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uw photography for beginners...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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neoprene dreamer
Aug 22, 2001
I just developed my uw pictures from the red sea, and got some of them scanned, well they turned out ok, but the colour was almost only blue when pictures were taken at greather depth than few meters. I would like to know if there is any cheaper way to get good colours in pictures, but buyn a million dollar uw flash and all that and if there is no way to get quality photos with tight budjet, I guess I am out of luck on that.
do you guys take photographs underwater? frediveing or with tanks?
Well thanks for a great forum and here is a picture of Napoleon Fish at about 10m depth no flash 400 fuji film


  • napoleon.jpg
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i photograph while freediving. i just recently got into a new setup but i've gotten quite a few good shots with just a point and shoot.

this post might help you a bit, or at least get an idea of experience of the people who helped me out.

to start, you have to remember that water in any sense is just a big ol' filter. the more distance you have between you and your subject, the darker the subject will appear and the darkness will increase as you get deeper(away from the sunlight).

there are so many factors in uw photography, you should think about picking up a few books on the subject. i've picked the brains of several professionals, including Cliff Etzel here on Deeper Blue. i'm sure he'll drop in for some advice for you as well.

next time you're in the water, you should try some different things while shooting. experiment with getting as close to your subject as possible, and that's if they don't mind ;) . when you get your pictures developed, you'll see a tremendous difference in color, even without using a flash, with the closeups as opposed to the distance shots. also keep in mind the amount of ambient light that's reaching your subject.

but again, there are so many different factors in photography. i think it all depends on what you are trying to acheive. everyone has their own style. i guess if you were to choose a published photo and say "hey, i like that. i want my pictures to look like that", then we'd be able to tell you exactly what you need or how to go about getting as close to it as possible with your setup.


ps. also, there are a few ways to bring color into your shots. you can either start with the processing(kodak is promoting uw photo development) or you can adjust colors in your scanned pictures through photo-editing software. i use photoshop.
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uw photo

thank you andrsn, I'll have to try that close up and experiment some more, I guess there is nothing better than experience in shooting underwater.. although I don't know when is the next time...
Well thanks Andrsn

PS. would you mind showing some of your uw photos? if not here you could send them to me to my e-mail?
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Few, looked fantastic to me... you are a good photographer compared to mine..:) But hey I'll try to improve as I keep diveing.
What kind of equipment were you useing?
my financial situation don't really allow other that disposable, but perhaps next summer or sometime, rental perhaps..

all those pictures were with Canon's uw point and shoot. no stobes or anything, just its own flash when a flash was used. its only downfall is that 20ft is about max depth. we've had it down to 30ft.

sea&sea makes an affordable mx5. also ikelite has a great little setup that's still affordable. they have a housing for disposables and point and shoots that's rated to at least 20m.

i went to digital and bought a relatively inexpensive housing for it. i also purchased a video light for my flash. i've already promised everyone feedback on it's performance so i'll include you too.

Having been a photographer for over 20 years has taught me a few things...

The skills and techniques never change, ony the tools you use.

I myself made the switch to digital imaging after having shot film for so long. I specialized in fine art b/w and have a few of my commercial images on my website here.

There aren't any u/w images here, but it should give you an idea of what kind of work I have done.

A couple of simple things to remember when shooting film underwater:

  • shoot at a minimum of 1/125th sec if using available light, otherwise, shoot at flash synch accordingly
  • try to shoot at a minimum of f/5.6 to f/8 and be there as the photojournalism adage goes.
  • try to have the flash off to one side to minimize backscatter
  • there is nothing wrong with shooting color print film - it was my film of choice when shooting ambient light images - try shooting ISO 400 or 800 if the water isn't too great
  • using an FLD (30cc Magenta) filter will add some color back to images shot in the first 10 - 15 feet of water, but it comes at a loss of about 2/3 of a stop
  • A typical ratio of keepers is one image out of a roll. Now shooting digital takes that out of the equation

I will post more when I get a chance - the weather has started to turn here in the Pacific Northwest and I am going to be pool bound for quite awhile training.

Hope this helps...
thnaks Cliff

Thnakns for tips, I'll try to remember them when I get to shoot again... the weather has turned cold here as well...I don't know how it is in UK though..perhaps I'll be shooting sooner than I think....
Thank you
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