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Natural Lighting Photography


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#1 carl_goodier

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 07:36 AM

I have been using Velvia and Provia for quite some time now, and in general terms I am extremely satisfied with results of velvia using strobe...... but here comes the point. I was recently diving on a site south from where I live in Bangkok ( Thailand ) , and a the end of the dive, I was at about 3 meters, beautiful coral, clear water, and a burning sun. Took pics in bright sunlight, and at different F-stops to test the results, and what did I get.......... a blue haze of a picture when not using the strobes, eventhough I could see very nicely the beautiful.

It confuses me, because back on the boat, I can take a picture above water which is so beautiful. Is there any hope for veliva underwater just under the surface without strobes, or do I need to move to different film for such shots. If so, what film. I am not impressed with Kodak ( V100 I think)

Advice appreciated.

#2 scorpio_fish

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 08:52 AM

It's still dark at 3m. Telling us you tried different f-stops is not enough information. What lens, shutter speed and meter reading did you get? I've taken shots with Velvia near the surface with respectable results, using a 16mm fisheye and shooting at f5.6 to f8.

I love Velvia, but its not always the best choice. The ISO 100 version can help some, but the dynamic range of the film is limited. Provia F works better for wide angle even though not as saturated. I've tried Kodak 100VS, but didn't like it as well as Velvia or Provia.
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#3 carl_goodier

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 05:42 PM

both 105mm and 60mm lenses.

Generally I used the light metering to check the lighting. It would of been around S=90 and F5.6 results are blue. Tried to bracket, same results ( either white out, or darker blue, but never any colour.

Agreed, Kodak gave washed out results.

#4 davephdv

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 06:52 PM

I've shot many an avalible light shot with Velvia film. You simply have to meter the water background and set your F stop and Shutter speed to the meter. The lazy way would just be to put the camera in Aperature priority. Problem with macro lenses is that people don't think of opening up the aperature enough to get a blue background. Usually with the macro lenses you use those small aperatures to get good depth of field. I've seen some excellent macro done with a blue background.
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#5 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 02:01 PM

Here's a few examples of different film types used without strobe in varying depths that may help you grasp the finer points.

Your knowledge of film types will allow you to use specific films for specific jobs - Velvia is not the best at everything and this includes macro.

Kodak 25 ASA is superior in every way as it realises natural colour and detail Velvia could not imagine.

Both Velvia & Provia are blue biased: Not a good choice for natural light but superb for close focus wide angle with strobe, where the sun is included in the shot. Great for close up work too and of course macro.

All images were shot using a simple Nikonos V.

1) Cuttlefish in motion Sangalaki Island May 2001 - Agfa 100 ASA Slide cost $2.00 per roll.

#6 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 02:23 PM

This is a tiny part 'Eel Ridge' at Sangalaki Island, during a late afternoon dive using 100 ASA Kodak Extracolor.

Not the best scan but gives you an idea.

#7 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 02:45 PM

About 10 years ago Kodak introduced a hightened Red bias film specifically for snorkling, pretty good but the demand was low and I think it was discontinued. With a stobe lighting the shot, silver fish would turn a metalic red - nice!

EV100 Kodak

#8 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 02:50 PM

One important thing you should remember is that it is all designed for use in daylight.

To improve saturation use at least f8 with a slower shutter speed.

Kodak Extracolor 100

#9 bobjarman

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 03:28 PM

Good examples and good advice.

I am here to tell you this is one area that I love digital for. If you recall, My strobe flooded on the second day of my cocos trip last year. Almost every image was taken natural light and adjusted in photoshop. They aren't perfect by any means, but I salvaged some decent shots.

I have no idea why I was able to shoot so many shots at depths up to 90feet and still get some ok shots but I am pretty sure from experience my film camera and velvia or provia would not have had a chance.


http://www.rkjarman.com/coco/index.htm

PS: A lot of those shots say flash on, but I know they were not. I wonder if I forgot to turn the internal flash off? Even more, I wonder why I didnt shoot with the internal flash and clean up the backscatter?

I think I may be an idiot.

#10 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 03:48 PM

I think I may be an idiot.

Don't be hard on yourself Bob, it's probably just a touch of Althsymer's...

That's a great gallery Bob, some wicked memories there. Like you said the camera coped admirably and in several instances a working strobe would have been no benifit anyway.

#11 markh

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 01:29 AM

Great Cuttlefish shot Bob.
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#12 JackConnick

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 11:09 AM

I shot this with Fuji Sensia (pretty much like Provera) about 125/f8 with a S&S MMII 16mm and have adjusted the scan a bit. But I too ended up with a decided blue cast. I was at about 60'. Would a "red" filter help?

