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#1 jcfig

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 04:50 PM

So I finally got all the parts I wanted for shooting WA (dual strobes, ports, arms, etc) and even a day with halfway decent visibility (~20 feet). Here's the outcome of my first attempt. I'm happy mostly because all the gear is performing, but I know I have a lot to learn and need to practice, practice, practice. Any advice and suggestions would be most welcomed. Thanks.

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f11; 1/60; ISO200

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f13; 1/100; ISO200

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f10; 1/80; ISO200

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f13; 1/80; ISO200

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f10; 1/80; ISO200

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f8; 1/60; ISO200

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f11; 1/80; ISO200

#2 mattdiver

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 05:08 PM

Except for the first (ambiant) and last (strobe-lit), the background looks a bit dark to me (especially the 2nd and 5th shot from the top). I would increase the exposure settings on the camera (open up the aperture a bit, and slow down the shutter speed, say 1/2 to 1 stop each), and reduce strobe power accordingly. This would help balance foreground and background, and the decreased strobe power reduces potential backscatter.

#3 jcfig

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 06:18 PM

So basically try to use more ambient light on the background and less strobe on the foreground?

#4 anthp

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 07:36 PM

The strobe on the foreground looks ok to me (if even a bit dark on shot 2), but you could consider getting a little more background light by slowing your shutter speed down. If this means that you end up with very slow speeds - which might result in too shakey an image - you might decide to continue shooting as you are though. It'll be a decision you have to make based on the conditions. The other alternative is to bump up your ISO to allow more ambient light to register at equivalent shutter/aperture combos.

I really like the angle you have chosen on the seastar with the Pennatulaca's in the background. That's a great image. Your ambient kelp shot is good too.

Look forward to seeing more.
Anthony Plummer
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#5 mattdiver

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 08:12 PM

Anthony's correct, the foreground lighting from the strobes is OK, but if you increase the exposure of the background by opening the aperture (and slowing the shutter speed, if required), this will overexpose the foreground which is lit by the strobes. To compensate, you'll have to reduce the power setting of your strobes to maintain the same illumination as on your current shots.

A side benefit in low visibility is that the lowered strobe power reduces the risk of backscatter.

#6 jcfig

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:17 PM

Thanks guys. Those suggestions make sense. I'll definitely try all of them on my next dive. I added the aperture and shutter speed info to under each shot. All shots were taken with he strobes set to iTTL. There's definite room for slowing the shutter and closing the aperture on most of them. I'll also try increasing the ISO and see how much noise I get. Using lower strobe power to reduce backscatter would be great so I'll try that too.

Do you guys think the strobe positioning was ok? I had 2 Ikelites 125s out about 15" on each side. Anything I can do to reduced backscatter would be great - it was like swimming in snot out there :guiness:

Thanks again

#7 anthp

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:34 PM

Snot - ewwwwww :blink: :guiness:

Given the numbers you posted above, I would go for decreasing shutter speed before you up the ISO, you still have a couple of stops of room to move there and that would probably be enough looking at the shots.

Strobe positioning looks ok to me.
Anthony Plummer
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#8 jcfig

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:40 PM

Yeah, up here after we get a plankton bloom things start clumping up together, it helps visibility because you end up with bigger chunks and more light gets thought, but then you have this big gelatinous clumps floating around.

thanks for the advice, I'll try it next time out. Hopefully vis and conditions in Galapagos will be better then here - definitely better subjects.

#9 anthp

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Posted 10 August 2006 - 10:50 PM

Have fun in the Galapagos - and good luck on your next local trip.

You've already got it under control and are producing some good images.
Anthony Plummer
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#10 mattdiver

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 12:40 AM

Actually, I wouldn't touch the ISO if I could help it. You also have a fair bit of margin with the aperture. You could easily open up a couple of stops, and cut down significantly on strobe power.

Other tips for low visibility shooting (works in good vis too :guiness: ):
1- Use a wider lens to get closer (less water between you and subject = less s#&@ in between too!)

2- Spread your strobes and angle them into the picture, aiming slightly behind your subject

#11 kriptap

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 03:25 AM

What camera and what lens were you using?

#12 jcfig

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:54 AM

I'm using a D70 in an Ikelite housing. Sigma 10-20mm lens with +2 dioper in a 6" port. All these shots were taken at a 13mm focal length (19mm equivalent on 35mm film/plate).

#13 gecko1

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 02:35 PM

Don't be afraid to use really slow shutter speeds. I pretty routinely shoot 1/20 or even 1/15. These were shot at 1/20th.

http://www.baue.org/...album52/DSC2144
http://www.baue.org/...album55/DSC2720

Motion blur isn't a problem for things like kelp in the background. It's probably out of the DOF anyway. Sometimes you'll get a double image for fast moving things in the foreground (blurred ambient and sharp strobe) but for shooting cabezons or metridiums you should be fine. Also I think you can do rear curtain sync with the D70 (I know you can on the D200) which means the blur is in the right direction and then the motion blur can actuall add to an image's appeal.

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#14 jcfig

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 04:32 PM

I've been trying to find a use for the rear curtain sync. I'll give it a shot.

Thx

#15 Kelpfish

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 05:24 PM

Rear curtin is good for moving fish, especially if you are tight.....distant fish are no good. You need moving subjects that are within flash range to freeze the animals. Rich horn has a very nice pic of some tropical fish I think of NCUPS or LAUPS from last years competition. If you are shooting the D70 in manual mode, keep the camera set to rear curtin sync. It wont affect the image quality above 30th of a sec.
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#16 jcfig

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 05:52 PM

That could really come in handy with the seals and penguins on my upcoming trip. I'll start playing with it.

Clinton, nice shots - they look sharp.