Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:42 PM
I'm thinking of watersealing and mounting strong flashlights on a rig I'm building, sort of like a portable underwater studio.
Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:34 PM
You might find this thread interesting
Thanks for the link, Balrog. It did address one of my concerns. I'll be using it in freshwater rivers, and although they are clear, often have considerable floatsom. My concern is the lights will emphasize and illuminate the closer particles.
I won't be shooting at night, but using the lights for extra illumination, especially up under large rocks and on overcast days.
Whether these fish will be attracted or repelled by the light remains to be seen.
Sounds like people have had the best results with close and macro, which fits right in, because I want to use this rig for close, tight, WA shots.
I figured I would mount two strong lights on each side of the camera to cut shadows and increase illumination, but I also figured I would diffuse the light to prevent hot spots. I might also consider using a polorizing filter, but I'm new to all this and don't really know if any of this will work, so I'd like to have some experienced input before building my contrapton.
Posted 20 January 2011 - 02:52 PM
Posted 20 January 2011 - 07:20 PM
No deeper than four or five feet, Steve. Let me explain:
How deep are you thinking of shooting in the rivers Ron? What is your issue with just using strobes?
I'm approaching this differently than normal. Instead of just swimming around looking for shots, similar to walking around with a camera in the park, I'm going where the fish want to go and setting up to wait motionless for them much the way I have photographed wildlife for a living. (I've been a professional for almost four decades.) Last summer I bought a cheap underwater P&S (the first P&S I've ever owned) just to play around and investigate underwater photography, but I was impressed with the quality and sent some pics out to magazines. Before the charge bill came due, I sold two inside shots and two covers. I spend quite some time sitting on submerged rocks, with my head just above water, holding the camera low and waiting. The water is shallow and the fish are skittish. You can't swim up to them like in the ocean. That's the first thing I tried. Anyway, I can't use conventional strobes, because my camera won't power them, so I'm improvising.
The problem is, with the camera held below, I can't see the LCD. Composing is a difficult guessing game. So I'm devising a frame to hold the camera, with a mirror at the bottom to reflect the LCD image up to me through a pariscope and a cable to trigger the shutter. The frame I have devised could also be used to hold a couple of lights, which would serve as fill and also allow me to probe around under large rocks were big fish often hide.
I never expected to use this P&S professionally, and figured I would upgrade to the kind of equipment most of you use if it worked at all in fresh water, but the quality is surprisingly adaquate. It is, in fact, the most profitable $150 I've ever spent. I can carry it in a pocket while wade-fishing, snorkeling or swimming.
Posted 20 January 2011 - 09:58 PM
Posted 21 January 2011 - 02:35 AM
Posted 21 January 2011 - 08:02 AM
Even with my regular camera, I don't find the on-board flash acceptable and have a powerful external strobe, but even with it, I find a steady additional light source more effective (especially for metering) than flash, so I'm wanting to set up something similar for this. Last night I found the new Sea and Sea LED lighting system, and this is similar to what I'm trying to devise, but it is over $300. I can built one (probably a better one for my purposes) for less than $50. Photography is still fun for me, but it is a business, and it doesn't pay nearly as well as most suppose. Beside, part of the fun for me is overcoming limitations and in devising DIY contraptions.
Sorry for the long posts, but I'm thinking way outside the box here, so some explination is needed.
And thanks to Orka too. Because most of my shooting is within five feet deep, one of the first things I experiment with was lighting from the surface, but it was a lot of trouble (almost demanding an assistant) and didn't work very well, mostly because of refraction: lots of little shimmers and and dancing stray rays. Some of this was artful, but I'm shooting illustrations. The auto WB and color with this "toy" is fine, so colored filters are not needed, but I am considering experimenting with a polorizing filter--if I can get enough light on the subjects to maintain a low ISO. (Regardless the effective ISO range, everything--not just noise-- is better a lower ISOs, so that is what I aim for whether above or below water.)
I've been shooting for a long time, so I know it's all about the light, and the reason I got into this with a cheap toy in the first place was to investigate underwater light, without a large initial investment, because I knew to begin with that it's a whole other world down there. The surprise was that I can actually get the job done well enough for cover quality with this toy.
Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:28 AM
Do you have a link where we could see what you were able to do with your setup?
Posted 21 January 2011 - 10:23 AM
Once I come up with a contraption that actually works, I'll take a picture of it and share it here, though I doubt many members will be interested. I'm not a diver (sinus problems), just a photographer, and I'm approaching this from the perspective of a wildlife photographer, not from the perspective of a diver who also swims with a camera for added fun. It's not a hobby with me.
If what you are asking is a link to images I've sold, you can Google Ron Kruger and click on any link to Photoshelter. Then click on the link to the Smallmouth Stream Fishing gallery. Any underwater shot you see there was taken last summer simply hand-holding my W80 underwater and guessing at composition. (More can be found in my Panfish Fishing gallery.) The two I have sold for covers so far are #0636 and #0922. Those that I've sold for inside use, so far, are of a tadpole and frog eggs, plus #1071.
Posted 21 January 2011 - 12:42 PM
Posted 21 January 2011 - 01:33 PM
It is the unusual perspective, or POV, that is selling. I'm sure others have tried, but I found out right away that you can't approach them as you might other species in other environments. You have to hunt them, set up and wait (patiently and quietly) for them to come back and act naturally. I'm used to that kind of thing. The longest lens I use for wildlife is 200mm.
I also have plans, by the way, to attach live bait to the bottom of this rig to attract fish for very close portraits.
Posted 28 January 2011 - 07:41 PM