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How to Take Clear Macro Photos

Muck sticks are the secret to stable macro photos without the blur.
By Brent Durand | Authored On August 13, 2021
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How to Take Clear Macro Photos

BrentDurand.MacroPhotog.ScubaDivingMagazine.August2021

Macro Photography

Brent Durand

Macro photography opens our eyes to the intricate details of the underwater world. Diving slowly, we inspect each coral and plant, hoping to spot macro life and highlight the creature’s unique features in a carefully composed frame.

A muck stick is an often overlooked tool used to stabilize the camera while composing macro images. Also called a pointer stick or macro stick, this thin aluminum rod can be used as a makeshift monopod that offers stabilization without damaging the reef. You can easily clip it to your BCD when not in use.

How To Use A Muck Stick

Ensuring precise buoyancy allows you to hover close to your subject without touching the reef. Gently place the tip of the muck stick on bare reef or sand to stabilize your body, and your camera on the top of the stick. Now focus on composing and capturing the shot.

After capturing the photo, gently push yourself away from the reef with the muck stick. No need to kick with fins or inflate your BCD. The momentum gained from pushing off the stick will lift you several feet off the reef. This is especially useful when muck diving, where any motion can create silt and ruin photo opportunities in that area for minutes.

Muck sticks are very affordable, and essential for all macro photographers. The stick can also be used to tap your tank and draw the attention of your dive buddy.