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tx51210

Learning Curve...Where to start wide or macro?

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Over the years, photography has taught me that I improve more by forcing myself to stay with a technique and keep working to refine that technique. If I allow myself the jump around between setup configurations, I tend to do OK but the learning curve and results are slower.

 

I am in the process of switching from an c-8080 setup to a D200 setup. I have been shooting the D-200 since it was introduced and the D2h and F100 prior to that. I have the 10.5, 12-24 and 105VR to choose to dive.

 

If I were to pick an area to start buying ports, should I start learning to dive the camera, would I be better off learning the macro side or the wide angle? I am guessing wide angle will be harder to produce results to start off. My previous experience has been building more toward macro, primarily because the little DS-50 and C-8080 were geared more toward portrait shots.

 

I am leaning toward getting a port for the 105VR and latter grabbing a 60mm lens to use behind the same port. Then pulling in the wide angle after I have spent time with the macro end.

 

If money were no object (yea right :blush: ) and I could get ports for the 10.5, 12-24 and the 105, would you recommend taking them all on your first big trip with the equipment?

 

Thanks for your feedback.

Edited by tx51210

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The more extreme lenses are the hardest to use. Long macro lenses like the 105mm VR are tougher than 60mm. Fisheye is tougher than a wide angle zoom.

 

The two easiest areas to start are either macro (with 60mm) - technique simple. Or wide angle natural light shooting (before you have a dedicated strobe) as this is similar to shooting on land. The traditional starting point is usually the former. Both the wide angle route is also pretty simple - especially if you are happy starting with balck and whites.

 

Alex

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Macro. Easier both compositionally and for exposure.

 

Find subject, fill most of frame with subject, choose angle/composition of subject, shoot and adjust exposure. Over time focus gets better, composition gets better and pegging and adjusting exposure gets easier.

 

Once you have command of your rig, start doing wide angle. Start composing at 24mm (FF equivalent) and then work your way wider as comosition gets stronger.

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Over the years, photography has taught me that I improve more by forcing myself to stay with a technique and keep working to refine that technique. If I allow myself the jump around between setup configurations, I tend to do OK but the learning curve and results are slower.

 

I am in the process of switching from an c-8080 setup to a D200 setup. I have been shooting the D-200 since it was introduced and the D2h and F100 prior to that. I have the 10.5, 12-24 and 105VR to choose to dive.

 

If I were to pick an area to start buying ports, should I start learning to dive the camera, would I be better off learning the macro side or the wide angle? I am guessing wide angle will be harder to produce results to start off. My previous experience has been building more toward macro, primarily because the little DS-50 and C-8080 were geared more toward portrait shots.

 

I am leaning toward getting a port for the 105VR and latter grabbing a 60mm lens to use behind the same port. Then pulling in the wide angle after I have spent time with the macro end.

 

If money were no object (yea right :blush: ) and I could get ports for the 10.5, 12-24 and the 105, would you recommend taking them all on your first big trip with the equipment?

 

Thanks for your feedback.

 

I feel like I have built up some experience with the c-8080 that is comparable to what a 60mm lens would provide, so I know this will be the fairly straitforward swap. I am wanting to push into new territor, so that is why I am looking to either wide angle or more macro.

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I would think you'll take the 12-24mm with you for land shooting, so you might as well get a port for it ( i know i'm a bad influence) and try it out at least once, so you have an idea for your second trip with the housing, even if you only do a couple of dives with it it gives you some wideangle images to play with between trips.

 

Where are you thinking of going? From experience i know Galapagos has good macro, but you'd probably want a w/a lens there :blush:

 

I started off with a 105mm and 18-35 on film, and loved the 105mm because it was so different compared to what i could do with my point and shoot digital.

 

Have you received the lens yet? Take some pics of some flowers/insects to get a grasp of working distances and depth of field.

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I would think you'll take the 12-24mm with you for land shooting, so you might as well get a port for it ( i know i'm a bad influence) and try it out at least once, so you have an idea for your second trip with the housing, even if you only do a couple of dives with it it gives you some wideangle images to play with between trips.

 

Where are you thinking of going? From experience i know Galapagos has good macro, but you'd probably want a w/a lens there :blush:

 

I started off with a 105mm and 18-35 on film, and loved the 105mm because it was so different compared to what i could do with my point and shoot digital.

 

Have you received the lens yet? Take some pics of some flowers/insects to get a grasp of working distances and depth of field.

 

You are truly EVIL and definitely a bad influence!! :ninja:

 

I am being directed to Cancun in June as a joint vacation with another family. Not bad as I am trying to get two or three others to learn to dive and this is a really great spot for beginners. I have dove Cancun many times over the years and feel it is really under rated as I have seen some great critters. The shallow dive environment and clear water there is very conducive to the wide angle and that has me a little torn about going with macro only.

