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Thread: Under the Water

  1. #1
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Under the Water

    This year I've decided (granted we're now in the middle of February) that I would focus on the areas of photography that I enjoy and to the most of at the moment. The first type probably isn't suitable for a learning forum so I'm afraid you miss out on that My other main photography stream is now underwater photography, a passion that I continue to explore because of the unique photos I find myself being able to take.

    Aside from the vast array of aquatic life that I continue to discover under the water, light behaves very differently as well. Coupled with the fact that I'm actually using a compact camera rather than an SLR, I have to remember to breath underwater, and the fact that water (with me in it) never seems to keep still make for a fascination photographic journey.

    I thought I would actually share my complete underwater collection just so you can see my progress since April last year as I've evolved an underwater photographer. It's certainly been an interesting journey and I know I've got a long way to go.

    So without further adieu, here are some of my very first underwater photos.

    Under the Water

    This photo was my very first underwater photo. It was taken on what I think was my 7th dive, which also happened to be my second ever night dive in a place that I'd not been to before. All in all, a recipe for disaster for a rookie diver, let alone rookie underwater photographer. I later found out that the lion fish, part of the scorpion fish family, are actually quite dangerous.

    Under the Water

    This photo is amongst my very early photos as well, capturing what is known as a sunburst, when the water breaks through and create some interesting light patterns.

    Incidentally, if anyone also wants me to post photos in this thread of things that go wrong with underwater photography, let me know. I personally find that learning from mistakes can be a much faster way of learning from getting things right... even if it can be a bit humbling

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    This year I've decided (granted we're now in the middle of February) that I would focus on the areas of photography that I enjoy ...
    That seems pretty reasonable and given the standards you set for yourself, I for one look forward to seeing the images.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    Incidentally, if anyone also wants me to post photos in this thread of things that go wrong with underwater photography, let me know. I personally find that learning from mistakes can be a much faster way of learning from getting things right... even if it can be a bit humbling
    It is highly unlikely that I will ever be in the position of wanting to apply learning in respect of underwater photography; i.e. I don't think I'll ever be doing it, but that doesn't stop me wanting to understand what the challenges (and their solutions) are.

  3. #3
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    It is highly unlikely that I will ever be in the position of wanting to apply learning in respect of underwater photography; i.e. I don't think I'll ever be doing it, but that doesn't stop me wanting to understand what the challenges (and their solutions) are.
    It's not always about sea life you know. You can take some pretty interesting portrait photos as well...

    Under the Water

    Of course, there is always the issue of your weather

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Another one of my very early underwater photographs. My set up at the time was simply an Olympus XZ-1 with an Olympus PT-050 underwater housing, using the internal flash for additional lighting. For those of you that are curious about underwater camera gear, for any reasonable photo you'll need some sort of camera with manual controls. Light works a little bit differently underwater and so it helps to have a camera that you can control the settings on - which rules out most of the purpose built underwater cameras - which can only go down to a few meters in depth anyway.

    So, why not just take an SLR down underwater with the appropriate underwater housing? Because as a rule of thumb the underwater housing for a camera is at least the same price as the camera... and can go up to double or more by the time you also get an underwater housing for the relevant lens as well! And then you have to add the cost of the underwater strobe... you can see the whole underwater photography exercise adding up I lots of dollars very quickly.

    Under the Water

    This photo was taken in the Gold Coast's (strictly speaking Tweed Coast's) Tweed River in Australia.

  5. #5
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    Incidentally, if anyone also wants me to post photos in this thread of things that go wrong with underwater photography, let me know. I personally find that learning from mistakes can be a much faster way of learning from getting things right... even if it can be a bit humbling
    So, no chimping underwater then? Plus you can't make the ooh ooh sounds with a respirator in your mouth.
    Very nice series.

