The art of shooting underwater
Published on 2010-04-04 23:10:01
Moving while taking a picture often result in blur. This is even truer underwater as you are shooting at a relatively slow shutter speed. At such speeds, a quick movement will create a big blur (also referred to as the BBB, the big blue blur).
When shooting a wide angle subject, it is important to immobilize yourself. Sometimes it's helpfull to just sit at the bottom, but you will find out that most of the time you end up shooting while floating. If you have hard time with your buoyancy, the only advice I can give you is to practice and master it first before trying underwater photography.
When shooting Macro, immobility is also of the essence. However, point and shoot cameras require you to be very close from your subject to shoot in macro mode (2-4 inches) so chances are you can stabilize your camera on a rock or stabilize yourself on the reef. If you're shooting macros of floating stuff such as a jellyfish, you will need to have a perfect buoyancy control as you want both your picture to come out great as well as avoiding those deadly tentacles (I'm sure that's not the exact term for jellyfishes but hey, I'm no Dr Bill.)
When diving in Laguna Beach, it often feels like diving in a washmachine. When it come to underwater photography, even a mild surge is a pain in the ass. The problem is that whatever you shoot, you'll have to fight the surge. If you shoot an all-seeing-eye (see right) immobile on the rock, you're in the surge and the subject is moving relative to you (even though you're the one movig). If you wanna shoot a Spanish Shawl, it's in the surge, moving and you're in the surge moving too. Even though you're both in the same surge, your repective inertia being a little different (you're a little heavier than a Spanish Shawl, even a big one), you're not really moving in concert! To get a good shot you'll have to time it when the surge is at its peak when its speed is zero (i.e you and the slug are both immobile). All the more reason why buoyancy control is of the outmost importance!
|Spanish Shawl in the surge: well timed shot|
Same shot while moving
Your camera should be slightly buoyant underwater. The reason for this is that it's easier to pull it down when it wants to go up (just hold it) than pulling it up when it wants to go go down (you'll have to hold it in position). Most cases are. If yours is *too* buoyant, you can add some fishing lead inside or use the flash attachment points to mount external lead.
One hand: DON'T
Two hands: DO!
I've seen others secure their camera to their BC (see picture on the left). I tried this when I started underwater photography and the strap I had my camera attached to simply broke. Snap. Just like that. I wasn't even in the surf or anything. I even think it was during my trials in the swimming pool... Anyway, without this strap I had to find another way and found out that the provided wrist strap always did the job. I'm now use to my wrist strap and I think I have enough crap hanging out of my BC, adding the camera would be a nightmare. It's even worse when you add external flashes which have the tendancy to make your camera negative underwater... Perfect recipe to harvest sand!
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