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Paul Kay

Member Since 27 Nov 2003
Offline Last Active Jan 01 2016 11:19 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Seacam Prelude for Nikon D750

05 December 2015 - 12:53 PM

I have sold several Prelude housings to scientists who have specific requirements of their equipment and for whom minimal controls are actually not a problem. Their budgets don't often allow for high end cameras and the Preludes fit their requirements very well indeed. As photographers its all too easy to assume that owners of underwater housings automatically require access to every control and that they will use them all but in reality this is not the case. Actually toughness and reliability (especially where students are involved, working in cold and often difficult conditions to whom the housing is just another tool to be used to capture information) are very important attributes too - sometimes far more important than full control access.

In Topic: Why I Love Macro

12 August 2015 - 02:07 AM

On a recent trip we referred to this as 'by catch' and it can be fascinating to discover the unexpected and occasionally rare species lurking but unseen before viewing the photo. 

In Topic: Is Social Media Creating Unrealistic Expectations?

10 August 2015 - 10:47 AM

I've got pretty mixed emotions about the tech view. On one hand, I - almost ideologically - claim that it isn't the gear, it's the photog who takes the pic. You don't need a 5000+€ Leica to take the pics HCB took. And HCB is one of my favorite photogs in history.

HCB was often photographed with his Leicas and they weren't cheap (and are a lot more now - HIS I mean!).[Nor are his prints - I went to a London gallery showing signed HCB prints not that long ago - I think that they started at £9k which makes the €5k camera a bit of a bargain]. Its not the gear but having gear that you are satisfied will do what you want it to, and which you are familiar with, and both know and understand, really can help. This isn't the same for every photographer and to some extent the cost may not of intrinsic relevance to the photograph, 

In Topic: Is Social Media Creating Unrealistic Expectations?

08 August 2015 - 02:36 AM

I was in Bonaire a while back and chuckled to hear an underwater photography centre owner (who shall remain nameless) advise a client that "there were no bad underwater photographs. That's what Photoshop is for". OK.....

For the exponents of ETTR he is partially correct (I certainly have innumerable bad underwater photographs which no amount of Photoshop work would remedy). We really like putting things in boxes and assuming that every underwater image should look good on the LCD (box one) is as poor a suggestion as assuming that Photoshop can correct all the others (box 2). Reality is, as it usually is, far more complex. I have shot a lot of material in low vis over very soft mud and contrast often remains (extremely) low regardless of any lighting set-up I've tried. Photoshop allows sufficient contrast increase and colour modification to produce realy very acceptable images (in fact I and a friend have used such images to prove at least one fish ID has been incorrectly described). The images taken in these conditions look very flat on the LCD as they are bound to.....

In Topic: Is Social Media Creating Unrealistic Expectations?

06 August 2015 - 01:20 AM

Therefore, does this profusion of perfect images create unrealistic expectations for beginners or casual uw photographers?  Are new photographers frustrated when they see so many "perfect" images out there yet can't get the exact same results straight from the camera even with almost perfect strobe positioning?  Do new photographers know there is post processing work done on these images or do they expect the same results all the time?


I am not trying to start a debate about post processing etc but rather looking for opinions from newer photographers whether they experience frustration from high expectations due to exposure to social media? 

With digital cameras and the ability to view and discuss equipment, photography and photographs over the web ad infinitum (I'm inclined to say ad naseum at times), there now seems to be the expectation of ever 'better' equipment, ever more startling and extraordinary images and ever increasing technical innovation all of which come alongside increasing ease of use and creation. [Social media and forums I would add]. Perhaps there is simply a mismatch between expectations of output related to input effort in that people now expect technology to overcome what they see as minor inconveniences (such as backscatter) rather than seeing themselves as part of the input in manually having to remove backscatter - after all cameras can now remove dust marks so why shouldn't backscatter removal be automated and web photos show no backscatter so .....


I'm not so sure that you can actually limit the unrealistic expectations to backscatter.


Alex makes an interesting point though because I've noticed an unceasing (?) trend towards the use of black backgrounds again (underwater photography is a bit faddy and does go through phases) and his post may have explained why - this morning the BBC news reported that web accessing by 'phones has now overtaken accessing through laptops.....