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dilznik

Need to break from "P"

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Hi,

I take all my photos in "P" mode and this is what I come up with: http://gallery.me.com/the_np_bat_man#100717

 

I've hit a wall though because, obviously, P sucks. What's the best way to move away from this? I'm way too clumsy to go straight to manual so I was thinking aperture priority, set it on F8, and go from there. This is probably also a bad idea.

 

Basically, I'm wondering where do I go from here? And if I start setting things manually and doing the whole shoot, evaluate, adjust method, how can I still get the quick shots of something cool that's quickly moving past?

 

I guess the question I have is, how do I stop sucking and start producing photos like you guys?

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Well, take a look at my gallery and you may find you think I still suck - many days, I think that too. So with whatever your opinion is, take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

 

I think trying A mode with a starting F-stop in the 6-8 range is a good next step to full P mode (assuming you have a strobe...which I see from your profile you do). You'll want spot metering, and probably also start with an exposure correction (EC) of -2 or so. Then you can adjust it up or down from there, based on your satisfaction with background color (remember to turn on histograms on your picture review - you can't really evaluate fine focus on the screen thru the housing, unless you're way more patient than me and zoom in, but you can tell whether the lighting is in the right 'ballpark' with the histogram). Of course you'll also want to adjust the EC up or down some if you alter your F-stop for a specific photo (e.g. go larger to get a shallower DOF for a particular subject).

 

As to getting the 'quick shots' - that's still a humdinger for me. I still, even with a DSLR, get a lot of missed opportunities and fish-butt. All you can do is be adept with your camera settings from use and hope for the best sometimes. Or take the time to 'stop chasing' and start watching behavior so you can predict better when they're going to circle back.

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As above , all the advice is great. At the end of the day practice, practice and more practice will get you there. The advent of digital makes it affordable to keep shooting and if you get 1 in a thousand it hasnt cost you hundreds of dollars for film and processing. And soon you will keep getting more and more keepers until it all comes naturally. The one thing I have learnt is the more you overthink something the more likely you are to miss it.

When I first got my DSLR I would walk around the yard taking photos of anything that moved or didnt move and trying things on different settings just to understand how everything worked. A little different to underwater, however the better you know your camera the easier it is.

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I guess the question I have is, how do I stop sucking and start producing photos like you guys?

 

I don't think your pictures are as bad as you think they are. I really like the image of Monique and the Turtle. I am seeing a couple of items that I notice, though, that I think would improve your images. One of them is to get closer. That's one of the mantras of uw photography. Something like "if you think you're close enough, get closer". The other is to shoot up if you can. I think that's why I like Monique and the Turtle so much. It appears you're shooting up with your camera rather than down.

 

As far as getting away from P mode, I agree with the others, the more you practice topside, the better and more comfortable you'll be with the settings underwater. Aperture Priority is a great mode to use underwater. Check your histogram after each of your practice shots, adjust exposure and pretty soon you'll have a good idea of what works and what doesn't.

 

Remember that a lot of the images you see posted on this site were shot Raw and post processed on the computer. If you are not already shooting raw, I suggest you start. At the very least, shoot in Raw + jpeg.

Get yourself a good raw image editor and learn how to make ordinary shots spectacular. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit :-)

 

Hope that helps,

 

Ellen

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Thanks, good info and I'm going out on a boat next week so I can give it a shot.

 

I shoot in RAW and use Aperture. I don't like Photoshop much so pretty much I just do everything in Aperture.

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here's what i did to break away from program mode:

pre set the settings in your camera before you get in the water. example: aperture priority set at f8, shutter priority at 1/125, manual at f11 1/90, iso 200. that way you can switch to different modes as you need to. if you need to stop movement, switch to shutter priority and you're good to go. etc.

also, as soon as you get to depth, take a photo of something like another diver to see how your settings are going to work. check the histogram and adjust accordingly. also, exposure compensation is a great tool to use. that's how i learned to get "better". although, i look at a lot of my photos and think they suck. sometimes it's just luck : )

Edited by matt215

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Thanks, good info and I'm going out on a boat next week so I can give it a shot.

 

I shoot in RAW and use Aperture. I don't like Photoshop much so pretty much I just do everything in Aperture.

Have you tried Adobe Lightroom? That's what I've been playing with for about a year and it does a pretty good job for "developing" RAW photos.

 

Bob

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I'm with Ellen - I don't think your pics are bad at all. A lot of my pictures suck too. You just don't see the ones I throw away! :)

 

The color is good on your white tip - it's just a little from behind and it looks like some motion blur. Monique and turtle is really well composed and sharp, the foreground lighting is just off (strobe position? Fix with white balance adjustment?). The whale shark is very nice, you can clean up much of that backscatter in post (maybe a little contrast too? - I also use Aperture). Good eye contact with the puffer. The starfish is an interesting composition. The point is you're doing well with the elements of a good picture, now just put them all together. That just takes practice and practice.

 

I would also consider a course. When I got my dslr, I went to the Digital Shootout in Bonaire and it made a world of difference. I was encouraged to always shoot full manual. The various program modes have their place, but you'll get a better understanding of how all the settings inter-relate by shooting manual. Some other tips I've picked up: For wide angle, start off at f8, 1/125. For macro, f18, 125th. Play around from there. Get close, then get closer. Try and shoot up. Try not to shoot into the sun. Try and get in front of the subject and get eye contact. Use the Rule of Thirds and try incorporating diagonal elements or arrangements.

 

Most importantly, relax and have fun with it!

 

Hope that helps,

 

Phil

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Ah, more good ideas, thank you. I was looking for a course in Cairns but it's a lot of money that I don't currently have since I'm a jobless traveler doing everything on savings for now. I think the cheapest way would be to rent a tank and do a shore dive somewhere and just practice like mad.

 

 

As far as Lightroom, I can't stand it. I demoed both Aperture and Lightroom at the same time, using the same pictures, and Aperture was just easier. Lightroom is good, no doubt, but it's just the little things that bugged me. Like in Aperture on my 24" iMac with a second 23" monitor if I wanted to use the main monitor in full screen mode and then have all the working palettes in the second monitor, all I have to do is press F for full screen and H for the control HUD which I can then put anywhere. After a week I never did figure out how to do that in Lightroom.

I think if I used Photoshop for more than the odd vector mapping then I'd be more inclined to use LR. But... I don't. I doubt it's Aperture that's holding me back. Topside photos are fine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/breakfastwithkangaroos/page2/

 

Now for the UW photos!

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I would walk around the yard taking photos of anything that moved or didnt move and trying things on different settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

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