Silversides schooling in July Snorkeler on surface with son Alec waving.
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Underwater Photography in Five Easy Steps
Full Underwater Photography Course US$115 in ONLY two days.

Using standard lenses can result in quality photos if you know some basics for getting the most out of your enjoyment of the dive and simple procedures.
When divers first start photographing on a dive, it results in taking snap shots of dive buddies, sponges, fish, eels and lobsters. There will be sand stirred from divers fins, which is where the flash reflects off the sand creating white specks in the pictures called back scatter. There will be images out of focus because the depth of field or in simple terms the area where the lens is focused is not within the subject matter being photographed.

The basic camera systems available for Underwater photography have a thirty-five millimeter lens. This limits the scope or window that will be imprinted on the film. The subject matter needs to be about one to two feet in size and be at a distance of three apparent feet from the camera lens. This is the usual range that a flash unit will be effective before the water absorbs the colors in the strobe.

The next is the lens allows a range that the image will be in focus. With a subject at three feet there will be a sharp image from two and a half feet to about four feet. If the subject gets around the two feet range the flash will result in the impression on the film being to bright white and fussy. If too far back the subject will be dark and burly. To determine a distance Underwater use a dive buddy and both stretch out each arm and align at the wrist. This is a measurement of four feet and is three apparent feet Underwater. This distance as seen Underwater will appear extra close and takes time to learn the placement of subjects within the field of looking over or through the viewfinder.

Next will be some images will be dark or the flash made the skin colors white. Strobes or built in flashes produce a burst of lighting to bring out the pigments true colors. A subject can be dark, light or even reflective will change how an impressions are recorded on the film. By using the f-stop and trying three different setting, the lighting of a subject can be obtained.

The background water is always blue or dark. If one angles the camera up toward the surface and the sun a contrast in the background color can be achieved. Be careful in shallow water and point away from the sun where white sparkles on the surface can result in white streaks on images.

Subject selection is crucial in getting a quality picture. Fish that are moving tend to blur or the background smears. Try to photograph a setting with a fish or sponge as the subject. Have a diver in the background to illustrate depth of the surrounding water. A fish swimming slowly at three feet away with no close background or diver will seem flat. Add dimension to the portrait. If photographing divers time the picture on your inhalation and wait till the bubbles clear away from the divers face. With the magnification of the water have the diver place hands to side. This prevents divers out stretched hand from being larger than their head. Watch the fins where a leg might be bent and you get only one fin appearing in the image. Also be careful around sand which can be stirred up by kicking divers passing by or the photographer trying to get a certain angle to a shot. Buoyancy control is very important and is best to be neutral and use breathing in and out to raise and lower you in the column of water.

Simply there are ways to create good images the first time. First subject distance set at three apparent feet, set strobe power at quarter power, next use a 100 ASA film speed and set f-stop to f8. Angle the camera at a forty-five degree angle to the surface shooting up. Place the sun in the upper left or upper right quadrant of the picture. Take three photographs of the same image changing the f-stop up to f11 then down to f5.6. This is called bracketing. Never photograph a fish swimming away or chase a fish. Swim slowly parallel to them and wait till they stop around a good backdrop. Wait to snap a picture of divers till the bubbles are away from the face. Remember Underwater Photography starts as skill development, then composition followed by technique and finally artistic realization.

Let me hear from you on any questions.
I'd love to take you diving and photographing in Cayman Brac!
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Valet Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Cayman Brac    Private Lessons   Instructor Guided Tours

Discover Scuba Diving, and ALL PADI Courses
PADI Master Instructor Monte Lee Thornton--Over 30 years experience,
Has Taught Over 1500 People in Scuba Classes, Now Teaching in Cayman Brac's World Class Diving Reefs.

PADI Scuba Diving Certification US$450.00     PADI Discover Scuba Diving US$125.00
Discover Snorkeling US$65.00

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