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Wildwind

Beginners question before jumping in

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Hello

 

My name is Jimmy and I am a complete beginner in the field of ("more serious") underwater photography.

Underwater photography is something I have felt passionate about to get into for years and years since I'm a freelancing and devoted filmmaker as well as still photographer. I love shooting wildlife and highest on my list has always been to evolve into underwater photography mixing my love for the ocean and its species with my love for photography. I've finally made investments in Ikelite housing and strobes for a Nikon D7100.

Currently not living in a very diving friendly part of the world and I only have approx 15 dives under my belt since I took my PADI open water certificate in 2009. My goal from the beginning when started diving is to mix it with photography but understood the necessity of becoming a comfortable diver before moving attempting to shoot underwater. After having now dived in Fiji, Thailand, Tanzania and Cuba I can no longer resist the urge to have a camera with me beneath the waves on my next trip now to the eastern caribbean (where I'm partially from).

I am curious to ask advice from the more experienced divers and underwater photographers if more dives are strongly recommended before adding the complexity of photographing as well or if it should be fine as long as I feel up to the challenge?

As a person and freelancer I am very active in safety measures for productions and generally have a great respect and understanding for the ocean as I have grown up partially in the tropics. Dive instructors have commented that I'm relaxed underwater and do well. Among my 15 dives I have had dives with Bullsharks and dived through short rock/cave formations which have all been fine. Hopefully this weighs in my favour but it's still difficult to guess how technically tricky the diving will become when adding the photography aspect...

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Hi Jimmy,

The most important aspect is of course your safety. Where you plan to dive is an important consideration to understand when you should think about taking a camera with you. Warm caribbean waters with sand in 30 ft and no current? Go for it. Take a good buddy with you and have fun. Really not much different that shooting in a pool. You have practised a few hours with your rig in a pool, right? As the complexity in your planned dives go up so would my recommendation for additional practise time before worrying about a camera. Current, cold water, low visibility, all make it more difficult to dive safely with a camera. It's also easy for new photographers to get so locked into taking pictures they forget about simple things like how much air they have and where their buddy is.

 

The other critical consideration is the safety of the reef, some new divers initially have trouble with their bouyancy. Carrying a camera just makes it that much tougher to control your position in the water. The tendency is for new photographers to bounce off the reef a few times before they get the experience. It's extremely painful to watch and no damage to the reef is ever acceptable due to our lack of skills.

 

Welcome to the amazing world of underwater photography, you are asking the right questions. Be sure and reseach any questions you have here on previous Wetpixel threads and be sure to ask any questions you don't see or don't quite understand.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Thank you for a good answer, Steve

 

I am currently working on getting to practice in pools around town. Besides that I will probably be snorkelling a week or so in the Caribbean before actually doing any diving which should also be giving me more experience with the equipment. once diving I will definitely be starting out easy in more shallow dive sites, sand bottoms ect.

 

I completely agree that safety for myself, other divers and the environment comes first, photography second and plan on always maintaing that philosophy. As mentioned, I work with quite an amount of safety aspect within the business.

I've started reading quite a bit on the forums, it's a great site with a whole lot of information.

Thanks again

Edited by Wildwind

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As

On gas your comfortable, start shooting.

 

I agree about making sure your not destroying your ocean to get a shot.

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