 

Before the Cancun trip I want to hit the Flower Gardens again multiple times. The flower gardens are a great spot for macro but it is one of those areas that I think is inevitable for Mr. Big?? to show up and make you wish for a wide angle. But what do you do with that wide angle if nothing shows? When we hit the oil rigs there are plenty of opportunities to shot wide or macro as the structure itself makes for some fun shots. Wide angle at the Flower Gardens and Stetson Bank do not offer as much wide angle interest to me until something decent swims by.

 

Cozumel is a staple trip but the family does not want to go there this year, so I will have time to evolve before returning.

 

Anyway, that is the potiental dive roster for now.

Edited by tx51210

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I shoot WA and when there is no WA scenery I find that shooting WA closeup is interesting.

Plenty of time to play when the wife is firing away with her macro rig. Like this picture of a sponge where I put my strobe up against the base for an eerie effect.

 

post-5528-1174682119_thumb.jpg

 

DOF was not quite enough but were not for the really soft edges I would have been really happy with this one :blush:

 

 

Also I've been playing around with WA closeup in other places like Curacao:

 

post-5528-1174682196_thumb.jpg

post-5528-1174682269_thumb.jpg

 

All these were shot with a 14mm WA Canon. Still unsatisfied with the corners bit the Curacao shots were at f2.8 so I guess I shouldn't be too picky.

 

Personally I feel that Macro is easier than WA. Seems that a macro shot kinda composes itself (and you don't have those annoying bubbles/backscatter/divers to deal with.

Edited by hoovermd

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Before the Cancun trip I want to hit the Flower Gardens again multiple times. The flower gardens are a great spot for macro but it is one of those areas that I think is inevitable for Mr. Big?? to show up and make you wish for a wide angle. But what do you do with that wide angle if nothing shows? When we hit the oil rigs there are plenty of opportunities to shot wide or macro as the structure itself makes for some fun shots. Wide angle at the Flower Gardens and Stetson Bank do not offer as much wide angle interest to me until something decent swims by.

 

I've been to the Flower Gardens several times and have fifty or so dives there and there has always been multiple chances for wide and macro. "Mr. Big" usually shows a little before and around coral spawning time (but of course when he showed up for 3 hours circling under our boat I was doing survey diving and didn't have a camera...... :blush: ) Plus I've seen manta at the East Bank or Stetson every time I've gone. Lots of chances for wide. You might just want to go for it! What you do if "nothing shows" is meter the water, have your plan, rehearse and be ready!!!!!!!!

 

But there is great macro stuff there too. Those tiny chestnut morays are rare everywhere else but are not uncommon at the W Bank and they make great photos (look very "fierce)!

 

I tried to learn shooting macro with the d200 but it was manatee season here......., so my first hundreds of pictures with the setup were Nikon 16mm/d200, strobes or no strobes. I found the 16mm VERY easy to use. It was equally exposing the bright sky and blue/green shallow spring water that I found challenging. Or lighting the CFWA shots that I kept making mistakes on. But I think I did pretty well for my first outings......

 

BUT then, as far as you shooting on the platforms in the gulf, I've always wanted a really close up tessellated blenny, you know they have scads of those on the platforms if it is a clear day. I have a good one but I want a great one and with your 105 with a teleconverter or wet-diopter, well you could just stay shallow (IF it is calm......., ha ha)....., but if it was just stay shallow and spend the whole dive on tessellateds, you will learn the 105. Of course when you do that a whale shark will swim by - but hey, all is fair....... :ninja:

 

So I guess my advice is decided what you REALLY want to shoot, what creature you really want pictures of, etc. And learn the lenses for that. Frankly I've taken down my 105vr in the new Subal Port a couple of times and I don't find the 105vr any more difficult than the 60mm, but I had no experience with the 60 either, so I think you are good to pick up just about whatever lens you want to learn on - you have no "pre-concieved" experiences with DSLR and like me you will have to learn anyway, learn on a lens that will let you shoot what you want to shoot.

 

My take on it from a gal, learning her first DSLR since December 06.

 

Best, Carol

Edited by seagrant

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I've been to the Flower Gardens several times and have fifty or so dives there and there has always been multiple chances for wide and macro. "Mr. Big" usually shows a little before and around coral spawning time (but of course when he showed up for 3 hours circling under our boat I was doing survey diving and didn't have a camera...... :blush: ) Plus I've seen manta at the East Bank or Stetson every time I've gone. Lots of chances for wide. You might just want to go for it! What you do if "nothing shows" is meter the water, have your plan, rehearse and be ready!!!!!!!!

