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Posts posted by uw_nikon

  1. Please, circle exactly what you see as strange background in your images.


    It could be just plain old backscatter since it occurs in sandy areas (lots of particles in the water) and goes away when focusing closer (limits the water between the lens and subject; also limits the total depth of field).


    Take Care,



    (note: if you shot a point-and-shoot housed camera before getting the d200, the point-and-shoot's sensor is tiny which makes the depth of field very large in comparison to your d200's dx sensor at the same f/stop.)

  2. Get a strobe and a separate focus light.


    Why _not_ HID?

    -even though HID lights are bright, they don't put out as much light as a strobe does.

    -a strobe can stop action (HID cannot)

    -a strobe has many power settings (HID one setting)


    Why separate focusing light?

    -in underwater photographic lighting, you almost _never_ want the strobe pointed directly at your subject (edge lighting doesn't illuminate the water between your lens and the subject; less backscatter. With a focus light built-in to your strobe, you have to point the strobe at the subject to focus.)

    -you don't need a huge/super bright light for a focus light _or_ night diving (most of the time you're trying to light a subject that's no more than 4' (1.2m) away from you light (and yes bright focus lights do spook subjects night or day)


    Other things to consider:

    -diffusers cut the power of your strobes and make the shadows softer

    -eventually, you'll want a second strobe to fill in those harsh shadows (matched pairs are best for lighting flexibility)

    -get a good strobe arm and tray to start (it will save you lots of headaches)


    Take Care,


  3. -get low (at or below eye level of your subject)

    -get close (less water between the lens and your subject = more color and detail)

    -get closer (most people think they're close enough. But, they are not.)

    -shoot up (separate your subject from the background)


    -find good negative space THEN look for subjects

    -fill the frame with your subject

    -eyes/head of subject has to be in sharp focus

    -avoid bullseye composition (no subject dead center in the frame)

    -crop in your view finder, not at the light table/computer


    Comments on your three shots:

    #1 (the kelp with nudibranchs)

    -subjects way too small (try to fill the frame with one of the nudibranchs)


    #2 (crab)

    -good shot

    -could get closer (cropping out some of the negative space)

    -looks like you used a diffuser on your strobe (good)


    #3 (hermit crab)

    -fill the frame with the hermit crab

    -separate the subject from the background (see if you can find a hermit up on a little knob of rock; a black background is better than one your subject blends into)


    Take Care,


  4. Get a matched pair of strobes with many manual power settings (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, full; or more; I think the S&S dx90? has 10 power settings) and a set of diffusers.


    Learn proper strobe exposure based on distance, f/stop, electronic "film" speed, and subject reflectivity. You can dial it in using the camera's histograms and your experience looking at the image on the camera's LCD (also, do more in depth analysis at your computer screen).


    Strobe positioning (important for limiting backscatter _and_ making the shot look naturally lit), Diffusers can allow you to place the strobes closer to your subject which can add detail, color, and contrast.


    After you have strobe exposure worked out, work on balancing strobe and ambient light by adjusting shutter speed. (ambient lit areas: slower = lighter, faster = darker)


    Take Care,


  5. I would go with close focus wide angle and work on balancing the strobe light and ambient light.


    -use your sigma 10-20mm

    -find a non-moving subject (an anemone or soft coral)

    -get within 12 inches (30cm)



    -get close

    -get low (at eye level of your subject or slightly lower)

    -get closer (less water = better detail and color)

    -shoot up (blue or green water background)


    -dial in your strobe position and power (consider a diffuser and a second strobe to fill harsh shadows)

    -then adjust shutter speed to balance the ambient light


    >>Result: cool shot that relates your main subject with its environment.


    Take Care,


  6. Since you're using a wide angle zoom fisheye (Tokina 10-17mm), you could:

    -prefocus on something at the distance you want to shoot (remember to adjust your strobes' power settings and aim for that distance also)

    -set the aperture to f/8 or f/11

    -set the camera focus mode to Manual

    This is hyperfocal shooting. (letting the wide angle lens' huge depth of field keep most everything in focus)

    why use it?


    -yields good results

    -no focus light required (no watching you AF hunt while your subject is in the perfect pose)


    if the D2x is similar to the D200, you have:

    two AF modes

    -single servo (static subjects or subjects moving parallel to film plane)

    -continuous (subjects moving toward/away from film plane)


    four AF Area modes

    -single AF area

    -dynamic AF area

    -group dynamic AF area (good starting point for wide angle)

    -dynamic area AF with closest subject priority (maybe for close focus wide angle)


    two area modes

    -Normal (11 areas) <default>

    -Wide (7 areas)


    Practice on land:

    -try photographing your dog running around the yard

    -use both AF and hyperfocal (see what fits your wide angle shooting style best)

  7. Pre-flash might be doing a full dump instead of a micro flash.



    -setting the strobe to 1/4 power (instead of TTL)

    -set camera to manual*: 1/60 second, f/8

    -flash aimed at subject

    -shoot image


    Possible results:

    -black image (sync problem)

    -subject illuminated by flash (pre-flash problem)


    *Note: the "auto" setting when underwater forces the camera to make dumb mistakes. Learn and use manual settings.


    Take Care,


  8. I am looking at getting a 20mm with +2d….I am more of a fish, turtle, rays, and shark kinda shooter….or have been with my P&S in the past…..


    Any advice on the 20mm?


    Before you get the 20mm, learn how to use the 24mm (so, it becomes almost automatic: composition, lighting, strobe power, balancing strobe and ambient light, shutter speed, and f/stop).


