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Learn from my Rookie Mistake

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First of all many thanks to Matt Segal for taking the time to look at one of my RAW images and finding and fixing my problem.

 

Now the funny egg on my face part: This is what happens when you take one experienced diver and novice photographer and put a big fancy new camera in his hands. This year I upgraded from a Sea&Sea MM II Ex to a Canon 20D with all Ike gear (lovin it) So here I was all ready to jump into digital and run (dive) with the big boys and girls. My goals were simple, the same as any underwater photographer, to be great Ok maybe I should have been happy with a few more keepers So anyways I study everything I could find on Wetpixel.com asked alot of silly questions and got a bunch of great answers. This place has been great. I was ready to be a great underwater photographer. I had the camera, I had some knowledge and I even had the newest version of photo shop CS2. Man was I gonna be good

 

First trip: Over Memorial Day weekend I was going to head down to Panama City Beach to get in four dives. This was to be my test run for my big Aqua Cat trip. The diving was in some very dark limited visibilty water. To say the least I was having a heck of a time. My 100mm lens would hunt and hunt and hunt. I did manage to take some pictures though. At the end of the first day I down loaded my pictures and noticed all the RAW files were over expoused to some extent. I thought these images sure look different on the computer than the camera LCD. No big deal though because, I was shooting in RAW I would just adjust a little (a lot) and compensate for the overexposure the next day. The next day I did just that, I went to a higher F stop and even expermented with my shutter speed. I did notice that the 100mm lens still did a lot of hunting. At the end of the day I get back and down load the images and the too are all overexpoused. I did some work with the RAW files and got some keepers.

 

I got home and got on Wetpixel.com and started posting questions. I found out that I had the camera set up wrong and that was causing the hunting of the 100mm lens. The best any one could figure on the overexpoused images was I had the Ike TTL set to a +2 instead of a -1 or -2. Problem solved?

 

Trip Two: The Aqua Cat, this was going to be the begining of greatness I would have seven days to shoot and get some great images. Well a familar theme appeared, shoot, down load and view a bunch of overexpoused images. Dive again adjust settings, shoot, down load and view my overexpoused images. I was coming to some pretty strange conclusions. One the LCD on the back of the camera wasn't worth a hoot. My camera must be broke and a lot of people are not telling the truth about how much adjusting in RAW they are having to do. I was getting more confused as I went. Although I was able to save a lot of images with adjustments in RAW and I had a lot of what I considered keepers. So over all not a bad trip.

 

I know this is kind of wordy but I am all most there. I posted a couple of images of Queen Angels and asked for some critiques. I did it in two forums and got some really good advice. I love good honest constructive advice. Matt posted a comment that said it looked like I was pushing the exposure two far in photo shop. I responded that can't be because the images were overexposed and I was trying to bring them back to normal. Matt asked if he could see the RAW image so I emailed it to him. What he found just kills me The RAW image was in fact underexposed as was just about every image I had ever taken with this new camera. The problem was in a feature with adobe bridge camera RAW. It was set up to auto adjust each image. So I was never looking at the actual RAW image of any of the photos I took. Except on the LCD and I thought for sure it didn't work very good at all anyways So the more i adjusted the camera the more CS2 tried to counter adjust the images. It was a big relief once Matt told me how to set up CS2 adobe bridge so I could see the actual RAW data of all my images. You can't imagine how many underexpoused pictures I now have. LOL I do have a few good ones though (TTL) and a lot more keepers (thank you RAW) then I ever had before.

 

I hope this helps all the other newbies out there trying to be great A big thanks to Matt and all the other Wetpixel.com photgraphers out there who take the time to help guide us rookies through to being Digital Photographers.

 

Dive, Shoot, Learn

 

Regards,

Michael

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Thanks for the post Michael - good story.

 

I think Adobe Bridge has been a trap for a number of people - not just newbies. Good to be reminded of this potential pitfall.

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Wow! That's worth knowing about - thanks Michael. And good luck with the new toys. Isn't it fun :)

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One tip that helped me a lot is to USE THE HISTOGRAM. The LCD display is not a perfect rendition of the picture taken, even at the surface. Underwater our judgement of the colours and brightness in a picture is altered, because our eyes adjust to the bluish colour cast and dark lighting in the environment. But the histogram (which you can see on the 20 D by viewing the image and touching INFO twice) does faithfully reflect the brightness of the picture taken. With a normal scene, aim to get a histogram peak at a position about three-quarters of the way from left to right.

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