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superlite

Just need to get pointed in the right direction

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I have a Canon 1Dmk2 that I am pretty accostomed to, shooting Manual, RAW, with availiable light----mostly sports and wildlife. About two years ago, I bought an Ikelite housing for my old Canon 20D, and a D-125 strobe, which I used in Maui on a short vacation with OK results for a newb. But I'm going to Belize in about a week, and my main focus is going to try to get better with this set up.

 

I tried to look at EXIF data on many of the great photos on this site, but it does not seem to be availiable. If anyone would mind recommending their approach for this setup, I would sure appreciate it. I will stick with RAW, but should I shoot in Manual, or should I use Apreture Priority? If AP should I start about f8 or so?

 

The strobe has me a little flummoxed, since I hardly ever use a flash for topside shots. Last time I used it I'm sure I used the TTL setting, but I noticed some of the images seemed a bit blown out in the foreground. I've never been to Belize, but I expect great vis and great availiable lighting at the shallower depth-----I want to be on the forever table where I have some time to get more familiar with the housing. Should I get off TTL and just chimp the histogram and image, and dial down the power as required?

 

Lastly, since I now need reading glasses (getting old sucks sometimes) I am somewhat concerned about being able to make all these setting changes on the fly when it's so hard to see through the mask and housing to the little display screen. I bought some of those press on vison cheaters at a dive store, but don't have any experience using them yet.

 

I know I just have to experiment and work through all this, but if anyone has any input it would be greatly appreciated.

 

RICK

Edited by superlite

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(getting old sucks sometimes)

 

Yeah but it beats the alternative all to hell. :)

 

Hi Rick,

I would recommend you shoot RAW and keep it on manual as you suspected. You didn't mention which lenses you plan to shoot. If we are talking wide angle like a tokina 10-17mm you can start at f11 and 1/125 or so at ISO 100 in bright blue Belizian water. As you go deeper on those beautiful walls you can try f8 or so. The major problem land shooters have when they transition to the water is they simply don't get close enough. Simple setup: expose for the blue, get close and dial in the strobe to balance the exposure on the foreground subject. Don't expect the 125 to give you good color at much more than 2 ft.

 

Macro is a whole other thing.

 

If you want to checkout the camera setting for images you like, you could try the Wetpixel Flickr group or there are a few up on the Fin Foundation site linked below

 

HTH,

Steve

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what lens(es) will you be using? knowing that will help in providing more details, but here is the one minute primer:

 

For macro, I always use strobes. I shoot manual, but TTL should work also. If you are getting blown out, switch to manual or adjust the exposure compensation.

 

For wide angle, i have heard TTL doesn't work well. I have never used it, so i am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong. For wide angle, available light , I'd recommend looking into a red filter. Magic Filters were designed by Alex Mustard, a member of this board, specifically for available light underwater photography.

 

Most underwater photography falls into the category of either macro or wide angle. Many mid-range topside lenses don't work particularly well underwater. Macro and Wide Angle both minimize the amount of water between you and the foreground subject, which is important for the best results.

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Thanks for the feedback! In response to the question about the lens, I am just using the 18-55 zoom kit lens with a 6" dome port.

 

In shallow, well lit water, do you think I should I just ditch the strobe?

 

RICK

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I have a Canon 1Dmk2 that I am pretty accostomed to, shooting Manual, RAW, with availiable light----mostly sports and wildlife. About two years ago, I bought an Ikelite housing for my old Canon 20D, and a D-125 strobe, which I used in Maui on a short vacation with OK results for a newb. But I'm going to Belize in about a week, and my main focus is going to try to get better with this set up.

 

I tried to look at EXIF data on many of the great photos on this site, but it does not seem to be availiable. If anyone would mind recommending their approach for this setup, I would sure appreciate it. I will stick with RAW, but should I shoot in Manual, or should I use Apreture Priority? If AP should I start about f8 or so?

 

The strobe has me a little flummoxed, since I hardly ever use a flash for topside shots. Last time I used it I'm sure I used the TTL setting, but I noticed some of the images seemed a bit blown out in the foreground. I've never been to Belize, but I expect great vis and great availiable lighting at the shallower depth-----I want to be on the forever table where I have some time to get more familiar with the housing. Should I get off TTL and just chimp the histogram and image, and dial down the power as required?

 

Lastly, since I now need reading glasses (getting old sucks sometimes) I am somewhat concerned about being able to make all these setting changes on the fly when it's so hard to see through the mask and housing to the little display screen. I bought some of those press on vison cheaters at a dive store, but don't have any experience using them yet.

 

I know I just have to experiment and work through all this, but if anyone has any input it would be greatly appreciated.

 

RICK

 

I honestly don't think shooting in Manual is all that hard and I use it all the time. I've gotten used to adjusting the strobe if need be after checking the histogram after the shot. A long time ago, a very experienced friend told me that TTL is a crutch. And I've come to totally believe that myself. It's only really useful when a subject fills the frame, as in Macro, and it's so easy to adjust exposure using the instant feedback with digital. This situation was quite different with film where there was no instant feedback.

 

If it were me, I would tend to bring the strobe even if the water were shallow. You never know when you might see something that doesn't come close and/or you might decide to go deeper. In those situations, you'd wish you'd taken your strobe. There's no law that says you have to use it, though, if you don't need it.

 

I have aging baby boomer eyes myself and one thing I've sound that I really like is the GS Viewfinder on my Subal Housing. It makes all the difference in the world in being able to see things thru that tiny viewfinder. I don't know if Ikelite has anything comparable, but I know that Aquatica offers something similar to Subal's GS Viewfinder. Of course it would be more money to buy a new housing, but at least you'd be able to see what you're taking a picture of :-)

 

Have fun on your trip!

 

Ellen

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OK, so i arrived in Belize today and trying to get my gear together for some shallow snorkling tomorrow morning. I am going to give manual settings a go, and wanted to dial the strobe down as required after chimping the image and histogram. But the strobe seems to fire pretty bright in all positions. Maybe it's too hard to tell with the eye or something. But also, the TTL light on the Ikelite housing remains lit even when I dial the D-125 to a non TTL setting. Is this normal?

 

I know I'm being stupid here, but the strobe manual doesn't say anything about this. I'm sure I won't see any responses before leaving tommorow monning, but if anyone can help with this I would sure appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

 

RICK

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Rick, how did the trip turn out with the new pointers?! photos man!

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OK, so i arrived in Belize today and trying to get my gear together for some shallow snorkling tomorrow morning. I am going to give manual settings a go, and wanted to dial the strobe down as required after chimping the image and histogram. But the strobe seems to fire pretty bright in all positions. Maybe it's too hard to tell with the eye or something. But also, the TTL light on the Ikelite housing remains lit even when I dial the D-125 to a non TTL setting. Is this normal?

 

I know I'm being stupid here, but the strobe manual doesn't say anything about this. I'm sure I won't see any responses before leaving tommorow monning, but if anyone can help with this I would sure appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

 

RICK

The brightness of the strobe doesn't actually change when you dial it down. The amount of time it flashes shortens at less powerful settings. Trying to see the difference with the naked eye is probably impossible, but you will see the difference in your pics underwater.

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