A Tip for Capturing Shy Creatures with Your Underwater Video

Undulate Triggerfish
Curious Undulate Triggerfish caught on video!

One of the challenges I have when taking underwater video is to be able to go near and capture shy creatures such as fishes. As soon as you exhale, the bubbles will usually send them scurrying away. Trying to get near to them can be difficult too.

Diving rebreathers can be an advantage here. But if you are not trained in rebreather diving or do not have access to rebreather equipment, here’s one solution that I use often when I want to be able to video a close up of these shy creatures: the idea is to place the video camera strategically and shooting in the direction where you would expect to see the creature. Then move away from the video camera and let it roll for a while. I usually move about 5m away from the video camera so I can see what is being captured yet stay far enough that the creature does not feel threatened and show itself.

Oh, there’s a few things you need to take into consideration too if you are going to be leaving your video camera somewhere. The underwater landscape can be pretty deceiving and if you’re not careful, you might not be able to find where you left your video camera.

If you’re shooting video on a pretty flat landscape, look around and notice any interesting formations you can use as reference points. Use your compass to note the direction you are shooting. Also use your compass and reference points, to navigate back to your video camera after the shoot.

If you’re shooting on a slope or near a wall, again, notice any interesting formations you can use as reference points. Take note of the depth you are at so when you come back looking for your video camera, you know at what depth your camera is at along the slope or wall.

Here’s a short clip of the result I got with the technique I described above.

If you’ve done something similar, share and let us know about it!