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Fixing color of UW pix

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Randy Quimpo

New Member
Mar 13, 2002
You asked me to share, here it is. I'm not much of a Photoshop guy myself, but I do know enough to cheat my way out of a fix (in this case, fix an underwater shot).

Attached here is one of the shots you had originally posted - you can see that it has too much cyan/blue in it.

From what I know, some underwater photogs attach a RED filter to get rid of some of this blue color. So what I have done is to simulate this filter in Photoshop - see my next post for details on this.


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more on fixing uw pix

I created a new layer that is plain red (red=255, green=0, blue=0) and I set its transparency to about 35%. To the left of the opacity slider is a menu that shows the transparency modes - I have selected "hue", in other words, the red layer affects only the hue of the layer beneath it. Merge the two layers down - you will notice that the pix has more red in it now. Go to image-adjust-color balance. In the sliders below, reduce the cyan and blue, and do the same and fiddle some more with the settings of the shadow and luminosity untill it looks right to you.

You can also try to Image-adjust-autolevels the resulting image - this works nicely for me most of the time (fixes the contrast range nicely)

Hope that's enough for you. I am attaching a copy of the adjusted picture for your appreciation in a later post.


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i'm with ya. i'll definitely be going to with a strobe soon, though.

thanks for the tip!
Never thougth about it

but even pictures taken with a good old $9 throw-away-underwater camera can turn out good for printing and viewing as compared to the actual photo - thanks for the photoshop hints.


P.S. just not good to look down and your wrist in 50' of water and see it still attached by ruberband....


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B/W is my preferred medium...

Here are the same images I took of Brett LeMaster while at the Performance Freedive Clinic

Camera: Olympus C2000Z
Housing: Olympus PT-007 housing
Lens: Inon 100 degree u/w lens
Exposure: 1/60 @ f/5.6 SHQ ISO 400

The b/w version I feel is far superior from an artistic pov. In Photoshop 6, you can manipulate images to closely match the zone system by changing the curves option from 4 points to 10 - the same as using the zone system for exposing b/w film. Works very well in my opinion.


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nice stuff

I agree Cliff, (stand up, you read correctly...) the BW is the better image from a purely visual stand. Makes me want to 86 my F1 gear and go EOS...

More photoshop fixes

Here are some shots from my first try shooting underwater. The shots on the left are unretouched, the shots on the right are fixed with a simple "auto level" adjustment.

Amazing what Photoshop can do, no? Kinda nice how the turtle seems to be floating in air (with a drop shadow beneath it).

Incidentally, I cheated - these aren't open water shots. The resort I went to had a shark pool where I got shots of the shark, the turtle, and a grouper (not included here).


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