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chrism

Magic Filter in the Galapagos?

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Galapagos is blue water shooting at anywhere from 30 to 120 feet. Low light, murky, subjects usually too far for strobes, hi ISOs required. I got super frustrated last time. going again in August, would like to improve my odds, would a magic filter help?

 

If you shoot RAW auto white balance is irrelevant?

 

Also, I found that I was shooting up, out and down, depending on what critters came by. I assume if I am shooting jpegs that I would have to recalibrate white balance for each orientation (up (bright) , out (medium) and down (dark))? Not sure is that is possible (or something I want to take time doing).

 

Any advice appreciated. Thanks!

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My 2cc's FWIW.

 

Shoot RAW - you need the exposure latitude. You have lots of time to post process after the trip.

 

Yes if you shoot RAW the white balance is irrelevant BUT setting the WB in the water is pretty easy and is worthwhile as the feedback you get on the LCD is truer to reality. Without the correct feedback you are likely to stop shooting when you are actually getting decent shots.

 

If you shoot jpeg and get the WB wrong then you will have a hell of a job to fix it, in RAW there is no issue.

 

Adding any filter will reduce the amount of light seen at the ccd therefore you will need to jack the iso / extend exposure time or open up the lens, ( probably a combo of all three ).

 

If you can get used to shooting manual exposure that is a real advantage as available light is always a balancing act between iso, shutter speed and aperture.

 

The practical limit for Magic filters seems to generally be 15-20m ( say 60 feet ). After that it gets tough.

 

A downward camera angle, when possible seems to work better.

 

If any one thing will help you out it is SHOOT RAW

 

Paul C

Edited by PRC

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I have never been to the Galapagos. Although I would very much like to.

 

But my impression is that much of the diving there is quite dark and deep and therefore not ideal for filter photography.

 

I think that filters would have an important role in shallow conditions, such as with schools of fish and iguanas etc. I would expect sealions to generally be too fast moving for filter photography.

 

Alex

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Having just returned from the Galapagos, I understand your frustration. The week before I was there, viz was great, our week it was poor for the most part. It is definitely a place where one takes what nature gives you, and one makes the most of it.

I agree filters will not be helpful. Worry about getting the most light to your CCD and fix colours etc in post.

One technique that Mauricio Handler showed us that I think can be helpful, and can be used to good effect is to slow down your shutter speed significantly. 1/8 to 1/15 sec even, and experiment with panning with the larger animals, and even smaller fish etc. Play with rear curtain synch etc (not sure if Canon has this). This will allow smaller apertures, and some interesting effects. Not every shot will be great, but you will get some occasional winners. For the stuff out in the gloom, just sit back and enjoy, maybe take a shot or two for the record just to prove they were there.

Edited by loftus

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We just returned from two weeks in the Galapagos (Back July 10), and here are my two cents worth. No filters for sure, but take a strobe.

 

A lot of the postings recommend not taking a strobe, but the photographers in our group were all glad they did. Just make sure you have some type of harness that enables you to use both hands for holding onto rocks in current/surge to get situated.

 

The pelagics will be a ways away, but things like rays, reef sharks, sea lions, and even mola mola were quite close.

 

I shot both RAW and JPG with my Nikon, and most of the JPG came out fine. I have only posted a couple of shots because of catching up at work, but check out http://lists.galapagosislander.com/main.php?g2_itemId=220 .

 

The sea lions and fish school are both jpg. The sea lions were shallow, the school about 70 feet. You can see the value of the flash in both shots.

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