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Fruitographer

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Posts posted by Fruitographer


  1.  

    Interesting counterpoint. Longer arms will certainly allow you to shape the shadows more for wide angle photography.

     

    Just my personal opinion, but I think both those images would have looked better with flat front lighting. For the diver image, the shadows cast by the mask with wide strobe positioning are unflattering to the guy's face, if he's the subject of the shot. For the reef scene, natural light underwater tends to be quite diffuse and doesn't produce strong shadows. Having the two fish under an overhang lit brighter than their surroundings looks anything but natural to me. All personal opinions and taste, though! It's always good to see people experimenting.

    I have no intention of making my images look like natural light. I even use artificial light when I'm doing landscape in nature. I want something lit in a way that would never happen in reality to show the world something they would never see otherwise. I want dramatic low key lighting and personally would never do flat even light.

     

    The images are supposed to draw you in and force the perspective while a flat light wouldn't be flattering to the image given the environment. If I was doing a fashion shoot then I would light it completely different, although it still wouldn't be flat but more subtle and smooth. It actually makes me happy that you don't think it looks natural since that wasn't what I wanted at all. I realize natural lighting underwater is diffused and more flat but that wasn't what I wanted. The fish were my primary subject in the image and that was the best way to make them stand out. If it was flat, nothing would separate them from the background and the viewers eyes would wander around the image and not have a point of focus. It's funny how most professional commercial lighting on land is lit the way I did with the fish but as soon as it's taken underwater everyone wants to light things with even lighting rather than precise angles and positions to highlight the subject. You rarely see natural lighting for a photo shoot designed for a magazine since we can artificially make the light better than it would be naturally so why would we avoid this underwater? Having the shadow on the side of his head darkens that area and keeps the viewers eyes towards the primary subject in this image which are his eyes and the front of his face. If his head was flat and even, you wouldn't be pulled subconsciously towards the eyes and be prevented from connecting with the person as much.

     

    Ever since I was a baby there has been a darkroom in my families house and I remember going on hikes with my father and his 8x10 Deardorf view camera which he has since gifted to me. At this point it's not as much an experiment as my intended style. In the house I grew up in Ansel Adams was considered to just be average while Edward Weston and William Mortensen were who I looked at for inspiration.

     

    I do appreciate your comments and how it's your opinion rather than what's right or wrong. A photograph is like a painting, every artist sees and paints an image differently but that doesn't mean it's always right or wrong but rather different and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know your opinion as I take everything I hear into consideration, even if they just picked up a camera for the first time.


  2. Why not get a D810? I've seen several lately with Nauticam housing for pretty reasonable prices. It's capable of getting some amazing shots and less than half the price. I saw one recently for $2,600 with cameras. A new D850 with Nauticam housing will cost close to $8,000. You would still need to buy ports but you'll have to do that anyway it sounds like. With the D810 you could get ports along with lenses and still have less invested even with a pair of strobes added in. The D850 is definitely a better camera but if you're not shooting commercially the D810 is perfect.

     

    I've looked into Mirrorless but I'd rather wait for the next generation from Nikon where they have a chance to fix all the little issues with the first gen version. One benefit of mirrorless is the possibility for Nikonos lenses. Nauticam already makes adapters to use Nikonos lenses with Sony A7 and I'm hoping they come out with one for Nikon. when they can make that happen, especially for the 2nd gen, them I'll get it.


  3. I use a two 16" Big Blue arms on each side and shoot mostly wide angle. The main point of having long arms is to bring out texture and shadows to add depth in your image and not as much about light coverage. Most people with little arms and wide angle will have flat lighting and won't look as good. For macro the arms can be shorter since the subject will be close and the lights won't need to be out as far to produce the same results. I wouldn't look at arm length for coverage vs effect on shadows. I almost always set up my left strobe as my key light and fill in the shadows with the right. The fill light should be set lower just enough to fill the shadows to keep the 3D look. I they are both set at the same power setting and angled the same way everything will look flat and 2D.

     

    Macro can get away with small arms since the distance is closer and lights won't need to be out as far to skim the light for maximum shadow effect.

     

    If you're in pitch black and you have a flashlight next to your head while pointing it at an egg it will look flat like a piece of paper. As you bring the light further out, the shape of the egg will start to show and go from looking 2D to 3D. I adjust strobe position and angle for every single shot to bring out the most texture and flattering light.

