A Shark Eye shell is in the spotlight. Shark eye is a type of moon snail. Moon snails are predatory snails that live along the Atlantic coast. The snail feeds on bivalves like clams and scallops. It drills a neat, round hole to access the animal within the shell. Bivalve shells with these holes are common, too. The shark eye lives in the sand below tide line. This particular shell was a souvenir from a trip to an east coast beach several years ago. I am not sure which one; somewhere between New Jersey and North Carolina.
I took this image of the shark eye in our new Merax One Shot Photo Studio. I had one light on a stand to the left. The primary light, forming a spotlight-like effect, was a strong LED flashlight. I laid the camera on the table. The lens was a Nikon 60mm f/2.8 AF Micro-nikkor which we recommend as the best cheap macro lens for Nikon. The autofocus in this lens does not function smoothly at macro distances. Resting on the table without a tripod to fix in place makes it hard to access the manual focus without disrupting the framing. So, I got close with manual focus, then physically moved the shell itself into the plane of focus. I handheld the flashlight with one hand and tripped the shutter with the other.
The camera was a Nikon D90. ISO 200, 60mm, f/11, 1/250. In post processing I used Aperture to enhance the color and contrast. The extreme vignette is straight from the camera, not from post-process manipulation.
My favorite thing about the picture is that it is reminiscent of a planet rise in distant solar system, perhaps a swirly-clouded gas giant viewed from tone of its attendant moons.