le Rubis Panorama
I went to Egypt last May with a friend of mine: he was often taking panorama pictures above water… Looking at his gave me the idea to do that kind of picture underwater, mainly on wrecks!
Back in France, I had already planned to dive on the submarine named “le Rubis” – it’s a famous wreck here and its size felt fine for me to do my first panorama: it’s about 200 feet long and 30 feet high! There was just one problem: there are generally a lot of people there… but I’m a lucky guy: we were alone with my buddy!
Knees in the sand, moving forward slowly, I took a bit more than 80 shots during about 20 minutes. As we were just about to go back to the boat an “invasion” of nearly 100 divers came down… just amazing!!!
Back at home in front of my computer, I was a bit disappointed: which software to stitch all the pictures together? I’ve tried a lot and came to the conclusion: for this kind of subject there are not a lot of specific elements for the software to match - so, all the work needs to be done manually! This way, you can make a better selection as it’s sometime interesting to use just a part of a picture.
The final result is based on 30 images giving me an 180Mpix file (33800x5370 pixels) – it took about 50 hours to stitch it properly with Photoshop… and I’m still finding corrections to do each time I look at it!
Funny thing is that a friend of mine had the same idea at about the same time… so you may see nearly the same picture sometime… but, for sure, mine is better ;)
Claude Ruff is a computer scientist, but began photography in 1984 and has been diving since 1998. His first underwater experiences with a camera were in Hurghada, Egypt, when he rented a Nikonos V. After using both a Nikon F70 and F100 for a few years, Claude went digital and upgraded to a Nikon D200 in 2006, and currently teaches underwater photography as a member of the French Diving Federation (FFESSM). His website, Aquatilia, won the ‘Prix du site Web Artistique’ at the 2006 Antibes World Festival of Underwater Pictures (Festival Mondial de l’Image Sous Marine).