Snoot? whats that?

Underwater photography goes through trends but some of these trends stick because they survive the test of time and become a genuinely useful additional tool to add to your underwater photography skill set.
One such trend is underwater photographers using snoots. So we will look at what a snoot is, and then what it does.

What is a snoot?

A snoot is a device that attaches to a light source , in most instances a strobe or flashlight. It allows you to narrow the beam of light down to a much smaller area, creating a spotlight in effect. They come in various shapes and sizes of outlet hole, to vary the size of the spot of light. They are commercially available, for most models of underwater strobe. And are usually made by small third party manufacturers. They have been available for many years for on land photographers, but are a relative newcomer on the underwater photography scene.

Here are a couple of examples, yes the first one is a flexible snoot to allow you to point a very small beam in all sorts of directions. The second is one I made from the cut off top of a 1.5L water bottle. I then covered it with tinfoil and tape, to prevent light loss from anywhere other than the bottle top end. I just pushed it onto the strobe head and secured it with a bit of tape.

Fibre Optic Snoot
This was a fibre optic snoot actually designed to fit onto a very specific light, however it was easy to repurpose for my Inon s2000 with another bit of duct tape.
Scuba Travel, Snoot, Home made snoot.
This is the snoot I made from a 1.5L plastic bottle, some foil and duct tape, not very pretty but it worked. It just pushed over my strobe,and I made it secure with a piece of tape.

Why use it?

A snoot allows you to narrow the area of illumination to a small area of the shot, therefore you can focus the viewers attention on just that small area like with this below. I took this with the flexible snoots very narrow beam.

Scuba Travel, Snoot, nudibranchs
Here, you can see the very narrow angle beam of the fibre optic snoot, just lighting the head of the nudibranch.

And this with the home made wider angle beamed snoot, under the jetty at Maluku Divers.

Scuba Travel, Snoot, Lionfish
A snooted snout, of a hungry Lionfish, under the pier close to Maluku Divers.

Click here for the next chapter of our series on snoots. I will look at picking suitable subjects, successfully aiming the light, and thinking a little bit about the composition involved.