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Member Since 07 Nov 2004
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#369309 Great Lakes, not so exotic but worth it just the same!

Posted by Tom_Kline on 14 January 2016 - 04:35 PM

Great images! The divers provide a very nice sense of scale too.

#367933 Best photograph/er lists -What makes for a great image?

Posted by Tom_Kline on 04 December 2015 - 10:37 PM

The question posed in the thread title reminds me of the iconic image thread started by Steve Williams a while back. IMHO this is a different question then what gets selected for a given publication.


Lists of "best" seems dubious at best given the great diversity in range of underwater image content. As well the majority of people have not been underwater in a natural habitat while maintaining vision; thus most underwater images are a bit exotic to them.

#367856 Strobes versus Video Lights

Posted by Tom_Kline on 03 December 2015 - 08:54 AM


edit. The concept of the I-torch symbiosis I like better (strobe and LED-lights are thermally separated), their specs (poor CRI LED, high CT strobe) less so. 



Good point! To get the specs you need you will have to buy lights and strobes separately. Combo units are likely to compromise one or both with respect to your needs.

#367410 Full Frame SLR wide angle corrector port tests

Posted by Tom_Kline on 23 November 2015 - 11:11 PM

Did some more shooting with the ICL today. Swapped the 16-35, ICL, etc. and shot it @ 16mm on my 1DX to take advantage of the better AF. The in-focus corners are particularly impressive. No corner smearing! I am attaching a full frame and a blow-up of the lower right hand corner.


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#366876 How to have a clear photo of a fish moving in front of a camera ?

Posted by Tom_Kline on 06 November 2015 - 12:32 PM

I am posting here a couple of "technique" shots that may better explain what I do. Both cameras in the shot showing two housings are set up with a single Seacam strobe positioned at 12 o'clock and above the water. These are my primary light sources. I also have some available light pix done with no strobe - most of the recent (last few years) shots on my site showing schools of salmon are done this way. High ISO is generally needed. Available light shots generally have less issues with reflective parts of salmon bodies. Even when it is sunny such as the shot with two housings, the light is very patchy in forest settings so strobes are generally needed on the spawning grounds. There is no sun at all hitting the ground late in the season, like right now (November), at spawning grounds located in valleys due to very low sun angle.


You can see the remote cord from the housing in top of the frame (two housing pic) - it ran over to where I was standing to shoot the technique shot. From this vantage point I was able to shoot both cameras. Note that there is a salmon pair in front of each housing. These salmon are about 0.5m long (for scale). I have to anticipate where a salmon is going to be in the next second when I push the button. Two housings (different models, one being older or "obsolete") is a convenient set up - I hold one release in each hand.


The shot showing one housing shows evidence of one of my "issues". It had rained a bit in the days before the shot. The water level had been much higher leaving a layer of sediment on the leaves of the trees - mostly willows (genus Salix). Rain brings in glacial sediments from the main stem of the creek into the side channel creek seen in the pic. There is still some fine sediment even though the water looks pretty clear. So almost all shots from here have very fine backscatter. Mature Sockeye Salmon do not have too much of a reflection issue except for their mouths. I have had blown highlights in the mouth and had to throw those pix out. Dolly Varden are partially reflective even when mature. This is most evident when the female turns on her side to make a dig as seen in the posted pic. They also have white in the mouth. I have had blown highlights from both of these reflective areas and have had to toss a few pix. This is not my only issue with shooting local Dolly Varden spawning. My local spawning area is just downstream from a small waterfall, which is barely visible in the background of the shot. It generates a lot of tiny air bubbles which you can see in the pic. They can also get stuck on the port due to surface tension. Bubbles are especially bad when there is a lot of flow such as after rain, which is when they spawn. This site does not have glacial sediments, instead the water is stained like tea. Staining is worse after a rain as well. Staining darkens the water a bit, about a stop less light transmittance. Lots of problems that need some adaptation in order to get the shots. I have worked them out (more or less) with trial and error. BTW, the fallen tree I described in my earlier post is what is seen in the middle of this pic. I was standing behind where the male is and the spawning was upstream of the tree in the dark part of this pic.


I hope this helps!




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#362621 Strobe positioning with fisheye - tips needed!

Posted by Tom_Kline on 24 June 2015 - 11:23 PM

FWIW I have been shooting a fisheye at ground level with a single strobe positioned at 12 o'clock for a few years. The reason for that is to use the port shade to block direct lighting of the dome's glass. Lights from strobes positioned to the side ended up striking the glass through the shade cut-out resulting in flare. Subjects are right up to the dome. There are some videos on my web site showing this set up in action for shooting salmon - located under the species listings.


#356180 Your Favourite/Best Image of 2014

Posted by Tom_Kline on 02 January 2015 - 12:53 PM

Alex: congratulations on your marriage!


