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Going Diving Next Week Help Needed


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#1 ReefDiver

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:44 AM

Hi All:

I will be diving in Curacao & St. Thomas next week and need your help. I have never used an underwater camera other than the cheap ones used for snorkeling. Here is a description of my set up:

Canon Power Shot S-500 with underwater housing.
Sealife Reefmaster Strobe with optional diffuser.
Inon removable wide angle lens attached to camera housing.
High speed 1GB Flash Card.

I have read and have some limited knowledge of the proper settings to use depending on depth, water clarity, etc... but have never used this camera before ( just purchased everything within the last month!). I do have the strobe synced to the cameras flash so that they work together. I have taken some shots of a few corals in my reef tank but only through the glass and the pictures are very good. However, this is not underwater photography by any means.

I have the camera set to the following Manual settings: ISO 100, EV -2, Flash ON and Red Eye Reduction OFF, WB set on “Sunny”, Resolution mode on “L”, and Compression mode set at “Super Fine”.

Obviously, these settings are not set in stone and would need adjustment depending on the situation. Here are my questions:

1. Would you suggest using the zoom lens for close ups with the wide angle lens attached?
2. What about the position of the Strobe head to prevent scatter?
3. Any comments on holding the camera steady underwater?
4. How about close up shots? How close? How Far??
5. What about panoramic shots, i.e, large fish, reefs, divers, etc....
6. How should I attach the camera to myself prior to getting in the water?
7. Should I use any of those Moisture Munchers in the camera housing?
8. Is it better to Underexpose rather than Overexpose?
9. What about Shutter speed options?
10. Is there any time that you would use the “Auto” setting?

I will probably think of many more questions but these will suffice for now!!
Now I realize that EXPERIENCE is the real teacher but just wanted to get some opinions/recommendations from a few experienced underwater photographers. Any suggestions/comments will be very much appreciated. I am also going to post this in a few of the other forums as well. Thanks in advance for you help.

Steve

#2 james

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:30 PM

Hi Steve:

1. Would you suggest using the zoom lens for close ups with the wide angle lens attached?

No. Not many wide angle lenses are designed for zooming. You will get blurry corners.

2. What about the position of the Strobe head to prevent scatter?

Point the strobe head straight ahead and as far out to the side as you can get it.


3. Any comments on holding the camera steady underwater?

Get rid of the -2 on your exposure comp. -1 at the most. The problem is that the camera is going to choose f2.8 and vary the shutter speed. That' won't help you much. What you ideally want it to do is alter the f-stop so taht you will get more depth of field. Your photos won't be blurry as long as the camera says it's shooting faster than 1/45th of a second.

4. How about close up shots? How close? How Far??

Get close, then closer! Don't take a photo of anything that is more than 3 feet away. For macro nothing that is further than a foot away.

5. What about panoramic shots, i.e, large fish, reefs, divers, etc....

Put on the wide angle lens and get close. Turn the strobe WAAAAAY down if you can or put on an opaque diffuser. At f2.8 you won't need much flash.

6. How should I attach the camera to myself prior to getting in the water?

One of those springy lanyards or a retractor.

7. Should I use any of those Moisture Munchers in the camera housing?

Yes, absolutely. Also, put the camera into the housing inside an air-conditioned room. When you take it outside, it will fog on the OUTSIDE only which is no problem. Air conditioned air is cool and dry - just what you want inside your housing.

8. Is it better to Underexpose rather than Overexpose?

Yes, but why not expose properly? :-)


9. What about Shutter speed options?

You don't have any with your camera.

10. Is there any time that you would use the “Auto” setting?

With that camera, you're using it all the time. Any camera where you can't set the aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed is an "Auto" camera.

Cheers
James
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#3 Giles

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 01:53 PM

I agree with James on all of that, but one thing where i will ask the question.


Now my strobe position is very rarely the same from photo to photo (i like to think of that as creative, and i still quite like only having one strobe.

in Q2 you say put the strobe out to the side as much as possible .. i agree .. and point it dead ahead .. i dont agree .. the classic teaching method i was taught was to aim the strobe at the center of the frame as if the subject was 3 - 4 ft away nikonos course always said to use the arms length method looking into the lens ... surely having it out to the side and point straight you would get uneven lighting in the frame ... if i was to teach someone again that is how i would teach them as it helps teach lighting the subject were other people taught differently ?
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#4 ReefDiver

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Posted 01 August 2005 - 08:26 PM

Thanks James for the informative responses. So, if I understand you correctly, even in the Manual Mode the camera still operates in an automatic manner. Therefore, would you suggest just using the camera in the total auto mode and not worry about setting any of the parameters?

I can see now that this is going to take a lot of trial & error but at least with a digital you are not wasting lots of film. Hopefully, I will get some decent shots the first time around.

Steve