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Blackwater "Pelagic Magic" Shots: Kona Hawaii

Kona Hawaii Balckwater night diving Jack DIving Locker

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#1 Longimanaus

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:06 PM

Just posted my Hawaii blackwater dive shots to my website.  

 

www.matthewramaley.com

 

Many thanks to all of you blackwater veterans on Wetpixel that gave me advice before this trip so that I was able to get these shots.  Two great nights of diving.  Having the intel to set up properly before the trip made all of the difference in the world. 

 

Enjoy the pics.

 

Matt


Nikon D700, Hugyfot, Inon Z240s, Nikkor 16-35mm, shaved Tokina 10-17mm, 105mm D series, 60mm, Zen 230mm dome

http://www.matthewramaley.com

#2 gee13

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:21 AM

Hey Matt some unbelievable 'Micro' scopic macro photos in Kona. All those just taken with 105mm? No diopters?



#3 Longimanaus

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:32 PM

Using the advice I got here, I had two set ups.  One was my 10-17mm on a 1.4x TC and the other was just my plain old 60mm.  No diopters at all.  The 10-17mm with 1.4x TC did not work well on tight focus (the combo was too slow) because I found that the best camera set up was my Z240s on full power, ISO 200, 1/200 and f13.  If I were using a bigger f-stop the 10-17mm/1.4x TC would have worked well- but I had too much light so bigger f-stops started lighting the water.  The sweet spot is governed by making the animals glow without blowing out their internal structures while achieving black water.   

 

Instead, I quickly changed to the 60mm and kept it "pre-focused" for critters about 20cm from my flat port (Wetpixel advice) which was the epicentre of where I had my pilot and focus lights. This was a good trick I picked up from Matt D' Avella of Jack's Diving Locker.  Put your hand out and manually focus on your finger when it is brightest (when it is at the epicentre).  When the critters come by, you steer the epicentre to them and then when they glow, depress the shutter halfway and let the 60mm/camera fine tune the focus.  By pre-focussing, you prevent hunting (especially when the Copepods start to swarm).  Only subtle adjustments to f-stop needed.  Leave the speed alone.

 

Matt told me during the dive briefing to start at 1/160 and f15 or so with the maximum strobe and focus light output possible.  The critters are not that swift so he said ISO 200 is good.  He recommended adjusting from there, but not adjusting speed unless you run out of f-stop.  He said to prefer f stop so that you don't start chasing your tail.  He does this with his video- he just winds iris around using the maximum light he can take down with him.

 

We will definitely do this dive again on our next trip back from the east.  It is too easy to duck into Kona and chill out for a few days on the tail end of a big dive trip.  The dive is very easy and comfortable.  Just a quick stroll from the hotel and a short van ride to the boat.  The deep water is 4-5 miles off the coast, so you are there and back in a few minutes.  We ended up chartering the whole boat (paid for four spots rather than just two) to make sure it went out both nights.  This meant we had a relaxed time with Matt and the crew who are all experienced photographers/videographers.  Plenty of great advice on how to have a great dive and take good shots.


Nikon D700, Hugyfot, Inon Z240s, Nikkor 16-35mm, shaved Tokina 10-17mm, 105mm D series, 60mm, Zen 230mm dome

http://www.matthewramaley.com

#4 Longimanaus

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 07:35 PM

One last thing- the 105mm would be too tight in my opinion.  You need something a bit wider so that you can spot the critter in the view finder amongst all the things glowing in the water and steer them into the epicentre I described above.  The freedom is good to have.  This would get frustrating on the 105mm at the f-stops I was using.

 

Matt


Nikon D700, Hugyfot, Inon Z240s, Nikkor 16-35mm, shaved Tokina 10-17mm, 105mm D series, 60mm, Zen 230mm dome

http://www.matthewramaley.com