It is always a challenge to pick just one favorite shot! This year I had more than one candidate from the same day of shooting the most challenging local (i.e., location not requiring a plane trip or boat ride to get to) salmonine species to shoot, the Cutthroat Trout. Locally, this species is about three orders of magnitude less abundant than salmon. The alternate pic to the one chosen here is in my Christmas E-card (posted on another thread).

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#355940 Cold water problems

Posted by Tom_Kline on 28 December 2014 - 12:16 PM

I see this same phenomenon when shooting in Alaska during the autumn when ambient tempertures, both water and air, are near freezing.  NiMH and to some extent Li batteries show reductions in capacity. One has to live with it, bring batteries to swap out, etc. The shorter day length makes this problem easier to deal with ;-> I typically plant my camera set-ups in a stream for multiple hours at a time; fewer hours as the season progresses.


BTW I have had zeroed out batteries (Seacam strobes have nifty battery charge indicators) show non-zero charge levels back at home after warming.

#351988 New Canon 16-35 f/4 IS

Posted by Tom_Kline on 25 August 2014 - 04:42 PM

And your conclusions are???  I was just about to order the 16-35mm f2.8 for my upcoming Galapagos trip when I heard about this lens.  Greatly interested in any comparison.



No more in the way of conclusions than what I stated above. Have stayed with the 55mm port extension, which is what Seacam HQ recommends for the 16-35/2.8 II lens but not what Stephen Frink recommends for it. Looking forward to S.F.'s analysis of the 16-35 IS. 16mm is stretching it a bit for the superdome, which was designed for 18mm. Have not shot any other Canon made UWA rectilinear lenses so comparison not possible. The new lens is to replace my Sigma 20 and 28mm f/1.8 lenses. The new lens does appear to focus faster than these. Have you read Roger Cicala's reports? Here is a more recent shot. Done at f/8.


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#349927 TTL, a-TTl, e-TTl, e-TTL II

Posted by Tom_Kline on 06 July 2014 - 03:27 PM

TTL without any extra letters refers to the Nikon/Nikonos film type TTL as you surmised - light was measured bouncing off of the film during the exposure and the flash quenched accordingly. The newer systems are mutually incompatible. Most use pre-flashes to determine the flash exposure prior to taking the picture. You need a separate adapter, if one is available, for each type.

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#348910 Underwater reflection photography

Posted by Tom_Kline on 10 June 2014 - 01:42 PM

You are looking through Snell's window. http://en.wikipedia..../Snell's_window

Avoid getting too much of the surface (looking upward) in the shot to not get this effect.


#340894 D800 write to card delay

Posted by Tom_Kline on 19 December 2013 - 08:11 PM


It sounds like you have long-exposure noise reduction activated on your camera. Shoot long exposures manually - you should see a similar relationship. You can deactivate this feature via menus, but you will get long-exposure noise.


 Is this normal for a camera to take 30 seconds to write after a 30 second exposure?...  It pretty much seems to take a second to write each second of exposure.  




#340606 Your Favourite/Best Image of 2013

Posted by Tom_Kline on 13 December 2013 - 05:19 PM

I look forward to this thread every year. One reason why I chose this photo showing Chinook Salmon (as of 2013 common names of North American fishes are to be capitalized- https://afs.confex.c...Paper12336.html) was because it is the one North American Pacific salmon species not found spawning in my backyard (within 10km of my abode) so I have relatively few of them in my portfolio. I took it while on a drive around the state looking for them in cataloged streams. It was partly cloudy on the day I took this shot (available light only) - I got in just a few shots with the sparkle of direct sunlight and this one is my favorite. I returned to this location a week later and the water was quite murky.


Chinook Salmon is also a species of concern in many Alaskan systems. These are in a tributary of the Deshka River (a couple hour drive north of Anchorage), which got an escapement of 18.5K this year. This was up a bit from recent years but much less than years ago.

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#334754 Getting new lens for D700

Posted by Tom_Kline on 22 July 2013 - 11:16 PM

Here is an example of shooting a fisheye lens wide open. In this case a 10.5mm on DX format. Note how the algae in the center foreground is in focus and on the left and right in the background but not the center. This is due to the curved field of the virtual image formed by the dome port.

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#334728 Getting new lens for D700

Posted by Tom_Kline on 22 July 2013 - 09:30 AM

All the wrecks I am photographing as deep and dark, as I are trying to stay with something in the f2.8 range of lens to reduce the amount of ISO level I need to crank up when getting these ambient light images.


Hi Barry,

One of the constraints of underwater photgraphy is the need to focus on the curved virtual image projected by a dome port. This means stopping your lens down to a small aperture to attempt to get peripherial parts of the image in focus; the wider the lens angle, the smaller the aperture that is needed (you may need f/11 or smaller). It helps to use a larger dome port as well (one with a larger radius of curvatue; an 8" hemisphere is not all that large when dealing with extreme wide angle lenses). To use a 14mm lens on full frame you may need to use a combination of high ISO and a powerful wide angle strobe. The exception is when you have little detail away from the center of the image such as mostly empty water. Your image showing the beam of the diver's light is an excellent example of this exception.