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    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    So, no chimping underwater then? Plus you can't make the ooh ooh sounds with a respirator in your mouth.
    Very nice series.
    Well, you could try it out - and the fact the water magnifies everything you see might actually give you a decent view of the photo on the back of the screen. But I reckon if you were to try and catch someone chimping under water it would look something like this...

    Under the Water

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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    {snip}
    Incidentally, if anyone also wants me to post photos in this thread of things that go wrong with underwater photography, let me know. I personally find that learning from mistakes can be a much faster way of learning from getting things right... even if it can be a bit humbling
    Absolutely! How are we supposed to learn without seeing what sorts of things go wrong?

    Great photos, BTW - I especially like the purple and yellow fish peeping out at us.

  8. #8
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by pasusan View Post
    Absolutely! How are we supposed to learn without seeing what sorts of things go wrong?

    Great photos, BTW - I especially like the purple and yellow fish peeping out at us.
    Thanks Susan. I have a tendency to not keep the really bad photos but I'll see what I can dig up and post some commentary on what I think went wrong. Oh, and it's an eel that's peeping out They tend to hide in the rocks (as do most of the interesting sea life) and poke their heads out but that one was probably two feet in length.

    Onto another earlier photo - capturing what looked like and underwater conversation. The other thing you find with a lot of sea life is that they tend to blend in with the background so sometimes making the subjects stand out can be a bit challenging. In the case of this photo, I decided a monochrome finish worked better.

    Under the Water

  9. #9
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Chasing turtles is always fun. In general they swim slow and gracefully so they're not too difficult to catch... until they decide they don't want to hang around you anymore at which point they're impossible to catch!

    This photo was my first decent capture of a sea turtle swimming in my home river.

    Under the Water

  10. #10
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    So, no chimping underwater then? Plus you can't make the ooh ooh sounds with a respirator in your mouth.
    Very nice series.
    John,

    Of course you can chimp underwater... you'll just be missing valuable shooting time doing so. I glance at the back of the camera every once in a while to ensure I've got the right settings, but to be honest, when shooting underwater I tend to focus more on shooting and finding subjects than I do scrolling through my photos... that's for the boat after the dive with everyone else gathered around the camera!

    As for the ooh ooh sounds, sure you can make them. If you're good, you can talk just fine underwater. You can't be far from the person you're talking to - in fact, it works best if you physically put your regulator up to their head. The vibrations travel very well through your throat and regulator into the person's skull where they are able to hear quite well.

    Mal,

    You've got a nice series going here. Well done!

    - Bill

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    Re: Under the Water

    You are doing great in the little time you have been underwater !! Did get a lot with the equipment you were using, will be doing much better when you get a housing !!!

    .. for the sunburst effect remember to stop down to f 16 at least, will make a difference.

    Keep track of the exposure setting for the flash and results. UW its all about how the subjects absorb light !! Like having the strobe detached from the camera for moving it to vary light intensity. One foot distance one f stop !! Looking forward to more !!

  12. #12
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Thanks Bill

    Quote Originally Posted by Aforns View Post
    You are doing great in the little time you have been underwater !! Did get a lot with the equipment you were using, will be doing much better when you get a housing !!!

    .. for the sunburst effect remember to stop down to f 16 at least, will make a difference.

    Keep track of the exposure setting for the flash and results. UW its all about how the subjects absorb light !! Like having the strobe detached from the camera for moving it to vary light intensity. One foot distance one f stop !! Looking forward to more !!
    Appreciate the advice Alfred. I have since my early photography days acquired a strobe on arms that I can change the position of, along with a wide angle and macro wet lenses as well. For those of you who aren't quite following, I'll take a photo of my set up some time and explain the relevance of everything in the near future.

    In the meantime, here's another one of my early underwater photos. At this point in time I'd begun diving frequently enough to worry less about what I was doing and spend more time finding things to take photos of. This particular critter was someone that really didn't want his photo taken, hiding in a crevice that had me literally standing on my head to take his portrait of.

