Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
acroporas

Night dive Technique

Recommended Posts

Ok, I did my first night dive with my new camera and it turned out to be much more difficult than I expected. So..I come to you guys for suggestions. I had the hardest time aiming the modeling light on the DS-125 while looking through the viewfinder.

 

I thought I had worked out a system that was working well. The pictures looked great in the LCD but back on my computer most were out of focus so next time I will have to try something else. Since I couldnt aim the strobe and the camera at the same time, I just pointed my flashlight at the subject and then pointed the camera at it with the trigger pulled. When the camera wouldnt shoot unless it was aimed at the same thing the flashlight was aimed at. I was shooting macro so the flashlight beem was wider than the picture so there was no hot spot in the middle from the flashlight.

 

CRW_8692_RJ_filtered.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is why your modeling light should be separate from your strobe. Dedicated modeling lights are the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where/how do you mount it? If you mount it on the strobe arm it seem like it would be just as difficult to aim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my advice and a technique that I posted about here back in September:

 

1) Mount a modelling light on your housing "coldshoe." There are various modelling adapters and/or flashlight holders. Turn it on when you enter the water and if you lose your rig you will be able to find it...:-)

 

2) If you are shooting dual strobes with built in modelling lights, get down on the bottom and aim the strobes so that they both point at a rock or something about 1' or so in front of your port. Set your camera to single servo autofocus (or whatever Canon calls it). Now your camera will only fire when it gets a lock. Move in on your subject with the shutter half pressed. When the crossed lights shine on the subject BAM, your camera should get focus lock and fire.

 

This (#2) is the technique I used to get mid-water squid shots at night and it worked beautifully, even with the 105mm on a 2" squid.

 

1DSCF0421_1.jpg

 

Cheers

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James

 

RE: #1

WHat does coldshoe mean. Where do you mount the modeling light? How do you aim them. Just like you do in method #2??

 

RE: #2

 

This is similar to what I was doing only I was using my flashlight instead of two strobes since I only have one strobe. I guess I just need more practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I aimed the DS 125 at the beginning of the dive to the distance I want to shpoot (maybe) 30 cm (1') the i just approached the subject with the eye on the viewfinder till the viefinder and the modelinglight "meets". Then I shoot. I only change the aim of the strobe if i want to shoot something real macro (I used the 50mm 2.5 Macro on the night dives)

 

Simon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mount the light as close to the lens barrel and parallel to the lens as possible. Use a double hot shoe adapter rather than a triple clamp so that the arm of the modeling light is entirely independent of the strobes. If you have a third mounting option like James refers to then use that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok, I did my first night dive with my new camera and it turned out to be much more difficult than I expected.  So..I come to you guys for suggestions.   I had the hardest time aiming the modeling light on the DS-125 while looking through the viewfinder.  

 

Hey acroporas,

 

I have found that (at least up here in the Seattle area) having a handheld modeling light is what works best for me. I have a Dive-Rite canister light that is strapped to my hip, and the light head is connected to the canister via a cord. The light head itself has a goodman handle on it, basically a rectangular bracket that slips over my hand, so the light sits on the top of my hand, pointing down my fingers (if they were outstretched).

 

I find that with this arrangement on my left hand, I can hold the camera (since my fingers and palm are free) and by twisting my wrist, aim the light on my subject matter. The great thing about this is that I get a nice powerful, aimable light, and I still have two hands free to manipulate strobes, hold housings, etc.

 

I can even pick jellies out in the water column with this arrangement. Since I don't have my Mark II/Seacam rig yet, and I'm still shooting a D60, which has abominable low light AF, I carry this light on almost every dive, night or day.

 

I can post a picture of the light head/handle arrangement if anyone is really interested.

 

Anyway, it works like a charm for me!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I prefer a wide-angle aiming light mounted on the housing. I used to use a D4, which I mounted in an 11.5 cm (external diameter) section of PVC piping - which turns out to be perfect to accomodate the lgiht - with a cut-out for the handle and controls, to which I attached a Ultralight ball fitting. A double-hooked length of shock cord ensured that the light stayed in the PVC section, The D4 is quite bright, but the beam was wide enough to serve as a general dive light and does not generate a hot spot.

 

When this light eventually died, I purchased a Hartenberger Mini-Compact HID light. The standard light is narrow beam, but Hartenberger also supplies a wide-angle kit, with an alternative reflector (and possibly lens) that is perfect for underwater macro shooting at night. I just drilled two holes in the handle to accomodate an ultralight ball fitting. The Hartenberger is less bulky and less heavy than the D4, and the multiple power controls - all accessible by dialling the back of the light - are easy to use when the light is mounted on the housing.

 

Cruising around, I keep the light at low power, but if I'm working in close, I'll kick up the power to 100% or 125%. The auto-focus works perfectly with the higher light levels, and is pretty much instantaneous.

 

If I'm using the Ikelite 200s, then I also have the modelling lights on those strobes for difficult subjects and/or to help aiming the strobes, but since I've had the Hartenberger, I rarely switch the modelling lights on the SS200s on, which of course also helps save battery life, which is more important with the enhanced shot volume possible with digital.

 

I've had enough trouble using autofocus for macro in shaded areas or on dark days that I now mount the Hartenberger every time I shoot macro, daytime or night.

 

Of course, I also carry a back-up light on my harness - a Halcyon scout - and an emergency strobe beacon, but I do that on every dive, day or night.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

James, I like your idea for the Single Shot lock and shoot....... great idea !. Will try it next time

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...