     

    Light concepts are the same out of water as they are in the water and you'll never see a professional photographer with the light source so close to the lens.

     

    Here are a couple examples of what I'm talking about. The wide arms bring out the texture in the rocks and reef. If they were closer it would look flat and less impactful. The image of the reef couldn't be done with shorter arms. I needed the arm out as far as possible on the left to create the depth in the reef and used the right strobe primarily at the two fish to isolate and make them pop from the the background.

    post-54473-0-35860500-1553170725_thumb.jpg

    post-54473-0-15679300-1553170793_thumb.jpg


  4. Extending the arms out and facing the strobes out for feather will provide two different results. The further out the strobes are from the lens will create more texture and depth in your image. I use 2 16" arms on each side and try to keep them out as far as possible and back behind the camera. Then I feather on top of that to skim the light across the surface of my subject creating more depth in the image. As ChrisRoss said, the closer the subject usually the closer your strobes come in and everything else he said is on point as well.

     

    The easiest way to understand lighting in Wa is to use your flashlight while diving and try different methods and watch what happens with out a camera at all. I started photography in WA with nothing but a flashlight and the on camera flash turned down as low as possible to fill shadows. It helped learn how to reduce backscatter a great deal. On the next dive without a camera take the flashlight in your left hand since usually the camera is in the right. Extend your arm completely out with subject directly in front of you and light facing far left. Rotate the flashlight beam towards the subject to feather it. You'll see the sweet spot as the light just starts to illuminate the subject. Pretending your head and eyes are the camera and your flashlight is the strobe with your arm kept straight and move your arm forward and back like you're making snow angels and watch what happens. As your arm moves back you should see less backscatter. I prefer back and slightly up to give nice shadows and light. Now try doing the same thing with your arms tucked in closer with the light closer to your head and feather the subject. This will show you exactly what strobe position will do without any equipment needed and save you some money while making sure you get what you're looking for. I usually shoot wide and not very much macro but I've seen a lot of people have the strobes in tight and facing forward. For super close up macro this will provide a feather and looks pretty good when I've tried it. You can try this by holding your flashlight near your head facing straight forward, then swim closer to you subject like your head was the camera and watch the light.

     

    Start with one strobe and learn lighting and how to bring out texture then go to two strobes if you want. I've seen many people try to use two light sources when they don't even understand how to use one. I started with a flashlight, then one strobe, then two and now two on camera and 3-4 remote strobes in a cave.

    • Like 1

  5. I like the colors overall although the teeth are a little blue and the colors would look better to me if the teeth were more white. Other than that I like the colors and nobody who didn't know would be able to tell the difference in color anyway. The main thing I notice is how the depth of field isn't large enough. the first shot the nose is in focus but the eyes are out. Then the eyes are in but the nose it out of focus. It can tend to subconsciously bother the viewer if the foreground in an image is out of focus. the depth of field should be increased to show both the nose and the eyes in focus and then these would be incredible.


  6. I'm originally from the PNW and dove on a regular basis when I lived there. I see you're in B.C., have you ever made it to Skookumchuk rapids in Egmont or God's Pocket on the North end of Vancouver? I can tell you this much is that this short little strobe arms aren't going to do much for a wide angle and would be primarily for macro, although I just realized that's probably your buddy. I use a pair of 16" arms on each side giving a 3 foot reach on the left and right. The easiest way to see what your light will do is to use a flashlight to light something and put it in all different positions in relation to the position of your eye simulating the camera lens and the flashlight would be your strobe. You'll see the farther out you get it the less backscatter you get and your subjects will have more texture as well giving the image a substantial amount more pop. Learn how to skim textures and this will help tremendously underwater. Think of a car coming down the road at night and if your standing on the sidewalk. The headlights from the car will be low to the ground skimming the texture of the road and you'll see every little bump and texture, I prefer to use this concept for underwater and it makes a big difference.

     

    For the one image of the fish, I would've faced my right strobe towards the fish since it's facing the right strobe and it will also skim the side of the fish adding more texture as well. Turn down the light level of the left strobe to be more of a fill for shadows. Then position the left side up above the lens or out more to create more texture with just the edge of the light beam hitting the anemone.

