mark II and a 50mm macro lens, and I hand held the camera.