Friday, January 23, 2009

Underwater Photography technique

Underwater photographers combining two techniques for take a shot in the water which dark and dim. The first is to get the camera as close to the photographic subject as possible, minimizing the horizontal loss of color. This is best achieved by using wide-angle lenses, which allow very close focus, or macro lenses, where the subject is often only inches away from the camera. In practical terms, serious underwater photographers consider any more than about 3 ft/1 m of water between camera and subject to be unacceptable. The second technique is the use of flash to restore any color lost vertically through the water column.


One other important difficulty in taking photographs underwater is that water is never gin clear, there are always myriads of minute animals and plants and other particles suspended in the water. The lack of clarity limits the distance we can see to about one hundred feet even in the clearest water. Since water is the major obstacle we try to reduce the amount of it between the camera lens and our subject by getting in close, certainly no more than one third of the distance we can see and usually much closer than this.

Since underwater photography is often performed while scuba diving, it is important that the diver-photographer be sufficiently skilled so that it remains a reasonably safe activity. Good scuba technique also has an impact on the quality of images, since marine life is less likely to be scared away by a calm diver, and the environment is less likely to be damaged or disturbed. There is the possibility of encountering poor conditions, such as heavy currents, tidal flow, or poor visibility. Generally, underwater photographers try to avoid these situations whenever possible.

So, to getting close to your subject, an invaluable technique for underwater photography using artificial light is to ensure that as little as possible of the light from the strobe is reflected back into the lens by particles in the water. This can be achieved by holding the strobe higher and to the left of your camera and aiming it at the subject so that only the water nearest the subject, and not the water nearest the lens, is illuminated. Since you need to get close, you should move slowly so as not to disturb your subject. Set up your camera and strobe ready for use before you make the approach, so that if you are using a manual system, you need only to make minor adjustments to the focus and aperture once in the desired position. Try to photograph your subject from an interesting angle, preferably framing it so that the background is not cluttered.

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