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Underwater Photography Take 1

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Oct 8, 2002
Here is my first attempt at freedive photography with a cheapass camera rated to 5m :D

Here is a Sea Bass.

Can someone please tell me where I am going wrong other than getting a better camera which I know ;)
Looks like you have pretty clear water there! We've had lots of winds, almost snow and my veggie soup is clearer than the sea right now :(

I don't see anything particularly wrong with the pics considering the camera you have. I'm supposing it's a throw-away? Probably has a plastic uncoated lens which makes for the garish colours (unless you overdosed on photoshop ;) ) and the lens flare.

Most of the time when we start shooting underwater we are dissapointed by how blue everything is. That's because red gets absorbed awfully quickly as one gets deeper or if the subject is far away. To compensate for this lots of people use wideangle lenses that allow you to get closer to the subject resulting in less water between you and it so you end up with a clearer and more colorful shot. Anyway, tell us what you would like changed in the pictures and more details about the camera, and if you used negative film or slides. Good start and nice fish around there. We have an exhibition running in the Dunas Hotel in Estepona but unfortunately I wasn't able to get down there, otherwise I would have looked you up!

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I'm in no way an underwater photo expert (or any other kind of photo-expert), but my guess is:

in the first sea bass pictures, you where lower than the fish, thus aiming a bit upwards, and the glare is comming for the water surface.
and in the picture that shows you, maybe you should put more emphasis on shooting when the sun is behind you (ot the guy who shots you :) ).

I'm just guessing though.
experementing is the best way, you might get some nice results even if unexpected.

post more. :)
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Hey guys thanks for you feedback.

Adrian, I have not altered the fish pics. That purplish red algae is all over the place here. Its like velcro and sticks to the suit.

I darkened the ones of me a bit as there were a lot of particles reflected off the flash and the image was a bit too bright.

I know Hotel Las Dunas Well. Let me know if you come down any time.

MICHAEL: I will try your tips. I might get a better camera. Any one you recommend? Digital or not?



1- Get as close as possible, and then go a little closer.;)

2- tTrn off any flash that is built into a camera- they are too close to the lens and cause back scatter. better to fix the clor in a photoshop prgram later on than have spots.

3- Use negative film instead fo slide becasue you have a lot more latiitude with your eposures- I think 4-5 f-stops.

4- Try to shoot up whenver possible, never shoot down onto a reef because everything all blends in.

5- Get the widest angle lens you can affod- which allows you to get even closer to your subject.

6- Freedive, not scuba, so you can get close without scaring away the fish.

7 Did I mention get close to your subject yet?;)

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It's the number one rule in undwerwater photography.

I've been trying to pound it into Ted lately when I 've let him shoot video with my dome port. With that thing on you need to be only a foot or two away from the subject and this seems alien to people used to shooting on land where you can easily stand back 5'-10' and get the shot.

Amny times you don't even take the picture, with a wide angle lens, unless your close enough totouch the subject. The more water you can reduce in fortn of the lens the better the picutres will be.

Getting close is so important, especially in really bad vis. In bad vis you can make it look ike a clear day if youronly a foot or two away.

We recently had NHK televison up here shooting video for a documentory on Zebra Mussels. The vis was awful when they were here- big storms, and big brown waves of silt stirred water pounding down on everything for a week. It didn't pahse them a bit as they just got right up next to the things, which are small to begin with, and got some really good shots.

Man a documentary on mussels!

Edge of your seat stuff HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I will take your advice.

What is a good starting underwater video camera for some spearing action?
Not the most exciting creature in the world, but they have improved our vis from less than 5' on some wrecks to over 65' on the same wreck

We're just using our 5050's in video mode to shoot right now. As far as a starter system you oculd look into TOP DAWG housing, they are the budget line made by Light and Motion.

If I had the cash to spend I would look into an OCEANHAUS housing. They are the smallest ones around, so you could mount them onto your gun without hardly noticing them. They are made otu of almuminum and fit the cameras like a seocnd skin.

Other than that, I really don't know too much about video. Cliff would be the guy to chime in about that stuff. The HDTV video camera system that the NHK film crew weighed 70 pounds- not something to drag around while spearing!

So have you guys put the mussels on the wreck yourselves??

I will look at the range of cameras next weekend at the European Dive Show.

I've tried to put some picts as well, here the result.


  • poulpil-agachon.jpg
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Originally posted by shaneshac
Hey guys thanks for you feedback.
MICHAEL: I will try your tips. I might get a better camera. Any one you recommend? Digital or not?
I think Jon answered far better than I'm able to.
I can only comment about the digital vs. normal, and I don't know much about models, but only that you should be sure that the housing for the model you are about to buy is affordable - I can't afford the 400$ housing for my nikon coolpix 4300 for example, it's rediculous that the housing costs as much as the camera did.

And I'd say defenitly digital.
I'de say it takes hundreds of picrtures to gain a proper skill, and being able to shoot the same object from different angles/settings is important. (same goes for spearing? :D)
Try doing that with a normal camera, and reload film every 36 shots (remember, you're in water). the shooting sessions would be too short for my taste.
and I think you also save money in the long run.
That sums up my advise. My technical knowledge is quite small.

Looking forward for more pictures. :)
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