I’ve been on a black-and-white kick lately. Partly, it’s because I’ve discovered I have a lot of otherwise good shots with the red channel missing due to strobes not firing, photos taken with my point-and-shoot, etc.For those who don’t know, water acts like a prism – you start losing colors in the red end of the spectrum the deeper you go. You need strobes to bring the color back.I decided to take some time and see what I could do with them.Tell me what you think.
Peter photographing a Triton’s
Trumpet locked in mortal combat
with a Crown of Thorns,
by Kendra Ignacio.
I’m often asked what shooting underwater is like. I often answer, “Come with me and find out!” to which my wife says, “Don’t! He’s really boring when he’s shooting underwater! He just sits there waiting for something to happen while you hover and start to freeze!”
Okay, okay, so I’m not the best dive buddy when I’m shooting, unless you’re a photographer yourself or don’t mind just tagging along. That’s why I don’t dive with a camera when I have to watch people or play divemaster.
Getting underwater photography right takes time and practice. A lot of the basics are the same, such as exposure and composition. The fact that you’re shooting in a medium that’s more dense than air and has it’s own natural magnification factor changes your choice of lenses and settings. The fact that water acts like a prism and you lose colors as you go deeper makes it necessary to have strobes if you want any color in your shots. Also, the presence of particulates (what we call backscatter) suspended in the water changes how you aim your strobes, or they’ll show up as “snow” in the shot.
I’m oversimplifying of course, but you get the idea. It’s not something for new divers — make sure you’ve got your breathing and buoyancy nailed before attempting it. If you already know something about photography in general, so much the better. It’ll come more naturally to you when you go down with the camera. Here’s a great book to get you started.
Not long before I left California, I did a model shoot for a good friend. Last night I was pruning my photostream and I realized I had no people shots, so decided to add one of those photos on a whim. 181 views overnight and it made Explore/Interestingness besides. Wish all of my photos could do that!
Be that as it may, this shot is irresistible. Amazing what you find when you bother to look through your own photos.
By the way, those of you with Flickr accounts, please feel free to add me.
This was one of those “Adventure Days” with Dive Makai where we went offshore to see what we could see. We found a pod of pilot whales and slipped into the water to snorkel with them. Having dived with Dive Makai for several years, we’d done this many times, but I never got a good shot of a pilot whale because they would tend to keep their distance.
Today would be different, but not because of the whales. Just as I thought I was getting a good angle on a mother and baby, I turned my head and this guy filled my frame. I forgot all about the whales.
Looking through a tiny viewfinder gave me a false sense of security, so I just kept shooting, even though the shark was probably close enough to breathe on. For those who don’t know, these oceanic white tips aren’t like their more docile cousins, the reef white tips. These guys have a temper, and they don’t need a reason.
Kathy, who was cold from the previous dive and had stayed on the boat, was watching all this from the bow with the rest of the crew. She later told me everybody was a little surprised when they suddenly saw this dorsal fin pop up next to me. I just wish I’d gotten a better shot. Maybe next time.
By the way, it’s our anniversary today. 15 years!