     

    The image that shows the most wide angle with all the green with a little bit of lit up hand rail should have the strobes angled towards the further area you want to light up. I wouldn't have pointed the strobe at that hand rail at all. If you light whats behind it, the feather from the strobe will light up the handrail any way bot not as much to be more even and not as blown out. this will give more color and it will help prevent near objects from being so blown out.

     

    Most of the time my strobes are faced all over the place and I'm constantly adjusting depending on what shot I want to get. Once you understand lighting, everything will fall into place.


  7. I like my strobes as far away from the lens as possible so I can get as much texture as possible without harsh shadows. Right now I'm using a pair of 16" arms on both sides allowing me 36" on each. You're right that the lighting is pretty flat and keeps the image from popping like it could. I also prefer to light with my key light on the left since our eyes travel from left to right on a photograph. I did an experiment and showed a group of people a portrait of the exact same image flipped and everyone thought the image with the light coming from the left was brighter and more inviting. So I would light the eels from the left and put the right strobe as a fill and move it more centered and above the lens to remove the shadow while still maintaining texture. Also set the output on the right light about a stop or so lower so it creates more shadows and depth while preventing a flat look.

     

    For the shrimp, it's hard to tell what your restrictions were for light placement so it's hard to give advice. Without knowing the constraints and what gear you have this may or may not have worked. What looks like it would've worked well would be to bring the left light in close to the side of your port and facing directly forward so you actually light with the feather light of your strobe. Don't point it directly at the subject. On the right strobe you could bring in a snoot to light just the shrimp and make it pop more. This would create a substantial amount more texture for the coral and make the shrimp pop where you don't have to look for it so long. It took me a while to see the shrimp wasn't part of the coral.


  8. I sent him a PM and tried to said something on this page that I wanted to purchase everything but now answer on his post here or the PM I sent. If someone can't respond like this and they're selling something, there's no way I'm going to purchase it. If they can't even message you back then how can I expect them to send the product in a timely manner if at all.

    • Like 1

  9. Just bought an a6300! :)

     

    Will worry about lens, housings, strobes after I develop some photography skills...

     

    Thanks so much for your help everyone!!!

    eBay has a Nauticam housing for a Sony A6300 for $1,100. This would be the perfect housing to get for you to take your camera underwater with you.

     

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nauticam-A6300-Housing/302834289287?hash=item4682548a87%3Ag%3A6ukAAOSwAjlbThzN&_sacat=0&_nkw=nauticam+housing&_from=R40&rt=nc&LH_TitleDesc=0


  10. look for a used Iron Z240. You can find them for around $350 a piece for used and would be your best option. I've read great reviews about them. I've got Ikelite strobes now and they work just fie but are bigger and bulkier than a Z240. Do not get Sea and Sea, they have had many issues with strobes and I've had one flood the main part of the housing and it took them several months after returning it to tell me there was nothing they could do and it happened 2 months after my warranty expired so they wouldn't replace it. So unless you want to spend a bunch of money on a piece of garbage in my opinion, stay away from Sea & Sea and go for a used Z240.


  11. The best photography book I've ever seen is by Kodak titled "How to Take Good Pictures". It has nothing to do with underwater and is a bit outdated but the concepts and explanations are excellent. It will cover all the topics and setting you need to understand about your camera and provide examples of how these settings change the image. Definitely worth picking up.

     

    Congratulations on your new camera.


  12. You can get a non z240 strobe for around $300-$350 and you can start with one. Setup with two arms as if you were using two strobes. Place the one strobe you get on the left side and mount a white plastic card on the right arm. when shooting, you can position the card to reflect light back into the subject you want to photograph and the card will act like a second light if it's held close enough. You're better off shooting with one light anyway until you understand how lighting works. It can get very confusing rather quickly if you jump into using two lights right away. Try to understand the behavior of light with one strobe first or you'll be chasing you tail in circles.

     

    If you want to learn more about photography and the concepts we're talking about, Kodak makes an excellent book that explains everything better than any other book I've ever seen. It's a little out dated but the concepts are still the same and it gives examples and comparisons, of everything it talks about. The title is (How to Take Good Pictures). The most recent version has a yellow cover with red text.

