The bobtail squid that Todd Bretl captured in this night shot taken in Anilao, a popular diving spot on Luzon in the Philippines, measures about an inch in diameter, and it's typical of the small subjects Todd prefers. "Macro photography is more of a controlled circumstance underwater," he says. "If you're photographing a shark, you can't be messing around with your lighting; you get one shot and that's it. But most of the small critters stay put, and there are a lot of them around so you can try different things."
Todd took the photo with a D7000 and an AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED lens at 1/320 second, f/11 and ISO 320, with the camera set for manual exposure and spot metering. The D7000 was in a Nauticam NA-D7000 housing with two Sea & Sea YS-250PRO underwater strobes attached. Also clipped on was a Light & Motion Sola 1200 dive light to provide a small amount of constant illumination to aid the camera's AF system.
Todd spent a lot of time underwater looking for this particular shot. "Normally these squid bury themselves in the sand, but this one was swimming around, and this spread out, defensive and somewhat threatening display was, I think, on account of it seeing its own reflection in the housing port."
The photo has taken a few awards, and Todd suspects it has inspired imitation. His guide from the Philippines reports getting non-stop inquiries on Facebook and in e-mail from people wishing to go to the exact same spot to try to find this photo op.
Here's looking at you, squid.