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randapex

Another 10.5 FE shot..

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Just wanted to share a shot from Lembeh with the 10.5 and the Inon strobes. F13 @ 1/250 full frame.

Really pleased with the sun in this one:

 

 

DSC_5517_school.jpg

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SUPERB!!! :lol:

Please Sir, I'd like some more...

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Rand: Excellent! The foreground exposure isn't too dark and the sunball is small and has great rays. How do you think you got such a good sunball with such an open aperture? Very nice!

 

Cheers

James

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Nicely done Rand, i like. How are you getting such sunbursts? Is this a photoshopped sun (no offence intended) as i just cannot get the same results with any shutter speed. I was even experimenting up to 8000/sec in the shallows pointing straight at the sun, sun on the side, and everywhere else and still not impressed.

 

I am so pissed off with the sun on the digital i have gone back to shooting my Nik V and 15mm for WA even though i will now have to send the film somewhere out of country to get developed but at least i know i can get the results i want so not too worried about not seeing it for a month or two.

 

I will post an example of the crap i am talking about.

Perhaps someone can give me some lessons on this? Am ready to shove the damn thing in a can!

Sorry but I am a photographer not a graphic designer and my graphic manipulation in PS is severely lacking.

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Here is one that really ticks me off.

 

f10 1/640

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Nice shot, Randaplex. So now that we know it's possible to shoot sunbursts w/ digital, why can't I?

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Thanks for the nice comments.

 

Tahiti Mike, no offense taken. As part of my enjoyment of these shots is the fact no one thinks it's possible. LOL!

 

And no, it's not a PS job. Just some levels, contrast/color adj and Unsharp mask.

And to be sure, I've got plenty of the type you posted as well. It's not easy or I should say, it takes a certain set of circumstances along with maybe just plain old luck.

 

What works one time, is not guaranteed to work the next. Too many factors at work, not the least of which, is camera angle followed closely by depth, water clarity, sun angle and sky conditions. One of the features the D70 has that the 5050 didn't is a "Blown highlights" review. Although I haven't used it enough to make any type of educated statements, I found it quite useful.

 

Rand

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Nice shot Rand. I'm a little surprised at the short distance between the sunball and completely black. Was that intentional? Can you adjust with curves to get more blue?

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I think is the nature of shooting sunbursts on digital. You have to underexpose by 2-3 stops to get the sunball undercontrol. It is not about shooting fast shutter speeds or small apertures. So long as it is dark enough UW then you don't need to as long as you can underexpose.

 

The problem with this technique as you say Herb is that your midwater blues end up underexposed to black.

 

Its a great shot, though, Rand.

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high_speed_synch3.jpg

 

This picture shows that the sunball captured by a D70 does not change with increasing shutter speed (if the aperture is opened accordingly). IMO controlling sunballs on digital is all about undereposure. A technique that has the side effect of, well... underexposure of what should be midtones.

 

This is the problem Mike has. His mid blues are still blue - if they were black you wouldn't see the eaglerays. But the problem is that he has not underexposed enough to control the sunball - so that part of the image has not worked.

 

Film, what Mike is used to shooting, doesn't require such a underexposure to hold a good sunburst. His eaglerays would have looked stunning on film - but on digital they are just annoy him!

 

A successful picture therefore must be filled up mainly with a foreground subject, that is lit with flash. As the master Rand has done in his shot. This helps to disguise the fact that most of the water is v dark blue/black when exposing the available light to hold for the sunburst.

 

Alex

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Interesting Alex, think I saw this before but now, on close inspection, see what I consider a more flared sun and a bit bluer (is that a word?) water on the f/2000 shot. Not that it makes a huge difference but it may. If you haven't done much in the way of PS with these, then I think the most pleasing overall shot might be the last as you could bring up the blue and enchance the rays. JMHO.

 

And, after further perusal, I can see where my shot might have been improved by going vertical, pushing the sun more toward middle top. This would have gotten the surrounding water bluer as Herb suggests, a more pleasing result.

 

Also, by diffusing the sun with the fishball, which didn't occur to me at the time, It would also have brought up the exposure and allow blue water. As in this shot:

 

coral_fish.jpg

 

Dedicating dives to W/A now that I can't swap U/W is restricting some of my efforts but, I'll keep at it.

 

Rand

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Good replies everyone, i like your explanation Alex. I recall seeing those fin shots before but that was before i got the dig and so didn't remember that.

Soooo, guess i will experiment with the CFWA on the D70 and see what i can do. I do like a lot of blue in my photos and so am therefore still going to keep that Nik V on my BC for silhouettes and large WA where a lot of blue is important.

 

You are right in saying the Eagles would have disappeared if i had underexposed the photo any more than it is. I didn't actually look at the meter before i shot, just the internal one in my head..., so not sure what the camera thought of the exposure before i shot it.

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Mike, if you have time, would you mind posting one of your preferred film sunball shots for me. I'd really like to see one and try and duplicate as close as I can with the D70.

Or anyone so inclined to post one would be appreciated.

 

Rand

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Not a problem. Here is one that is a silhouette and one that is with strobe.

As you can see, i like to have a fairly unobscured sun in the photo. Both have nice sharp rays coming out the sides, unfortunately the scanner doesn't do justice to the actual slide. And i think the small file size is kinda screwing it up a little.

