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Wide angle improvement suggestion


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#1 kc_moses

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 08:47 AM

First time underwater and wide angle photography attempt. I was lucky to get these nice composition but I'm not sure how to improve it.

 

Equipment is Panasonic LX-7, one borrowed strobe (Sea & Sea YS-D1). I'm interested to get into more photography stuffs but don't know how I could make these pictures better:

 

Picture one:

wide_angle01.jpg

 

Picture 2:

wide_angle02.jpg

 

In picture 1, the strobe throw me off, should I put a diffuser on the strobe? Do I even have the strobe at the right position? There are some blur stuff (not sure if it's fish or backscatter), would increase shutter speed get rid of those?

 

For both pictures, the sun is not behind me, so what can I do to get darker blue. You can tell it's a pretty shallow area, should I do custom white balance or use auto white balance? The pictures above are color corrected from a RAW file, I would rather get it right the first time without doing too much to the RAW file.

 

Any pointers? Thanks!



#2 tdpriest

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Posted 25 August 2013 - 10:24 AM

I quite like the exposure of the background, but the strobe isn't adding much: it needs to be quite close to the subject to bring out any colour.

 

Custom white balance does funny things with strobes, and so auto white-balance is probably better.

 

Underexposure brings out the blue, but it's also important to think about where the sun is.

 

Unfortunately, after taking everything into account, photography can turn into hard work: many a Wetpixie has sacrificed a great dive for a good image...



#3 kc_moses

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:43 AM

Thanks Tim,

 

In Picture 1 I was hoping the strobe would light up the coral but apparently I don't know how far the strobe would travel, as I don't own that strobe nor had time to learn to use it. I was switching between taking video and photo, so I do custom white balance while shooting video. I think the white balance was still custom when I take Picture 1.

 

Picture 2 was a hard one, the sun/water almost cause over expose so I had to under expose when taking the shot but that make the foreground coral loose detail. I was that close to look into HDR when that happen, but then, I was trying to enjoy the moment, so just kept swimming :mocking:

 

I'm reading Martin's book now, funny that it really do change how I feel about diving, like it's okay to swim away instead of try to cramp into tight corner risking damaging reef to for a few shoots.



#4 RWBrooks

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 03:15 PM

If I can throw my tuppence worth into the hat? It seems that half the struggle with settings you are experiencing is due to you attempting both natural light video and flash photography on the same dive.

Two different beasts both competing for your attention. Different settings mean you spend a lot of time switching between the two rather than focusing on one discipline.

 

Cheers

 

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#5 kc_moses

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:26 AM

Richard you are right. I was primarily a video person, but it was a photo expedition trip so I got to try out the YS-D1 strobe, and learn to take photos under water as well as experimenting with it. Did I mention it was my first time using the LX-7 under water? I definitely had too much going on. I ended up doing video on half of the dive trip, and the rest is just photos. At this point photography grow on me so in the future I might do more photos and only do video when the situation allow.



#6 jlyle

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 11:15 AM

FWIW, u/w wide angle photography is the most difficult type of image to capture.  If you want instant gratification, shoot macro.

 

You need lots of light, preferably dual strobes, to light the foreground; get as close as you can.  Your strobes are ineffective more than three feet from the reef; light has to travel twice that distance, to the reef and back to the camera, absorbing light and color on both legs of the trip.

 

For WA with a water background, you are trying to take two images in one.  Ambient light for the background and strobe light for the foreground.  If you want darker blues, set the camera to underexpose by -3.0EV.  Auto WB is sufficient.


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#7 diggy

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 07:40 PM

Apart from all the above which is very good advice, one strobe is generally not enough. Where are you placing the strobe ? Ideally it should be straight up in the center of the housing and behind the dome with a diffuser. Try this in a pool and change the aperture to get more or less ambient light. On the first shot it seems like the strobe has hit the image from one side.

 

Cheers and i quite like the first attempt :-)

 

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#8 kc_moses

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

Thanks guys. jlyle, I did try macro on the same dive trip, at Lembeh, and the result was good which I posted some sample in the show case area. The issue with macro is there isn't many location to that provide great opportunity like Lembeh, so I want to explore wide angle as it's the most common dive I would go, and it's technical, which drawn me into it.

 

Diggy, I had the strobe on my left (that's what you see in picture 1), I had a video light mount to my right, besides, they don't have two strobes for me to borrow :laugh:

I'm in the process of saving money for two YS-D1 as I know wide angle is better with 2 strobes. (still considering the Inon Z240 but that's another long topic).

 

Ideally my set up would have strobe on left and right, and a video/focus light on the cold shoes of the housing, and I think that's a typical setup.



#9 Steve Williams

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:09 PM

Moses,

You can make some wonderful wide angle images with one strobe. But whether use use one or two, try framing a subject in the foreground very close to you and lighting it with the strobe and letting the ambient light balance the background.  Picture one is a good example.  as shot it's  just  a little flat with no subject.  When you get in a situation like that again try swimming up to the crinoids and framing one in the foreground. Get very close, less than half a meter.  With the reef in the middle ground and a diver in the background you'd have a very nice wide angle shot that would be more interesting.  One of the things I notice about good wide angle shooters is that many times they create depth in the image by having subjects at different distances from the camera in the frame.  No different than in landscape photography really.  Same idea.  Foreground, middleground, background.  A little like this;  

 

8974700033_3624aab47a_c.jpg

 

 

 

Have fun with it!

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#10 tdpriest

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:48 AM



One of the things I notice about good wide angle shooters is that many times they create depth in the image by having subjects at different distances from the camera in the frame.  No different than in landscape photography really.  Same idea.  Foreground, middleground, background.

 

Steve

 

You have to push the iso in northern light, but you can still balance the strobe-lit foreground (a foot away) with the background (six feet away: super wide-angle lenses make this trick work best); you don't get the superlative sharpness that Steve shows in a tropical image, but the principle works, I think:

 

2013 Shetland 089 334 Bressay cave %22Goose%22.jpg

 

Bressay, Shetland: the Goose at work.

 

Although I have two strobes, the right-hand strobe is turned off to reduce backscatter in front of the Goose.



#11 kc_moses

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 08:30 AM

Thanks guys, now I think I have a bigger problem, my wide angle lens is not wide enough!!!! I only have the Nauticam Wetmate, which only restore my LX-7 to 24mm (about 80 degree FOV), it works okay for video since most of the time I rely on ambient light, but when come to photography, I really need to get very close because the strobe can't travel far. Perhaps I should get one strobe now and use the money for the 2nd strobe for an Inon UWL-H100.

 

Regarding using one strobe, is it normal to switch strobe mount side in the middle of the dive? I remember in one of the dives I had, my strobe was on the left side, but the wall is on the right. I had hard time to move the strobe far enough to lid the coral on the right. I have a 5" + 8" arm. I tried to make it work by turning my camera vertical so the strobe can at least reach a little bit more to the right, but then I loose the framing/composition I want. Hmm.... two strobes definitely make things easier.