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Digital sunbursts - the saga continues


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#21 anthp

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 03:26 PM

Looks great to me Alex and I echo Rand's comments.

I can't wait for Australasian Scuba Diver to be available in newstands. It must only be the subscribers that have the mag at this point. The newsagencies don't expect it to hit the shelves til next month!! :D
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#22 MikeVeitch

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 03:49 PM

Hey guys, well guess it depends on how the film is printed.
If it is printed properly using chrome then it is fine, digitizing it is when it turns poor.

Here is a link to one of my articles with a film sunburst, of course was scanned and submitted on digital but it does have the strong frozen rays that are so tough to get on digital

http://www.divernet....p05/phils.shtml

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#23 scubamarli

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 08:00 PM

It's a gorgeous shot, Alex! However, the diver in front of the sunball reduces the chance of "blow out"......(it's the film addict talking :D {or just poor teacher :lol: } what about a straight sunball?)
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#24 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:20 AM

That's the only D2X sunburst that I have submitted anywhere yet, so I can provided a printed alternative yet!
I think that it does help control the sunburst by sticking something in front of the sun. But I am also pleased with the way you can still see the diver's shape - it hasn't been lost in the bloom of the highlight.

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#25 scubamarli

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 03:36 PM

I completely agree about the diver in front of the sunball...it makes the shot!
Well done,
Marli
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#26 motionsync

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 06:09 PM

There is a "white wedding curve" from Fotogenetic. You can download the curve to your Nikon. The white wedding curve handles the highlights better. Many use it to shoot weddings (White wedding dress Problem)
Has anybody use the curve underwater to shoot sunballs & control highlights??

Take a look at: White wedding curve
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#27 MikeVeitch

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 08:16 PM

Ahh good thing to see this thread again. I have actually had the chance to shoot a few shots recently on the ol wide angle. Got a couple of decent sunburst, or at least decent enough to keep me happy, plus shock of all shocks....frozen light rays! Unfortunately not with the sunburst but keeping the sun out of the frame and getting the rays that way. Not the most exciting subjects (i do like the expression on the batfish though) i was just messing around to see what i could get with the sun.

Hmmm, never mind that, where has the attach images box gone?
[Editor: Fixed the problem. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.]

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#28 MikeVeitch

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 12:42 AM

Thanks Eric, working now

Here are the three shots from the other day:

Batfish f11 1/125 kinda murky 83 ft
Seafan f8 1/500 little murky about 60ft
Finger coral f5 1/640 18ft

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#29 MikeVeitch

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 01:07 AM

Now then two from film...one that works very well, the other is kinda so so

Anemone was about 40 ft, f18 and 1/90 Good
Eagle Ray was again 40ft, f5.6 and 1/90 Not so good



Both taken with Nik V hence the 1/90 and not a faster shutter.

I have always meant to do some sort of rant on this thread so here goes.
It has been said that doing on digital the same you would do on film doesn't work, well i don't really agree with that statement completely.
The first thing i did when i got my dig camera was stick myself at 20 feet and shoot everything from f4 to f22 and 1/60 to 1/8000 to see what would happen. Never was really happy with the results.
Sunbursts and CFWA have always been my forte throughout my underwater photo when i spent 3 years in Palau and Fiji. I always had to work a little harder to get a nice sunball (like anemone on this post) because i was using a Nik V and it maxes out at 1/90 when using flash. Therefore to achieve results with sharp rays i always had to shoot between f16 and f22 and full blast on the strobes from one foot away with no diffusers to gain some balance. Also was best to shoot before 10 am and after 2pm so as not to over power the balancing act. Made it difficult to get larger creatures from further away (like the Eagle Ray) because you couldn't crank up the f stop and still light it with your strobes. Gaining a faster shutter synch when i finally housed my f90 (1/250) helped to get some shots but i didn't shoot with it all that often and the vast majority of my work was done with the Nik V.
Basically it took a long time to get the mixtures of SS and Apert. right but i had it down pat pretty much most of the time (at least with CFWA)
Then comes digital, i think to myself, excellent, i should be able to synch pretty high and get good results, well as a lot of my early posts showed, nope! Shooting at really high shutter speeds, even 2000 was not getting the sharp rays i had hoped would happen. Kept hearing you have to do things a little differently with digital, wellll actually i think it is actually more like the Nik V than anything. It is the high apertures that are key, mix that with fast shutters will get some decent bursts, but also shoot before 9am and after 3pm (the magic hours)

So, the advantages of sunbursts gained from going to film SLR from Nik V are gone and i am back to thinking like a Nik V shooter when trying to shoot sunbursts...

Interesting how it goes full circle eh?

Mike

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#30 John Bantin

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 02:20 AM

It seems to me that the problem simply stems from the inability to balance the foreground lighting (and exposure) against the ambient light (in this case the sun directly through the water) in the background.

Could this be the tendency for digital photographers to use low powered flashguns thus needing larger lens apertures rather than as I have found, using my camera with two high-output flashguns give me the small f-stop for the foreground needed to get the sun looking right?

Brighten up the foreground and thus darken down the sunburst.