 

But there is great macro stuff there too. Those tiny chestnut morays are rare everywhere else but are not uncommon at the W Bank and they make great photos (look very "fierce)!

 

I tried to learn shooting macro with the d200 but it was manatee season here......., so my first hundreds of pictures with the setup were Nikon 16mm/d200, strobes or no strobes. I found the 16mm VERY easy to use. It was equally exposing the bright sky and blue/green shallow spring water that I found challenging. Or lighting the CFWA shots that I kept making mistakes on. But I think I did pretty well for my first outings......

 

BUT then, as far as you shooting on the platforms in the gulf, I've always wanted a really close up tessellated blenny, you know they have scads of those on the platforms if it is a clear day. I have a good one but I want a great one and with your 105 with a teleconverter or wet-diopter, well you could just stay shallow (IF it is calm......., ha ha)....., but if it was just stay shallow and spend the whole dive on tessellateds, you will learn the 105. Of course when you do that a whale shark will swim by - but hey, all is fair....... :ninja:

 

So I guess my advice is decided what you REALLY want to shoot, what creature you really want pictures of, etc. And learn the lenses for that. Frankly I've taken down my 105vr in the new Subal Port a couple of times and I don't find the 105vr any more difficult than the 60mm, but I had no experience with the 60 either, so I think you are good to pick up just about whatever lens you want to learn on - you have no "pre-concieved" experiences with DSLR and like me you will have to learn anyway, learn on a lens that will let you shoot what you want to shoot.

 

My take on it from a gal, learning her first DSLR since December 06.

 

Best, Carol

 

Carol,

 

I think you are right about the 105VR. My 105VR arrived today and it looks like it will be even more fun than I anticipated. I shot these about 15 minutes after opening the lens.

 

76076986.RxkbAyZG._DSC0094.jpg

 

76076988.G21LzCwd._DSC0109.jpg

 

I can't wait to find some blennies.

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Yes, tx51210, mission is to find some tessellateds!! You know the ones on the platforms are "bluer" and more "red-orange" than the others I have found elsewhere. I think it has to do with them being in open ocean and the food. They vary in color male to female but still the colors of the ones on the platforms are wild!!!! Those saturated blues and red/orange spots on their faces along with their cool expressions make for great and endearing photos (now I want to go!!!!). But it does need to be calm, not much surge as they will be quite shallow on the pilings. The 105vr should be great for them, but I'd try a wet diopter like a Woody's that lets you focus even closer, I think those blennies will allow it. But maybe a teleconverter would be better, still better not add too much complexity to the 105vr at first. At least with a wet-diopter you can remove it underwater and compare shooting w/o and with. Others know a whole lot more about it than I do.

 

I don't know if you can use the 105vr and the 60 behind the same port though. It depends, I can't I have separate ports, but if I had gone with a different configuration I could have - just by adding an extension ring to a different port, but I would have lost the manual focus knob for the 105vr. You have to research it, I don't know what brand housing you are looking at.

 

I think what comes into play here too is a lot of people don't realize how difficult it is to get good photographs with a high-end "point and shoot" like your Oly-8080 or my former Fuji F810. I know I spent so much time learning how to stack closeup lenses and focus with that low-resolution LCD screen, etc etc etc, zooming in and out, rocking in and out for focus, etc - that the 105vr on the DSLR that everyone told me was so hard, is not hard to me? I think working with those compact cameras and getting good pictures with the additional lenses and focusing using the LCD as your only reference point - now that is hard!

 

What I do find extremely hard for me is the ergonomics or lack-of of the DSLRs underwater. The 105vr lens is heavy underwater, depending on how you have it housed and the d200 tends to be quite negative depending of course on configuration and housing. That is where the challenge for me lies. Getting the setup ergonomic enough with 2 strobes and the heavy 105vr to shoot the small stuff. It is possible, I did fine but I had to find some buoyancy solutions. There is a lot of data about that in other posts. The Subal housing tends to be pretty "ergonomic" but I've still had problems with mine.

 

So I think just get and learn the stuff that lets you shoot what you really want to shoot, be it wide or macro to start. Then your shots will be distinctive with affinity for the creature or subject and "pizazz"! B) Like me you are going to make mistakes on any lens probably, so just go for it!

 

Best, Carol

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The 60 is a fun lens because it is usually the easiest to get good results. When I started shooting I often found myself shooting macro for more than a year, then I would get hooked on wide angle for a year. Both are fun and have their challenges. What I do now is if I am on a 3-day trip I shoot both and really look at the conditions, setting up my system accordingly. However, early morning dives usually call for macro since the ambient light is minimal, so generally speaking, set up for macro in the morning, analyze your work after the dive, shoot macro on dive 2 and then swap to wide angle to cap off the day.

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