    The biggest difference between the 20mm and 24mm is you have to get much closer to fill the frame (and/or get larger subjects). Note: closer can be good (less water between lens and subject = better detail and color).


    The 20mm might be too wide for shooting turtles, rays, and sharks. (they might not allow you to get close enough to fill the frame).


    Get close (no more than 4'; more like 2 to 3'; This applies even with a pair of powerful strobes.)


    Take Care,


  9. If you were shooting the 50mm f/1.8 behind your 8" dome, the reason the lens can't focus is the dome's virtual image at 16" (twice the dome radius) is inside the 50mm's minimum focus distance (1.5' = 18").


    A diopter (maybe +2?) would fix the problem with the 50mm.

    Look at a 50mm _macro lens_ using a flat port. The standard 50mm is very limited for underwater use.


    Your 24mm f/2.8 would be a great starter lens for underwater (close focus) wide angle since you have only one small strobe. (no diopter required, the 24mm's minimum focal distance is 9.6")


    Take Care,


  10. Western digital makes a 2TB drive. (two 1TB drives in a RAID 0 configuration which means fast and high capacity because the data is stripped across both drives)


    But, the cool thing is you can also configure it to RAID 1 (mirrored) which means the drive appears to your computer as a 1TB drive and any data written to the drive is actually written to each drive in the RAID 1. (built-in backup; the only way to lose data is if _both_ hard drives fail _or_ something totally hoses the drives logical data structure.)


    Also, _please_ keep at least one copy of your backed up data _offsite_. (backups aren't secure against fire, natural disaster, theft, etc.)


    Take Care,


  11. Research your subject's behavior.

    -why do they do the behavior

    -when do they do it (time or a reaction to stimulus)

    -how do you (the photographer/diver) affect your subject's behavior and how can you minimize that

    -what behavior do you want to capture


    While shooting

    -watch for a pattern of behavior (i.e., a small fish hopping from perch to perch; a fish tending its eggs/nest (fanning, cleaning, chasing away threats), etc.)

    -what's causing the pattern

  12. Don't all strobes fire when you short the ground and fire pins together?


    If so, you could rig a momentary contact switch to do that. (making it waterproof and pressure proof is the tricky part.)



    -a sync cord connector to attach to the strobe

    -a water-tight, pressure proof box to house the switch

    -an o-ring sealed button to activate the momentary contact switch (or if you wanted to get fancy, a cam activated reed switch would probably be easier to activate [very little pressure need to pull trigger])

    -an o-ring sealed cord penetration in to the box

    -pistol grip would be ideal (assuming you're hand carrying the strobe from location to location)


    Take Care,


  13. A few tips:

    -find good negative space first then look for subjects on that negative space (the orange encrusting sponge to the right of the basslett for example)

    -crop you images in the view finder (not at the light table)

    -look at the edges of your image for distracting areas of light or dark (also, pay attension to the negative space around your subject; no light poles growing out of their heads _or_ kelp stalks, etc.)

    -have compositions in mind when shooting (but be flexible)

    -fill the frame with the subject


    The mantra every underwater photo instructor repeats:

    -get close

    -get closer (there's no subsitute for less water between your lens and the subject)

    -get low

    -shoot up

  14. The second image.


    -the fish fills the frame

    -the fish is at a slight diagonal head toward the viewer

    -good negative space behind the fish

    (one slight problem the out of focus foreground directly below the fish which is slightly distracting.)


    Other things to consider:

    -always make sure the subject has room to move forward (more space in front of fish than behind it in the frame)

    -fish/divers should be swimming into the frame not out of it _or_ away from the viewer

    -try to shoot your subject from their eye level or below (this gives the viewer a conversational relationship with the subject)

  15. They both selective filters for blue light. (I don't know the specific differences between them.)


    Note: if you want to use a strobe and a magic filter, you must put the counter filter/gel on your strobe. Otherwise, the foreground will be tinted the color of the magic filter and it won't look natural.

  16. If the bulb in the modeling light isn't rated for high current discharge batteries (rechargable NiMH or NiCad), it will burn out quickly.


    (too much current, too fast = fast burnout; standard alkaline batteries cannot deliver the same amount of current a NiCad or NiMH battery can in a given amount of time.)


    It shouldn't matter if the batteries are high mA-hr or not. (it's the batteries' discharge rate that will zap the bulb. Something, a resistor, has to limit the current thru the bulb.)

  17. I don't know what application is used. (Probably, the Adobe Flash development environment; Lightroom has a way to do a Flash image gallery for the web; but, it's fairly basic.).


    It could be a custom job _or_ a modification of a template supplied by Adobe or a 3rd party flash developer.

    Neat and fairly easy to do.

    (one mod that would be nice is have a "forward" triangle to the right if the next image is a vertical because there is no leading edge of the next horizontal image to que the user that another image is available; same thing for the left edge)



    Basically, it's:

    -an XML file to tie the text, images, and other info together

    -the images

    -the Flash file (.swf) with ActionScript to control the interaction and loading of data (images, XML)

    -(there might be another flash file to generate the XML quickly. Instead of hand coding it.)

  18. Refine your underwater photo techniques.


    Get in the pool and practice your macro shots with plastic bugs/lizards/frogs/whatever.

    -dial in your lighting (strobe placement and power, diffuser or no diffuser)

    -practice composition

    -learn all your camera's functionality and quirks (be careful of shutter lag)


    Practice your bouyancy control and balancing on one or two fingers _not_ touching the bottom while taking pictures.

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