As more and more of us are purchasing underwater cameras I thought I would jot a few ideas down
- If you spot something unique and interesting - look for divers around you without cameras to at least share the experience. Sometimes those without a trained eye enjoy being assisted in seeing something new. Don’t always leave it to the dive guide to do the finding.
- Non camera holders always get first call at critter viewing
- If there are a lot of cameras take a few shots then give someone else a turn - unless there is a clear understanding of first in first served. The former especially applies to multiple divers with smaller cameras. Try not to hog the subject if in a large group. If unsuccessful with your first series you can come back when everyone else has had a go.
- If you end up behind a serious photographer with a big camera then either learn patience of skip that subject and move ahead to the next.
- If in a large group of camera holders then try to split up into small groups. Stick together as buddy or 4-way teams assume your critter shots will complement each other rather than everyone needing to photograph everything.
- Don’t try to zoom from critter to critter. Respect that when we take photos that sometimes puts as at the back of the pack and that our turn to get to the front will come again.
- You don’t really need to shoot everything. Be discerning and assume you will probably see it again sometime during your hopefully long dive career
- Do NOT move critters (and don't let your dive guide move them either !!). They are there for a reason and poking them out of holes or picking them up and moving them is inconsiderate. (Don't laugh - spotted divers picking up frogfish and moving them around the house reef at Kapalai !!)
Photo taking logistics tips
- Assess the current the surrounding area and any fragile reef forms that may be at risk with you wading in with your camera - important to look for soft corals and brittle growths such as sea fans
- If needed chose a carefully selected balance point using either a pointy stick or your fingertips (both on dead or hardy coral)
- Look behind you and make sure you aren’t stepping on anything, check what you may end up stepping on if your bouyancy does go awry (ie scorpion fish hurt !!), and check grounding points if you need to ground your fins for stability
- Adapt your kick style and body position keeping your legs and body off the reef adopting knee bent modified flutter or frog kicks - keep aware of the currents and water movement.
- Shoot with smooth and gentle action to reduce camera shake preserve bouyancy
- Do not lie all over the reef just to get a better angle. If you cant get a good angle without sprawling your body over everything then leave it until next time you see that critter in a better position
- Getting away from the reef should be your number one concern (not checking shots or adjusting bcd’s or finning like mad)
- Gently back away or float up by taking a breath - maybe a slight push off from your holding spot if you needed one to head backwards
- Do not kick until you have floated a little away from the reef and try to ensure fins are high off the sand or away from the coral (knees bent finning method). Use very small kicks rather than full leg movements until you are clear of the reef or sand
- Check you are clear of the reef before fiddling with your camera and checking your shot
- Don’t sit on top of the current photographer - keep a comfortable distance from both reef, sea floor and object.
- Be aware of currents - the photographer needs to get in the right position so dont sit in the best current spot - hold on if you need to but dont get under his/her fins - you will need that position and wont appreciate others in the way
- Don’t get behind an object in the line of sight of the current photographer - nothing more annoying than having a big camera making up the background of your carefully selected aquatic subject.
- Don’t surround the photographer - he or she will need an exit point when finished !!
- Establish an order of going in to avoid 2-3 divers colliding - again judge the currents
- Don't snap away over the top - respect the right of the diver at the top of the line to get the first flash off. Nothing worse than fried pygmy seahorse or to have just got a great frame up for someone else to scare the subject off
- Keep an eye on your guages - don't go into unplanned deco - keep an eye on your air. Check guages at the end of every shot or in the middle of one that may be taking a long time
- Establish your buddy protocol before the dive. Let the dive leader know what your plans are. Buddy protocols can be -
- Standard buddy: always keep an eye on the other only one person photographing at a time
- Diving in company: always stay in sight of buddy or buddy bubble trail. Make a point of checking OK eye-to-eye between shots. Both divers potentially shooting separately. If you lose your buddy then run your lost-buddy drill.
- Solo is not a buddy protocol. If you want to go solo let the group know and also how far you are likely to travel. Get their permission first - not all groups or dive leaders are prepared to take solo divers
- The pointy stick actually offers a potentially lower impact than fingers. It has a smaller contact surface area, can dig into sand to help prevent drifting, and isn’t covered with human grease and suntan cream and other chemicals that damage marine life on contact. Still - only stick it on dead stuff though.
- Establish a signalling regime before the dive and try to figure out what others may be interested in so you can get excited about the right things. Camera holders - communicate with the other dive group as to what interests you and what doesn't - it might be unique but you may actually be bored with blue ring octopuses so it is pointless to others to drag you over and irritating to yourself.
- Try to keep your tapping signals to “i’ve seen something interesting” rather than “quick come over here as you just have to see this particular version of a small green nudibranch for the 150th time because I have never seen it before and am completely beside myself because the dive guide didn’t even point it out to me and by the way did you see that movie on the weekend”
Don’t buy a camera - save money - save aggravation - just enjoy other peoples’ shots !!
i struck out this line from this forum because here we are all obviously beyond help on this one
Original thread and discussion can be found here http://www.finsonlin...read.php?t=7055