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Member Since 17 Aug 2016
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 07:04 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Camera choice: Nikon D850 vs Z7

Yesterday, 05:31 AM

Why not get a D810? I've seen several lately with Nauticam housing for pretty reasonable prices. It's capable of getting some amazing shots and less than half the price. I saw one recently for $2,600 with cameras. A new D850 with Nauticam housing will cost close to $8,000. You would still need to buy ports but you'll have to do that anyway it sounds like. With the D810 you could get ports along with lenses and still have less invested even with a pair of strobes added in. The D850 is definitely a better camera but if you're not shooting commercially the D810 is perfect. 


I've looked into Mirrorless but I'd rather wait for the next generation from Nikon where they have a chance to fix all the little issues with the first gen version. One benefit of mirrorless is the possibility for Nikonos lenses. Nauticam already makes adapters to use Nikonos lenses with Sony A7 and I'm hoping they come out with one for Nikon. when they can make that happen, especially for the 2nd gen, them I'll get it. 

In Topic: Ideal length arms for camera set up?

Yesterday, 04:08 AM

I use a two 16" Big Blue arms on each side and shoot mostly wide angle. The main point of having long arms is to bring out texture and shadows to add depth in your image and not as much about light coverage. Most people with little arms and wide angle will have flat lighting and won't look as good. For macro the arms can be shorter since the subject will be close and the lights won't need to be out as far to produce the same results. I wouldn't look at arm length for coverage vs effect on shadows. I almost always set up my left strobe as my key light and fill in the shadows with the right. The fill light should be set lower just enough to fill the shadows to keep the 3D look. I they are both set at the same power setting and angled the same way everything will look flat and 2D.


Macro can get away with small arms since the distance is closer and lights won't need to be out as far to skim the light for maximum shadow effect. 


If you're in pitch black and you have a flashlight next to your head while pointing it at an egg it will look flat like a piece of paper. As you bring the light further out, the shape of the egg will start to show and go from looking 2D to 3D. I adjust strobe position and angle for every single shot to bring out the most texture and flattering light. 


Light concepts are the same out of water as they are in the water and you'll never see a professional photographer with the light source so close to the lens. 


Here are a couple examples of what I'm talking about. The wide arms bring out the texture in the rocks and reef. If they were closer it would look flat and less impactful. The image of the reef couldn't be done with shorter arms. I needed the arm out as far as possible on the left to create the depth in the reef and used the right strobe primarily at the two fish to isolate and make them pop from the the background.

In Topic: Extending arms or aim strobes outwards?

Yesterday, 03:48 AM

Extending the arms out and facing the strobes out for feather will provide two different results. The further out the strobes are from the lens will create more texture and depth in your image. I use 2 16" arms on each side and try to keep them out as far as possible and back behind the camera. Then I feather on top of that to skim the light across the surface of my subject creating more depth in the image. As ChrisRoss said, the closer the subject usually the closer your strobes come in and everything else he said is on point as well.


The easiest way to understand lighting in Wa is to use your flashlight while diving and try different methods and watch what happens with out a camera at all. I started photography in WA with nothing but a flashlight and the on camera flash turned down as low as possible to fill shadows. It helped learn how to reduce backscatter a great deal. On the next dive without a camera take the flashlight in your left hand since usually the camera is in the right. Extend your arm completely out with subject directly in front of you and light facing far left. Rotate the flashlight beam towards the subject to feather it. You'll see the sweet spot as the light just starts to illuminate the subject. Pretending your head and eyes are the camera and your flashlight is the strobe with your arm kept straight and move your arm forward and back like you're making snow angels and watch what happens. As your arm moves back you should see less backscatter. I prefer back and slightly up to give nice shadows and light. Now try doing the same thing with your arms tucked in closer with the light closer to your head and feather the subject. This will show you exactly what strobe position will do without any equipment needed and save you some money while making sure you get what you're looking for. I usually shoot wide and not very much macro but I've seen a lot of people have the strobes in tight and facing forward. For super close up macro this will provide a feather and looks pretty good when I've tried it. You can try this by holding your flashlight near your head facing straight forward, then swim closer to you subject like your head was the camera and watch the light. 


Start with one strobe and learn lighting and how to bring out texture then go to two strobes if you want. I've seen many people try to use two light sources when they don't even understand how to use one. I started with a flashlight, then one strobe, then two and now two on camera and 3-4 remote strobes in a cave. 

In Topic: Giant Moray critique

04 December 2018 - 09:28 AM

I like the colors overall although the teeth are a little blue and the colors would look better to me if the teeth were more white. Other than that I like the colors and nobody who didn't know would be able to tell the difference in color anyway. The main thing I notice is how the depth of field isn't large enough. the first shot the nose is in focus but the eyes are out. Then the eyes are in but the nose it out of focus. It can tend to subconsciously bother the viewer if the foreground in an image is out of focus. the depth of field should be increased to show both the nose and the eyes in focus and then these would be incredible.

In Topic: First Time with Wide Angle & DSLR

04 December 2018 - 09:19 AM

I'm originally from the PNW and dove on a regular basis when I lived there. I see you're in B.C., have you ever made it to Skookumchuk rapids in Egmont or God's Pocket on the North end of Vancouver? I can tell you this much is that this short little strobe arms aren't going to do much for a wide angle and would be primarily for macro, although I just realized that's probably your buddy. I use a pair of 16" arms on each side giving a 3 foot reach on the left and right. The easiest way to see what your light will do is to use a flashlight to light something and put it in all different positions in relation to the position of your eye simulating the camera lens and the flashlight would be your strobe. You'll see the farther out you get it the less backscatter you get and your subjects will have more texture as well giving the image a substantial amount more pop. Learn how to skim textures and this will help tremendously underwater. Think of a car coming down the road at night and if your standing on the sidewalk. The headlights from the car will be low to the ground skimming the texture of the road and you'll see every little bump and texture, I prefer to use this concept for underwater and it makes a big difference. 


For the one image of the fish, I would've faced my right strobe towards the fish since it's facing the right strobe and it will also skim the side of the fish adding more texture as well. Turn down the light level of the left strobe to be more of a fill for shadows. Then position the left side up above the lens or out more to create more texture with just the edge of the light beam hitting the anemone. 


The image that shows the most wide angle with all the green with a little bit of lit up hand rail should have the strobes angled towards the further area you want to light up. I wouldn't have pointed the strobe at that hand rail at all. If you light whats behind it, the feather from the strobe will light up the handrail any way bot not as much to be more even and not as blown out. this will give more color and it will help prevent near objects from being so blown out. 


Most of the time my strobes are faced all over the place and I'm constantly adjusting depending on what shot I want to get. Once you understand lighting, everything will fall into place.