 

Starfish is at 1/90 and about f16 or f22 if i recall correctly, 90 being the fastest you can synch with a Nik V, around 2 or 3 in afternoon

Shark and fish about 250 and f8? Around 8 am. Just guessing as i don't write that stuff down, chalk up a nice advantage to digital in that regard

Both shot with the 15mm

Those two times of day are great for low, not so overpowering sun and create great sun shots. I have better bursts with the N90 and the higher synch speed but i really like these two shots.

Eagle rays around 9am and so my film mind thought, great what a perfect time of day, wrong.

Once i get the shots i shot the next day with film developed next month, same conditions, i will post those for comparison.

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Alex, would you mind explaining a little bit deeper as to why the underexposure would not be required for film. Thanks in advance...

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Mike, thanks for bringing this up. I've been concentrating on getting a pleasing sunball and good forground lighting without giving much thought to the overall water color. I combed my shots looking for an unobstructed sunball with overall blue water. This one comes closest. What I can see already, and it's kind of giving in but obviously there is a limit to the camera capabilities, going vertical helps quite a bit. Simply less area to go dark:

 

P5100292_sun_softcoral.jpg

 

And here's a shot with nice blues, but...the sun is going to blow out horribly if I lift the camera skyward. And so my guess is, the way to get better blues is to shoot these late in the day with maybe some high thin clouds to filter some light out. Thanks everyone for comments and input. I've learned some things. Rand

 

DSC_5547shallow_silversides.jpg

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This is a very interesting thread. Thanks Rand for your continuous energy and experiments in this area. You are certainly producing the most consistently good digital sunburst shots.

 

I agree that late in the day sun is easier to capture on digital and film. Plus the dappled light at that time of day is very pretty too!

 

Alex

 

Hi Jeremy - my comment comes from what I have seen shooting UW myself and also what I have learned from looking at the exposures others have used when successfully capturing sunbursts on digital (notably Rand and Herb). It comes from the fact that it is well established that digital cameras do not capture highlight detail as well as film. Empirically we have just seen that digital handles sunbursts better when you can underexpose the ambient light compared to a metered exposure. On film I might underexpose a sunbursts a bit - say 1 stop. On digital I find that they are nicest when underexposed by 2-3 stops. This means a similar underexposure of midblues.

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Yes, i agree Rand seems to be getting a lot of great shots with the sun, colour me jealous. What i have come to realize is that it is going to work best with CFWA where we are looking at fstops of the range 16-22.

I have always done and pushed my students as well to try sunbursts early and late in the day for a couple of reasons. A: easier to get in the frame when low in the sky. B: Not so overpowering C: I shot strictly Nikonos for years and the max 90 shutter speed for synch is kinda limiting for anything other than CFWA when trying to shoot around mid day.

So i will take my new 12-24mm (hurray it finally arrived) and try some CFWA a la Rand's soft coral shots and see if i get some better results.

Might have to wait a few days as it is full moon and we had around 30 mantas in Mi'il Channel this morning and i will be out there with the video (to make some money) and the Nik V/15mm no strobes tomorrow...

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It is also worth trying sunbursts on a nice smooth day (no wind) and to dive quite deep (>20m ~ 70ft). Alex

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Interesting!

 

The reason that film is so good at capturing bright sun rays and dark shadow details is that it has a "chemical curve" that is much different than the way a digital sensor pixel records light. I can't think of a way to demonstrate what a film curve might look like (without using a whiteboard).

 

But I figure if film can do it, as long as we don't oversaturate the sunball, perhaps we can do it w/ curves of our own. Of course it doesn't work as well as film which applies the "chemical curve" DURING the exposure.

 

Here's a crappy photo with a sunball that I just found on my HD. I developed the RAW file to preserve the tightest "best" sunball I could get:

 

rawconversion.jpg

 

It's shot in blue/green water, f22 @ 1/125th with strobes on full.

 

I applied a curve to it where I tried to bring up the shadows but "locked" the highlights:

 

curves.jpg

 

You'll see that I overlaid the curve on the photo so you can see what I did.

 

It doesn't look good I'll admit it (the Fuji green doesn't help), but it demonstrates what I'm talking about. I'm wondering if anyone with a good sunball in their photo (Ahem Rand, Ahem Herb) might try something similar and see if this technique actually works or not.

 

Am I making any sense?

 

Cheers

James

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Thanks for supplying the Curves box on that one James, gives me some things to mess around with post process. Mind you i want to go the other way, lock my blue and black and bring the exposure down on the sun. Will mess around with locking curves on that eagle ray shot and see what i can come up with.

 

In the meantime, here is a great example of a sunburst on film from a few years back. Taken about 60-70 feet, about f18 (you can do that on a nik v too) and shutter of 90. Also around 830am

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Ok, here's one with a similar adjustment. Comparing it to the original, it seems the colors have been muted. But, again, each shot is taken under different circumstances and frankly, the exposure % variables probably could form an astronomical mathematical equation.

 

I chose this one as an example of what Alex had mentioned earlier, that a sunball shot deep, in this case 100' (33m) is knocked down considerable by the water column.

 

My attempts with the D70 have been with the 10.5. My next will be with a Sigma 16mm. I'd like to fill the frame more with foreground which can help with the black water issue. Especially on the sides of the frame.

 

Note how the Anemone fish chose this precise moment to dissapear...

softcorals_anemone.jpg

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Thanks again for all the input. I find this a most fascinating thread.

 

Rand

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Rand, that second shot of yours is incredible. I'm loving the colors, composition and sunburst. You got it all going on in that one!

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