Jump to content


Member Since 23 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 01:32 PM

#381659 My first shots - Macro and CFWA help and advice needed

Posted by troporobo on 21 February 2017 - 10:24 PM

Not bad for an early outing!  Lots to be happy about.


You don't say how you are controlling your strobes - manual or TTL?  That will make a big difference in the advice people offer. 


Your macro shots are pretty good.  They do have a sort of "floodlit" look to them though, I'd suggest trying to use the edges of your strobe lights or even turn one off (or way down) some of the time to add more shadow textures and dimensionality. 


For the WA shots, first you need to expose for ambient light, then use the strobes to highlight part of the scene.  Your first example is a good one, but  (assuming the original was shot as a vertical) it looks like the bottom strobe was much closer to the reef than was the top strobe.  It's very easy to make this mistake when shooting upward toward the surface.  The strobes should be in a plane parallel to the subject you are lighting - in this case pull the bottom one back and push the top one forward. Unless the strobes are evenly distanced from the subject, this is what happens.  I have many such examples myself! 


The other two WA shots look like you were just too far away. There is some illumination at the bottom but little to none at the top.  Light falls off very quickly underwater.  Also, if you're using TTL, it is very hard to get right for these kind of shots, and you're better off going manual. 


I'd recommend Alex Mustard's recent book, as its the most user-friendly explanation I have found for strobe placement.  Martin Edge's book is also very good.  Here are a few other web resources:







#381004 Pigmy Pipehorses of Bare Island

Posted by troporobo on 27 January 2017 - 04:24 PM

Fantastic - thanks for sharing!

#380907 Shooting Macro for the first time

Posted by troporobo on 24 January 2017 - 02:15 PM

On the subject of lighting, video is similar to stills, so you'll find lots of help here:





#380642 Advice for a beginner?

Posted by troporobo on 15 January 2017 - 01:40 PM

There is a wealth of learning material on line.  I provided links to some good resources in a similar thread here:



#379446 Learned (inadvertently) a lesson . . .

Posted by troporobo on 07 December 2016 - 04:17 AM

On my last dive weekend, I somehow managed to forget to pack the tray and handles for my housing.  I had the strobes, and arms, but no way to attach them.  (In flaccid defence, I had arrived back in country after midnight and had to be in the car at zero dark thirty the same morning).  Of course I discovered this while setting up on site.  So there was nothing to do other than improvise.


I was able to jury-rig one strobe to the cold shoe in place of my normal focus light, right above the port with no possibility of adjustment. I am used to the flexibility of shooting with two strobes on multiple arms so was really not sure how to make this work, and sure the backscatter would be terminal.  


Here are the best examples from those dives.  I was stunned to get clean black backgrounds (except the fire goby which took a fair bit of spot removal) and much more 3D light than I am used to getting.  I think when I rigged the strobe to the housing I must have pointed it in just the right way to barely edge-light macro subjects.  Conclusion: I normally use too much light and don't think carefully enough about controlling it.  


Anyway I'm happy with these shots and will work more at incorporating this lesson even when I remember all the bits and pieces!













#379308 Barracuda schooling

Posted by troporobo on 03 December 2016 - 12:21 AM

Nice shot - good composition and capture of ambient light top to bottom.  


I'd probably play around with the white balance a little more.  It looks too cool (too far to the blue end of the spectrum) to me.  Maybe also bump the contrast just a bit and see if you can deepen the shadows to make the school pop out against the background at the bottom.  


Otherwise, well done!

#379245 Diving the Salish Sea

Posted by troporobo on 30 November 2016 - 04:40 AM

Beautiful work!  The clarity, composition, and stability of your macro shots are exemplary. 


Thanks a lot for sharing.   As a PNW native and former Portlander / Seattleite who has been absent too long, I love this stuff.

#379227 First images

Posted by troporobo on 29 November 2016 - 03:35 PM

I understand a little better now.  


Your strobe is manual, so forget what I said about TTL.  But I think it does have some sort of a power dial, correct?  If so you'd probably want it set as high as possible (and be within 0.5 m) for backlit subjects.


As for setting the flash to fill, i meant within the *camera* settings, not on the flash.  That will reduce the power of the camera's on-board flash and maybe reduce backscatter.  But better if you can block it somehow.  

#379226 Buoyancy Floats

Posted by troporobo on 29 November 2016 - 03:24 PM

Having a project is cool, I get it.  I like the idea of a port collar if it could be made more "form fitting" than the commercial ones I've seen. 

#379208 Buoyancy Floats

Posted by troporobo on 29 November 2016 - 06:10 AM

Look, I'm a big believer in DIYing anything that I can, often just for fun.  I have built tube stereo gear and speakers, restored sports cars and cameras, built furniture, and made heaps of accessories for all kinds of hobbies.  I've lived in more than a few remote places where if I wanted something I had to make it, and did. I will often do things the hard way just to see if I can.   But this one escapes me.  Stix floats are about $6-8 each and a set of four costs less than a single dive in many places (and they provide a LOT of buoyancy but don't deform).  I don't readily piss in someone's Cheerios but I just don't get the claim of "expensive Buoyancy floats" or how you'd save much after ordering alternative materials.  I guess if its just for fun then what the heck, go for it.  


By the way, somewhere on one of the forums, there is a post about using an empty plastic soda bottle tethered to the housing as an improvised float.  Worth an experiment perhaps, maybe with a more aesthetic container like one of those aluminium sports bottles, perhaps duct taped to the tray?

#379207 First images

Posted by troporobo on 29 November 2016 - 05:59 AM

This fish portrait and first diver look good for a first outing, so well done.  However it looks like you might be using auto exposure on the camera and/or flash settings - correct me if wrong - and that may be why the subjects in the shots closer to the surface are under exposed.  The camera is metering for the big bright area that is the surface.


You may not be ready or willing to go full manual and that's OK.  I don't know your camera but assuming you are using TTL for the flash via fibre optic, can you set the camera to auto, and flash to "fill"?  And maybe switch metering to either spot or centre weighted?

#378722 OMD-EM5 won't always turn on

Posted by troporobo on 12 November 2016 - 11:01 PM

I have had this issue come up from time to time with my E-M5 as well.  I suspect the switch could be failing.  For some reason, removing and replacing the battery and SD card seems to help reset.  It might be complete voodoo but that's all I've got.  It also won't help if the camera's in the housing and you're 20 m below!

#378176 Using Olympus 60mm macro in Nauticam 12-50 flat port

Posted by troporobo on 27 October 2016 - 12:11 AM

Yes.  I use it this way regularly.  It works perfectly. 

#377415 Camera stealing giant pacific octopus

Posted by troporobo on 26 September 2016 - 04:24 PM

Looks like you need a longer lens with more working distance :)


Cool encounter though

#375797 Is this completely distracting....

Posted by troporobo on 03 August 2016 - 09:25 PM

I like the general idea, but I don't think this image quite works.  The split is executed well. Composition is OK and the backlighting on the model is nice, though I might have tried to get a little closer and put a bit more space between the sun and the model. However the sun flare overpowers everything, the model is almost lost as a result, and the UW scene is dull and lifeless (but I guess in SWFL that's a good thing!).  The lens reflection is indeed a distraction but very hard to avoid when looking straight into the sun.  


Now if you could just go back and get a ND filter on the sun, a remote strobe on your model, and move the whole UW scene to a colorful reef, you'd be all set ;-)