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Are all "These" a "Must" to become an underwater photographer


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#1 SellerManDiver

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 04:08 PM

Does a person have to undergo:
OW Padi ---> Underwater Photography, Night Diving, Cave specialty course --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer?
Or
Discovery Scuba Course--> aided scuba in reefs with Padi Certified Diver --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer? (Is this even valid?)
Lets just say option 2 is for the casual "vacation only" diver.

#2 expatdiver

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 05:41 PM

It sounds like your desire is to dive caves at night and take photos, but don't much diving experience. Is that correct?

Any of those disciplines on there own are for a diver with some experience. To put all three together without much experience is a recipe for trouble. Now do you HAVE to take the PADI course to become proficient at any of those? No, but you should at least get some time in the water with each on its own before you lump all three together.

Any fool can take a camera underwater and be an underwater photographer, but the key to being a good underwater photographer is being a good diver first. The former usually leaves a trail of destroyed coral and a cloud of silt in their wake, the latter usually returns from a dive with killer shots and is the envy of the dive group.
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#3 liquidguru

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:31 PM

Does a person have to undergo:
OW Padi ---> Underwater Photography, Night Diving, Cave specialty course --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer?
Or
Discovery Scuba Course--> aided scuba in reefs with Padi Certified Diver --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer? (Is this even valid?)
Lets just say option 2 is for the casual "vacation only" diver.


Let's say option 2 is a complete no go. You cannot do nights dives or cave diving as a DSD. I may possibly let a DSD take a small point and shoot on a supervised dive (max depth 12m)...maybe.

If you want to be a good UW photographer, the first thing to get is lots of dives to perfect your buoyancy. There is not a PADI 'Cave specialty' course. You would have to take a special course for this, and I would imagine you would need at least 250 dives to do this course.

Not sure if this post is a wind-up or not, but first things first, get certified!!!!!

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#4 TheRealDrew

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Posted 07 April 2012 - 07:31 PM

Does a person have to undergo:
OW Padi ---> Underwater Photography, Night Diving, Cave specialty course --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer?
Or
Discovery Scuba Course--> aided scuba in reefs with Padi Certified Diver --> Night Diving Underwater Cave Photographer? (Is this even valid?)
Lets just say option 2 is for the casual "vacation only" diver.



As mentioned, first get diving down without worrying about cameras and so forth, there is a learning curve and the cards ultimately mean nothing. (More so discovery scuba, basic OW) Think of them as more as a license to learn. And learning happens AFTER the cards and doing dives. There will be jumps where you go "aha" along the way. 25, 50, 100 dives. Do not let the fact that you have a card in your pocket lull you into a false sense of security. And just as important, you may find out that scuba may not be something you are really into, so do not go crazy buying gear until you know you are really liking Scuba. (It is the BEST thing in the world, but some people may not like it :lol: )

#5 JKrumsick

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 05:48 AM

I second a lot of what everyone else is saying. Don't focus on the fast track.

Also, you can skip the u/w photographer course. I got my plastic card from PADI and it taught me next to nothing. I think I did it because I was gunning for my advanced diver and I needed a couple specialty courses under my belt.

If you are wondering, you can still take a camera on a dive even without the plastic card from PADI, just as you can go on a night dive without a plastic card from PADI. Dive resorts and operators will allow it.

If you do need specialty courses, ask your instructors which ones have the most "meat" and the least "bone" and make you the best diver.

#6 drako

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 04:49 PM

nevermind

Edited by drako, 08 April 2012 - 04:49 PM.


#7 SellerManDiver

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 08:49 AM

Thanks everyone. I have already signed up for a PADI OW course. Better safe than sorry. Although, I don't think I will really be diving that much for the dive itself alone. I will visit the tropics this mid year, take my rig with me and shoot a lot of pictures then head back to Canada and hibernate. The photography part was what got me interested in this anyway.

#8 JKrumsick

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 05:08 PM

Thanks everyone. I have already signed up for a PADI OW course. Better safe than sorry. Although, I don't think I will really be diving that much for the dive itself alone. I will visit the tropics this mid year, take my rig with me and shoot a lot of pictures then head back to Canada and hibernate. The photography part was what got me interested in this anyway.


I totally understand. I went on a liveaboard in Honduras and rented a camera and never looked back. I dive to get photos so I can remember the great creatures I had the privilege to hang out with... but I still enjoy the dive. And anyway, all of the advice about becoming a better diver is for you to get better photos and to not screw up the reef like so many newbies do (you would have the same view as I if you have seen some of the things novices do).

#9 Steve Douglas

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:32 AM

IMHO the best way to become a competent photographer or videographer doing underwater work is to first become a competent diver. This takes many dives under many different conditions. As said previously, having excellent buoyancy control and body awareness in the water is a must and probably should be learned long before you take a cam rig down with you. Have fun learning to dive first. Your OW certification should be looked at as only a learners permit to now go out and safely learn to be a competent diver. I used to tell that to my dive students back in the day just as my friends said to me "Take the OW course and then come out with us and we will teach you to dive', and they did.

By the time you have that extensive diving experience under your belt both during the day and night, in good conditions and poor, you will have made dive buddy friends who are into photography or video. They will do a better job of teaching you than some silly PADI course that is there only to take a few more bucks of your money. And its not just PADI either, it appears that most of the dive agencies are creating these money making courses. First you take their advanced 'Getting your right fin wet' course and then their 'Getting your left fin wet' course. Just nonsense.

You will also find that you will gain a wealth of knowledge right here on Wetpixel and it will prove to be a very valuable resource. Meanwhile, as you are learning to dive, while topside you can take a class in Photoshop or Lightroom or an editing NLE of your choice depending upon your aspirations. Then when you are ready to go in the water with a rig, you will already have the knowledge and skills to work with what you've shot.

Good luck to you in your endeavors,
Steve

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