Like others often recommend, I found that Martin Edge's book "The Underwater Photographer" is an excellent beginner's course to get up to speed.
Looking at other people's work and trying to understand how they made an image is a very good way to learn. There's Wetpixel of course, sites of the pros, competition results, the Nat Geo photo if the day UW category, lots of Flickr groups, etc
The trick is remembering all that you need once under water!
Finally, if you are a new diver, the most important advice I can think of is to get good at diving before even thinking about taking the camera along. Buoyancy control, safety, and making sure you don't run out of air come first and need to be close to automatic. You don't want any chance of photography distracting you from staying alive!
Thanks a lot guys, you've given some great ammunition. If only I had not just ordered a new BCD and air integrated computer . . . clearly my prioritization of life support over imaging needs a rethimk!
OK, so I found a local dealer willing to let me test with my setup (Olympus m.Zuiko 12-50 lens in Nauticam flat port). I tried the SubSee +10 in the Nauticam flip adapter. My objective was maximum magnification (we consistently find pygmy seahorses on our local dives) so I did not test permutations at constant distance. As luck would have it I forgot to check my camera battery and it started flashing red on the first test shot so I had to rush, hand-holding a heavy housing over a poorly lit sales counter, hence these images are not very good, but they show the most important parameter which is maximum image size.
First, the lens at 43mm macro mode, no diopter. Closest focus is about 50mm from the front of the port. Horizontal image size is about 35mm:
Then, same 43mm macro mode with the Subsee +10. Closest focus is actually touching the lens, resting the front of the Subsee on the edge of the ruler. Horizontal image size is about 28.5mm:
Finally, for those without the Nauticam gear for this lens, I tried The Subsee +10 at 50mm (normal not macro mode). Closest focus was about 50mm from the port and horizontal image size is about 32mm
I conclude that this combination doesn't do what I was hoping, as the relatively small increases in magnification (about 25%) is offset by the loss of working distance, which would make approaching and lighting anything animate just about impossible.
Also for those hoping to save on the cost of the expensive Nauticam zoom port and gear for the 12-50 lens, it seems you can save $400 by buying the macro port and Austrian zoom gear, but end up at nearly the same image size as the 43mm macro mode, and need to spend about an extra $400 or so for the Subsee and flip adapter.
So for now I am going to stay happy with the versatility of the zoom lens, and buy the 60mm macro. Once I have that lens, then maybe the Subsee will produce the results I am after.
Excellent images all. I especially like your use of plenty of negative space and the jet black backgrounds. I struggle with backscatter in these shots as we are usually shooting around a lot of turbidity in the muck, so will eventually start playing with a snoot also. Nice work!
Posted by troporobo
on 19 September 2014 - 03:26 PM
Absolutely gorgeous work! Thanks for posting. I especially like the macro sequences at the beginning, they are so well lit. Speaking of which, how did you light the anemone that begins at about 2:50 to look like it is glowing from within?
Are you sure you can't check baggage all the way through? I've done it after arriving at BNE on at least 4 different airlines. Just go to the transfer desk, show the bag claim number, and they do the rest. Seems weird that it would require entering Australia only to check in again, rather than going to the transfer desk while in transit. But I have not had to do this myself so can't be sure.
If you did have to go through immigration and customs with your luggage, check in upstairs, then go back through the process the other direction, 2 hours is comfortable. BNE is not large and rarely very congested, and once you're checked in you're safe.
I use the Flexitray with both handles, with the right handle moved tight against the housing. I can shoot one handed like this fairly easily, and find it gives me better stability when shooting two handed. But I am sure that using the M10 mount would also work just fine as long as the arms and clamps allow enough flexibility to position that right hand strobe. There is a photo of exactly that setup on p. 14 near the bottom
I have almost the exact same rig , though with the 12-50 lens and zoom gear and flat port that are definitely heavier. Even with 4 Stix jumbo floats its definitely negative. I would like a little more flotation and will probably add 2 more of the same floats. However I find the rig to be compact enough that handling is generally pretty good