    Under the Water

  13. #13
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    I don't exactly remember when I took this photo - it's still one of my earlier photos but taken at a place called Cook Island - just off the coast from where I live. I rarely see starfish actually perfectly formed as a star because they're usually hanging off a or stuck to something that makes it bend around a corner or crevice of some sort.

    I've posted this one up before and shown it to friends which always brings up a mixed reaction from people.

    Under the Water

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    Re: Under the Water

    Have a look at these images by Anne Worthy, they might give you some ideas

    http://photoworthyimages.photoshelte...000Z3_ENliQ_ko

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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldcoastgolfer View Post
    I've posted this one up before and shown it to friends which always brings up a mixed reaction from people.

    Under the Water
    It's still a lovely image, in my opinion. It's the simplicity that makes it striking - Subject & Background! Job done!

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    Re: Under the Water

    Mal,

    Not sure if you noticed this yourself yet or not, but your last two photos (crab and starfish) suffer from poor strobe placement. Notice how both images have a very natural color in the top left quarter of the photo, but the bottom and right sides have a bluish-green tint to them. This is because your strobe is not pointed to fill the whole frame with the light. When shooting macro, I actually put my strobe right on top of my lens port. When dealing with wide-angle, obviously, you want to pull the strobes back and out to the sides to feather the light into the scene to avoid hot spots.

    Hope this helps!

    - Bill

  17. #17
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken MT View Post
    Have a look at these images by Anne Worthy, they might give you some ideas

    http://photoworthyimages.photoshelte...000Z3_ENliQ_ko
    Thanks Ken. I'm always up for ideas but mostly it's a case of also finding the subjects to take photos of. These photos are all from mid-last year at which point the river I usually dive in was still recovering from an influx of fresh water from heavy rains. It did a lot of recovering through the course of the year but unfortunately we've had a lot of rain again at the beginning of this year which has flushed out a lot of the sea life again

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    It's still a lovely image, in my opinion. It's the simplicity that makes it striking - Subject & Background! Job done!
    Thanks Donald. Even though it has some flaws to the average viewer they generally enjoy the image and it's still one of my favourite images too.

    Quote Originally Posted by ktuli View Post
    Mal,

    Not sure if you noticed this yourself yet or not, but your last two photos (crab and starfish) suffer from poor strobe placement. Notice how both images have a very natural color in the top left quarter of the photo, but the bottom and right sides have a bluish-green tint to them. This is because your strobe is not pointed to fill the whole frame with the light. When shooting macro, I actually put my strobe right on top of my lens port. When dealing with wide-angle, obviously, you want to pull the strobes back and out to the sides to feather the light into the scene to avoid hot spots.

    Hope this helps!

    - Bill
    I think when I took these photos originally I did notice that one side was brighter than the other - but probably didn't appreciate how important strobe placement was at the time. The crab was a challenge just to aim the strobe into the crevice it was in - I couldn't convince it to come out. Can't say I have an excuse for the starfish

    You've got me wondering if I've actually improved since the middle of last year so I'm going to have to look at some of my more recent photos and see what they're like! Always appreciate the advice Bill though - thanks!
    Last edited by Goldcoastgolfer; 26th February 2013 at 01:32 AM.

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    Re: Under the Water

    Red starfish = definitely striking.

  19. #19
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    Re: Under the Water

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Red starfish = definitely striking.
    Thanks Bobo

    On the subject of imperfect lighting this is a photo of a poisonous stone fish that I took on the same dive as the starfish. It has some interesting colours but still blends into the background a bit too much. Still, at the time I thought it an interesting find.

    Under the Water

    When I took this one I was still finding my fins so trying to get into the right position for the best perspective was still a challenge for me at the time.

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    Re: Under the Water

    I'm following this thread with great interest. All I need to do is learn to dive, buy the equipment (for photography as well as the diving), learn how to take pics.
    At least I am in a good location.
    Graham

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