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#31 MikeVeitch

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 02:28 AM

No, not really John. I am using the same strobes i have always used, YS 120s, not the most powerful but are fine.

I have done a lot of ambient light experiments as well anywhere from f4 to f22 etc etc and digital i still don't like but is getting better as i try more and different things, i think the murkyness here at times works in the favour of sunbursts as it filters it down some.

Have you tried the sunbursts in blue tropical water yet with your S2? I thought it would be similar to the F90 with punching up the shutter speed two or three stops but yuck, more like the Nik V as i said before.

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#32 Kelpfish

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 06:44 AM

In most cases you will need to use fill flash to light the main subject so that you can expose for the sunball. Some situations are very difficult to shoot with a sunball. For example, if you are in 40 feet and want to shoot the beautiful deep green of a big kelp bed, AND you want the sunball, forget it. No matter how powerful the strobe you will lose the emerald green look for the sacrifice of the sun. Conversely, if you expose for the kelp. you will blow out the negative space. Some situations you can get good kelp and sunball pics if you are shallow and the water is fairly clean, like Matt has shown. But almost all pics I have seen on this particular discussion are perfect for getting a good sunball because your subjects are optimally acceptable for fill light, allowing you to play with your F-stop to get the good sunball. To me, if you have a static subject as in many of the examples, it's easy to get a good sunball. The challenge is with moving subject where you have only a split second to make an adjustment and fire. And like Randapex said, a slight tilt of the camera and you have a new situation. So I conclude that static or slow moving subjects like soft coral, anemones and jellyfish gives you a far better chance to get a good sunball. Faster bugers are more of a challenge. One thing I do when I am shooting fast subjects is to get "CLOSE". I expose for the sun, then put my hand in front of my port and shoot a few test shots to get the light output 'close'. I was playing with a harbor seal last week and did that strategy, but he never would get in front of my port :D

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#33 Pedda

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:01 AM

Well, since everyone are posting nice sunburst/ball shot I thought that I would contribute with one as an example on how NOT to do it. :D

I’ve changed the white balance otherwise it’s straight out of the camera. Shutter speed: 1/125 F-Stop: 11.0

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#34 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 08:34 AM

Good to see this discussion going again. Enjoying reading. Nothing to add at this stage.
Alex

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#35 John Bantin

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 09:13 AM

Have you tried the sunbursts in blue tropical water yet with your S2?  I thought it would be similar to the F90 with punching up the shutter speed two or three stops but yuck, more like the Nik V as i said before.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



You are getting close to the answer:

The Nikonos syncs with flash at 1/90 (fastest sutter speed). The F90 (N90) syncs at 1/250. The S2 is limited to 1/125 sec.
For the same foreground exposure (determined by f/stop alone) you will give 3 times the exposure to the sunburst with the Nikonos as with the Nikon F90. By using enough foreground flash to use say f/11 or f/16 the sunburst exposure is reduced to a nice level with the S2 (1/125) as with the F90 (1/250) at f8 or f11. That means a lot of flash power however. So two Subtronic Mega Colors for you then!

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#36 MikeVeitch

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 06:05 PM

Hmm John, thats what i said above. But you must admit the sunbursts even at f22 just not all that pleasing, the blotchy look reminds me more of a bad film burst (like the eagle ray above) as opposed to a good one.
But that Matt Segal Sealion on the first page is probably the best i have seen in the digital burst dept

Does Subtronic give you strobes to try out with your job at the nag? Want to send a couple down to me for sea trials? really long term trials? :D

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#37 critter

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Posted 03 June 2005 - 07:52 PM

I just came back from Fiji and I was never able to get a good sunburst shot the whole trip and I shot with two strobes. The best sunball shot I got was of my daughter and i was shooting with one ys-120 at the time. This was shot at F6.3 at 1/1250 sec with full power on the strobe.
Posted Image

I think how others have alluded it really depends on the surface, lighting, and luck. I was very frustrated with this at Fiji and i quit trying. Basicly because there was too much other good stuff to shoot. The biggest problem with shooting so fast is that it makes the water too dark and requires a lot of post processing. But the key is not to start off with cyan cast or no amount of post processing (at least in my hands) will salvage the shot. I will try this again in August at T&C where there isn't as much stuff to shoot and I can experiment more. Will also be playing with my new 8 inch port to see if that improves the optics of my CFWA shots.

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#38 Kelpfish

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 06:27 AM

Didn't someone on this list determine that F-stop gave more control over a sunball than shutter speed?

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#39 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 08:13 AM

A suggestion - if you look on Adobe's wesite you can download a document called: linear_gamma.pdf which explains about the tonal distribution of digital capture and how it is converted to the image we see. I suspect that this may help in understanding the 'blown highlight problems' of digital sunbursts.

Alternatively, you can do what I do, work in temperate waters - so little chance to see a sunburst underwater that it is not a problem.
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#40 MikeVeitch

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Posted 04 June 2005 - 05:41 PM

Thanks Paul i will look up that Adobe thing....as for the temperate water, give me your address and i can send you my old drysuit really cheap, hardly used! :D

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