     

    Your option is to get a nicer camera that's current and usable for land or get an outdated version that can go underwater. It depends on what you really want to do. If you just want to get into photography then get a nice camera and wait to get the housing until later. there would be some benefits to getting a nicer camera now and a housing later. You would have a better understanding of how the system works and how each function affect the image. Trying to figure this out underwater would be pretty frustrating. Since the Nikon D850 just came out, many people were getting rid of there D810 setups. I scooped up a Nauticam housing and camera body which looks brand new for $3,200. So if you already had the camera you want the best time to get a housing is right when the same manufacturer announces a new model that will replace the one you have. Then you'll see a surge of people trying to update their kits and get rid of the housing you want to get.

     

    I'm actually getting ready to get an older kit from someone for an outstanding deal. At the price I'm getting it for you could have a nice camera for land and a cheap kit for underwater and still be within your budget.

     

    Link to book

    Kodak's How To Take Good Pictures.

     

    My Olympus TG4 doesn't have manual mode which drives me nuts. I want to control everything in my camera to get the exact image I see in my mind and know is a possibility to produce. Since it doesn't have manual I have to trick it into doing what I want which requires an in depth understanding of how a camera functions.


  13. The more I think about it the more I agree that a crop sensor would be better for someone just getting into underwater photography. the size of dome ports you need for a full frame is definitely a big consideration as well and a big piece of equipment to lug around. the Sony a6500 looks like a nice little camera that I would imagine would be pretty good and compact. There's quite a bit of older Sony equipment for some great deals. I've only used a Sony RX100 V with a Nauticam wet wide angle lens and was able to get some pretty decent shots. Sony makes many of the camera sensors even for other manufactures so I'm sure they're camera sensor are pretty good. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with the older NEX5 or NEX7 cameras underwater. They have a crop sensor and can be found for pretty cheap. There's a Nauticam housing for NEX5 on eBay for $400 and the camera is only around $100 through eBay as well. Personally I would use the 50mm f2.8 macro that costs $200. required N85 to N120 port adaptor is $480 and the macro port is $360. So what seems like a good deal for a housing that only costs $400 now just turned into $1,540. The more I look at the compact Sony crop sensor the more it entices me. From the stats, they seem like pretty good cameras. I wish I could say from my own experience whether they were any good or not. I also found a full kit for a Sony NEX5n on eBay with 2 ports and 2 lenses. You still may need to get some other ports and a macro lens to shoot close up, but this kit would get you in the water. for much less than it would've been separately. The reviews don't look good for what yo could get today. the NEX5 is probably not a great option for what's currently available.

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Nauticam-housing-Sony-NEX5n-ports-camera/113060249687?hash=item1a52ea8057:g:26oAAOSwPN9bGgJw

     

    The Fuji XT-2 would be a great camera underwater on land and in the water with outstanding color rendition. My father has been doing photography for over 45 years and has the XT-1 and loves it. To get anything Fuji though would have to be purchased new which puts anything from them way outside the price range for this discussion. But now we can rule them out.

     

    If you go with Sony, here is a good article about different macro lenses available with comparison photos. Pretty good article.

    http://www.divephotoguide.com/underwater-photography-special-features/article/sony-e-mount-lenses-for-underwater-photography-part-1-macro/


  14. Barmaglot, thanks for the info on Sony A7 models. I don't have any experience with Sony other than what I've heard from people that have one. I appreciate the informative response. I do agree with Hyp that if you're using strobes and only shooting macro than you should have a low ISO and all the light will be from your strobes anyway. which means you won't necessarily need the low light capabilities for underwater. I've heard more and more the argument for not needing a full frame sensor and I agree, the technology today will allow you to get some incredible shots with a crop sensor. Although just like you hear for engines there's no replacement for displacement. I wouldn't rule out a crop sensor for someone like AlanP but I would never use a crop camera as a professional and try to say it's just as good as a full frame. Since AlanP is planning to do photography both in the water and on land low light high ISO capabilities would still be a good thing to have. If you can find a really good deal on a crop sensor setup than go for it since it will still get you some great shots. I'm actually getting ready to get a full kit from a friend that has a Ikelite housing and older canon rebel with macro port and macro lens. the camera is pretty out of date but has a crop sensor and would work perfect to start off with. You would be able to get this kit and have enough money left over for a set of strobes and still be right around a $1,00 for everything. Perfect to start out with and if you flood it while you're still learning the camera is cheap enough that it won't matter as much as if you had a $2,000 camera inside. I'm actually getting this system for myself but it might work better for you. I should be picking it up in a week or two and I'll do some test shots to see how it works and let you know. hip is correct that you might have to go with a crop sensor or micro four thirds camera to stay under $3,000. I got a great deal on a Nauticam housing for D810 that also had the camera included. Since I've already got a D810 and over 20 Nikon lenses already, it was an easy decision. I only paid $3,200 for the whole package but now I still have to buy ports and focus gears which will add even more to the cost. I've already got strobes but even with the stuff I already got the system and port already go way over your budget.


