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Looking for to improve these photos


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#1 dawktah

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:02 PM

Hello!

I am looking for help with the following photos. This was only my second dive trip shooting UW. This trip of 4 dives was far better than the first. See equipment in my signature. Are any masks better than others for getting your eye closer to the housing? I am currently using the Scubapro Crystal VU. I am going to move to the 5D soon, but will not be diving with it for some time.

All images shot 24mm f/1.4 TTL with one DS-125 strobe, the diffuser on. Except last one with Magic Filter.

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  • 009_Nice_shot.jpg


#2 dawktah

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:05 PM

Although there are not any noteworthy fish in the photo, how is distance and strobe illumination on this one as well?

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  • 011_Purple_Coral.jpg


#3 dawktah

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:12 PM

The viz was bad around the wreck of the Pat in the BVI.

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#4 dawktah

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 09:18 PM

Last ones, the autofocus locked on fish about half way in, but I was unable to see this until after I got back to hotel and this was last dive :D

I was unable to get focus any closer to this (nudibranch?) invertabrate. -Shot with Magic Filter-

Any help would be greatly appreciated, I am considering obtaining a second strobe if that is something that may come as a suggestion.

Thanks in Advance,

--Chris Howard

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  • 069_Loads_of_Fish.jpg
  • 075_Nudibranch.jpg


#5 mattdiver

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 12:17 AM

Hi Chris,

Strobe coverage and power seem adequate for the lens you were using, so a second strobe may not be your first priority to improve your shots.

There's not much wrong with your first few shots, if only for the absence of a distinct subject. On pic #2, it also appears your strobe is angled too much downward, and falls on the foreground instead of the sponge.

For the cardinalfish picture, you should either select a different focus area (on a fish closer to you) or use "closest subject priority" autofocus for this sort of shots, although I'm not sure how to do that on a Canon.

Finally, for your last shot, you should have used a longer focal length (e.g. 100mm) to allow for a greater magnification, as it looks a bit "lost" on this shot.

Cheers,
Mat

#6 Photobeat

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 04:39 PM

Most of the images are very soft and don't have enough depth of feld aside from pic one which seems the best technicall but very hazy maybe it is the software your using, there is also some camera shake as well. There is a hazy look to all of them and technically I think you really need to learn the camera and get some technical skills down. In your ttl mode you may be in an auto mode, a Cannon user may be of more help but this mode is killing your depth of field as it tries to find a decent exposure. Pic 4 was looking like your best chance of a good pic but you can see one semi sharp fish where the AF found it and others are blurry due to a small depth of field and slow shutter speed/camera movement same wit hthe others.

It takes practice and knowlege to be a competent photographer, Composition can be learned and copied to understand the basics and then your own creativity can develop. I think the basic technical skills need to be inherent and understood like when you drive a car. You know where the radio is, how to turn the wipers on when it rains, heat on when it is cold. The same for the camera - do I want to have most of the shot in focus, stop or freeze the sun rays, etc. I think it would complicate things to add another strobe. Master one and your camera first would be my advice. Next I would hit the library on basic camera use and learn arperature/ shutter speed etc. Read all the U.W books they have. Howard Hall and Norbert Wu have great books you should own. On a bright note for your second trip doing UW the compositions are better than average, and this is the hardest part to learn. In your scenics if there is no subject try to get a diver in one. I always lead the pack U.W if I am at a cattle dive trip so I can find an area and wait for a fish or diver to come into the scene. Read up and understand manual mode, arperature priority and shutter priority. Also know your flash sync speed with your shutter - very important. Read, and look at pics and then study the pics. Howard's and Norbert give you the camera settings for each pic to help learn.
Aquatica Housing - D100 - 10.5dx - 17-55DX - Nikonos 105 strobes - TLC arms

#7 dawktah

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for the tips!

Below is one of the better compositions but with TTL and f/1.4 lens strobe didn't fire.

Mattdiver:

Thanks for the input, I may buy a port to use my 24-105mm IS lens. I may have been too close to get the closer fish in focus and with wide aperture. It was shot at f/3.5 Auto.

Photobeat:

I am a pretty good terrestrial photographer so I have the camera pretty well mastered. On my first trip I found myself losing subject while making manual adjustments, so I shot these on full auto. I'll go back, and learn housing. The viz was pretty bad at these dive sites which probably had something to do with it. I still haven't perfected my stealth diving technique :D

If it may help I can send you one of the RAW files to see if the softness comes from software.

I have read a few UW photog books and most of them didn't say a whole lot, so I'll try one of your suggestions.

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  • CRW_3136_02.jpg


#8 Photobeat

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:30 PM

I am not sure I get the composition on the last pic. Aside from shooting fast moving Dolphins or Sharks in awsome conditions I am not sure there is any call for full auto mode underwater, it makes no sense you need more control. Look at all the pics on the "your best shot" post and then compare to your pics. Poor Vis will kill a lot of pics too. As you shoot in better conditions and get better results you will look back at these pics and wonder why you bothered posting them. Out of my first 100 shots U.W I thought I had about 40 really great ones. Looking back I had maybee 3-4 great ones and maybe another 5 so so ones.
Aquatica Housing - D100 - 10.5dx - 17-55DX - Nikonos 105 strobes - TLC arms

#9 dawktah

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:41 PM

I agree, I have shot maybe 200 photos so far and these are probably the best IMHO, however some of the ones I don't think look good maybe are better than I think. I have been enjoying that best of 2005 thread, incredible pics! However, other than the shark and manta the vast majority are macro. I am thinking heavily about focusing more on macro than wide angle. I have yet to dive with my macro lens.

#10 dawktah

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:10 PM

What do you guys think about this one?

Self critique I needed to get closer, and drop down and shoot up more with less sea. Otherwise, anything else you can add?

--Chris

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  • 026_Small_Fish.jpg


#11 dawktah

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:22 PM

and this one...

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#12 Kelpfish

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 05:14 AM

A couple of recommendations:

1. Get closer

2. Concentrate on composition (find a subject)

3. Budgets not considered, use the right lens for the right situation. The Flamingo Tongue might be better shot with a 60mm macro lens.

4. Try to get the feel for manual lighting. TTL isn't always the best answer.


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#13 Photobeat

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 08:22 AM

Those last two are far better than the 1st bunch. Imagine a large fish or diver on the 1st one (of the last two posted) and you would have your best shot. Macro shots can be very easy to obtain technically great photographs compared to W.A. Composition to get something good is also easier than W.A but to get something great is as hard as anything else. Personally I like Wide Angle I find it more challenging and rewarding as non divers can appreciate but yoy must have the right conditions. I only shoot macro on night dives. I would be pissed something big came by on a dive and I had a macro setup.
Aquatica Housing - D100 - 10.5dx - 17-55DX - Nikonos 105 strobes - TLC arms