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D100 & White Pointers...


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#1 Don Silcock

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 03:03 AM

I have just "invested" in a D100 and Subal D10 housing and I am right at the bottom of the digital learning curve. I bought it now because I am doing a four day white pointer, cage diving trip in South Australia next month and wanted the ability to have instant feedback and chance to correct mistakes on the trip.

I wanted to get any tips & advice on how to set the D100 to get the most of this opportunity to photpgraph these pretty special creatures - the report from the last trip was 4-5 sharks around the cage at any point in time, plus the appearance of a 5m "monster"...

I am particularly interested in what settings I should dial into the D100 (white balance, mode, bracketing etc) and tips on how to photograph sharks.

I will have the following lenses - 15mm F/E Sigma, 18-35mm Nikon, 20 & 24 mm Nikons.
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#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 04:45 AM

Hi Don,

Great to here that you have made the digital SLR leap.

The best advice I can pass on (which I learned here on wetpixel) is to buy the biggest memory card you can and then shoot everything in RAW-NEF format. RAW is rather like print film in that exposure can be corrected in the computer without too much loss in quality. RAW format will also allow you to change the white balance of your shots after you take them. I'd probably start off using the sunlight white balance.

Make sure you shoot in UNcompressed RAW. Compressed RAW takes too long for the camera to write to memory and you will soon start to miss shots.

I'm sure others will be full of tips.

Alex

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#3 craig

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 04:54 AM

I second the uncompressed RAW advise. Make sure that the auto-ISO feature is turned off. There'll be no end to the frustration if that gets turned on. The D100 has a closest focus mode that you may find useful in your situation.
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#4 jimbo1946

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 09:31 AM

Having just returned from my first underwater foray with the D100, I third Alex's and Craig's recommendations.

One other thing: When I returned from my trip, while editing my images, I played around with the white balance. For most images, I preferred the CLOUDY white balance setting.

Craig - Would you please explain your comment about the auto-ISO setting?

Thanks,
Jim
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#5 craig

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 04:39 PM

Custom setting #3 is "ISO Auto". Make sure it is OFF. When ON, the ISO will display 200 but when you take your shot it will switch to 1600. The EXIF data will indicate 1600 but otherwise you won't know.

This should default to OFF but it somehow managed to get enabled on me.
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#6 davephdv

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 06:52 PM

I've been to S. Neptune Island to shoot the sharks. I now shoot a D100 in a Subal housing. We had with us an instructor in UW photography from Brooks Inst. of Photography. He shot a 28 mm lens (F4 35 mm camera) He felt that this was the best lens to get full frame shark shots. I go to Guadalupe Island to shoot the sharks this Oct. I plan on using the 17 - 35 lens with my D100 in a Subal housing. Cloudy might be a good WB but you are shallow and you should try sunny. Do get the largest memory card you can. We shot 2 or 3 camera loads of 35 mm film per dive on many of the dives we made in Australia. We didn't use strobes, but if allowed, a single DS 125 (due to it's very fast recycle time) might be a good bet. I wouldn't use 2 due to the amount of debris in the water from the chumming.
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#7 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 May 2003 - 11:55 PM

After a few dives, if you get really keen, you could try custom setting your white balance using a grey card (see your D100 manual). Combined with a little bit of red or magneta filtering (say a 5-10CC gel filter) you will get very pleasing colours.

Posted Image
This picture is taken without flash just using the technique above. It is very suitable for getting flash lit colours in water with too much suspended particulate to let you use flash.

Perhaps what I didn't explain clearly in my previous post is that the post processing (using the computer) flexibility of RAW means that you really don't need to bother with too much bracketing. Given the fast action you are gonna be seeing (and yes, I am jealous!) it is best to "bracket" on composition rather than exposure, by shooting lots and lots of frames.

In these circumstances I'd shoot either aperture or shutter speed priority and matrix metering. That's what I did above and the camera did all the difficult stuff!

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#8 TedJ

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 05:06 AM

Hi Alex,
I've really enjoyed this particular image. It always reminds me that every time I've been to stingRay City it has been so churned up that Backscatter was almost all you could shoot. Yours is a very calming shot to me!
TedJ
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#9 james

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Posted 30 May 2003 - 05:25 AM

A great lens for shooting the larger palegics would be the 17-35 or the 18-35 behind a dome. These lenses will give you a rough equivalent of 28-56 on the D100 or the S2. I used it on the winter palegics trip to the Flowergardens to shoot sharks and mantas.

HTH
James
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