  15. If you plan to do photography get strobes, if you plan to do video get continuous lights. I've been using a couple of Big Blue 25,000 lumen lights and my strobes are 3 to 4 times brighter. The Inon Z240 looks like a good strobe and people seem to like them If I wasn't going in the caves with remote setups and needing more durability, that's what I would probably have. Right now I've got a DS161 and multiple DS125's with remote triggers.

     

    I tend to see people diving with Olympus cameras because they seem to have a good market for housing and a lower price. I've never seen a professional photographer with an Olympus though and the mirrorless they have I looked at was only micro four thirds which instantly takes it off the table for me. A compact at micro four thirds would be good but for what the Olympus camera is it should at least be a crop sensor. The TG cameras are great but since they only have a 1/2" sensor the image quality suffers. I've taken some incredible shots with it that didn't work out well since the quality was lacking. There's a Sony A7S with Nauticam housing on eBay right now for $2,399 but you would still need to purchase ports and lenses as well which will bring the price up a good amount. It has a full frame sensor and would do well in low light I don't have much experience with Sony but if you want mirrorless they are at the top of the market right now and people seem to love them. Although the menu can be a bit of a pain and not very easy to use and it's supposed to go through batteries pretty fast. Would easily last through a dive though. An A7s has a 12.2 MP which seams low but it also means each pixel with have more depth and richer color so sometimes more mega pixels isn't always a good thing. Even though Canon and Nikon are coming out with mirrorless models supposedly within the next year, the price will still be pretty steep and then you would have to buy a housing at full price as well putting the total way above what you want to spend.

     

    flash sync speed shouldn't matter that much because you'll probably be low light enough that at ISO 100 and f8 everything will be black except for the artificial light you add yourself by either a strobe or video light. A strobe fires so fast that in a dark environment you could use a long exposure and it wouldn't matter because the flash adds the total amount of required in a fraction of a second and will freeze the image.

     

    I wouldn't rule out an out of date system for a great deal as well. If it gives you everything you need to get in the water and shooting macro for a couple hundred dollars then you could get some strobes and you'd be on your way. It would give you a chance to learn manual settings and have enough money left over to get some strobes. Which you really need to do macro. If you're open to that I might be able to help you out. In the mean time I'll keep an eye out for you.

     

    I'm hoping that Panasonic will come out with the Lumix LX200 this fall. that might be a great camera for underwater. put it in a Nauticam housing with a macro adapter and you'd be set. Add in two Z240 and that should be a good package.


  16. the first strobe I started out with was a Sea&Sea YSD2 and the electronics portion flooded just after a year of purchase. Sent it in and after 3 months wait they said they couldn't fix it and I was out over $700. Stay away from Sea&Sea they are horribly built strobes and not worth it no matter how good a deal. Plus they have some of the worst customer service I've ever seen. I started out with a TG4 and now I have a Nauticam housing showing up tomorrow for my D810. I'm a very experienced photographer and will finally be able to get some decent shots underwater. Now I'm trying to stock up on DS125's that I can use as remote strobes in the caves and I'm actually getting ready to purchase Iritter's old DS125's. I've also got a DS161 for on the camera. If I wasn't shooting with 4-8 remote strobes not including the ones on camera I'd be ore likely to go with an Z330. Even with the TG4 using a flashlight held from the side and the on camera flash as a fill, I was able to get some pretty decent shots. I'm pretty excited to see what comes next. Now I have to figure out what wide angle lens to get other than fisheye and which dome port to get.

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