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#13 JackConnick

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 11:17 AM

Try again on the pic:

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#14 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 27 February 2003 - 12:36 PM

Sorry, I forgot to mention filters after film types.

Yes, filters do help in most cases with the smaller diameter lenses or ports but are impractical with domed ports or lenses. Sea and Sea do several types for flat lenses like the 16mm.
Frustrating when one may find oneself (as is often the case) in the shallows "fizzing" with a few frames to use up.
If one goes in specifically for shallow natural light images then that's a different story, the filter can be added to the lens inside the housing.
The 12mm S & S however, is not so easily catered for, but manages very well with a warm Kodak.

#15 carl_goodier

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Posted 28 February 2003 - 08:13 AM

Thanks. Will try again. I have metered on coral or yellowish sponges and would expect to get teh right colour for something right in front of me. My eye can see it clearly, just amazed that the film cannot even with the correct lighting.

Will try to meter water and see the difference. Definately wanna try the Kodak 25 as well. Digital, well it is a personal choice I recon. There are alot of proponents, and benefits, but for me personally there is nothing that thrills me than seeing a very high resolution slide in all its glory. ( and I am too lazy to spend hours in photoshop tweeking )

#16 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 05:09 PM

My eye can see it clearly, just amazed that the film cannot even with the correct lighting.

This is a very big part of the issue at question here, and as yet nobody has mentioned it. Your colour perception and your brain's "correction" of the colours in front of you is constantly changing with the changing ambient conditions. Your brain's interpretation of the colour in a scene is based on prior experience and preconception as much as on the colour of the light actually hitting your retina.

Your film thinks that it is in daylight, regardless of the ambient conditions. It does not adjust to the ambient lighting, and thus as the ambient becomes "odd", the results from the film become odd too.

RE your shot of the barracuda: I don't think it really needs a red filter to help it, it looks just fine to me :rolleyes: It is a nice image that captures the blue of the ocean quite well.
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#17 scottyb

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Posted 23 March 2003 - 05:57 PM

I know I am stretching here but so far I feel like my digital camera sees the scene closer to what my eyes perceive than when shooting film. I don't have any scientific data to back this up, but that is my impression after a limitted amount of dives with a digital camera. ?????

#18 caveman

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 06:36 AM

Interesting. I am aware that the brain does some things with what we see, and what we see is based more on memory rather than the image it self ( thats why our image recognition is so quick and good).

I have the same experience that things very close by, in broad day light at a few meters depth ( i.e. 4 ) can have the same bland washed out look. And on the surface, they turn out nice................

I domt think 3 meters of water filter light that strong ( according to the books, a F16 day will be F11 as soon as your head is under water......... but still light enough

#19 craig

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Posted 24 March 2003 - 07:46 AM

I know I am stretching here but so far I feel like my digital camera sees the scene closer to what my eyes perceive than when shooting film. I don't have any scientific data to back this up, but that is my impression after a limitted amount of dives with a digital camera. ?????

There is no technical reason why this would be the case. If you aren't shooting RAW, the computer inside the camera may be cooking the image in a manner which you like. When in RAW mode, a digital camera is just as inflexible as film and arguably even more so.

The eye is very unreliable underwater. Our primary goal is to get results better than what our eye "sees". If you use strobes I would hope that to be the case.

In response to the other comment, 3 meters of water has a significant filtering effect. Although water varies greatly in its filtering power, 3 meters of clear blue water will convert 4100K light to 5500K and cause it to be significantly too green. Left uncorrected, this results is images that are consistently too green. This is so common that people have grown to accept it as correct, although it is most definitely not.

For years, photo pros have sold us UW pictures with bad color. Mistakes they get by with would never pass above water where references exist that help us know better. Bob has posted examples with good color in this thread and elsewhere. Look carefully at his whites and yellows. Bob's pictures have consistently better color balance than I see elsewhere and I consider his posts to be exellent learning tools.
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#20 scorpio_fish

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Posted 25 March 2003 - 12:15 PM

My eye can see it clearly, just amazed that the film cannot even with the correct lighting.



This is a very big part of the issue at question here, and as yet nobody has mentioned it. Your colour perception and your brain's "correction" of the colours in front of you is constantly changing with the changing ambient conditions. Your brain's interpretation of the colour in a scene is based on prior experience and preconception as much as on the colour of the light actually hitting your retina.

Your film thinks that it is in daylight, regardless of the ambient conditions. It does not adjust to the ambient lighting, and thus as the ambient becomes "odd", the results from the film become odd too.



This is right on target. First, our eyes/brain can adjust for the color of light, whereas film cannot. Film has physical properties which cannot allow it to record what we see as our brain processes all this reflected light faster than we think. "Balanced" film has only one color temperature. The color response is not linear.

Digital has the advantage of being able to change color temperature vs. film.
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