Photo Tips 3

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Now that you've  practiced with your camera in the pool, and you have an inkling what all the knobs and buttons are for, and you've been fine tuning your buoyancy so you can hover motionless in the water column, you are now itching to take some pictures.

Arrowcrab in Flight
Taken with a Nikonos V, closeup set, at f16, strobe on TTL, with focus set at infinity. Taken at 100' -this crab was all over me, in my BC, then from the coral, it leaps into the unknown. Usually found at shallow depths. This was the only 'good' shot out of about a dozen taken. Arrowcrab around 3" wide.

There are many types of photos you can utilize in underwater photography.  There is macro/ closeup, wide angle, close focus wide angle, natural light,  strobe - flash fill, dual strobe, backlighting, and silhouettes. I am sure I forgot something....
One thing I  usually tell my photography students is to try not to get overwhelmed by all the ways you can take pictures, but focus on one thing (no pun intended), get good  at it - or at least comfortable, and then move on. If you would like to have the  most "keepers" per roll, try macro or closeup first.

Taken with a Nikonos V- 1/1 extension tube, at f 22, Strobe on TTL,. Soft cup corals, feeding...usually under ledges/caverns, open up to feed at night. Tubestras are only around to 1 inch high when opened

Why, is that, you ask?  Well, with macro, you set your aperture (to f16 or f22 depending on your subject, strobe strength/distance and film), set your strobe (distance and  strength -ususally TTL), and point and shoot.
You will be working very close to your subjects - inches - so you should concentrate on subjects that don't move! There are so many subjects that can be very patient for you, as they are going nowhere....and they can include  anemones, tube worms, corals, sponges, many mollusks (except your squid and  octopi -they can move pretty darn fast and they're too big for macro!), crinoids, sea stars, brittle stars, urchins, get the idea.

Spotted shrimp in Anemone
Taken with a Nikon N90 in a Nexus housing, 60mm macro lens. 60th sec, F11 -16, dual strobes set on TTL. Shrimp is only about inch high, I have trouble actually seeing them, as they are transparent, the anemone is no larger than my hand, but I am able to be back enough with the 60 mm lens so as to not to disturb the creatures.

Most of the newer point and shoot underwater cameras out today have some form of a screw on closeup lens with a "framer" - a metal rod with a frame that sticks out several inches from the lens. As with any framer, and that includes the Nikonos system, you must get your subject within the confines of the framer.
The closeup lens can be put on and removed underwater, as it goes over your primary lens. If you are using the Nikonos system, and choose to use extension  tubes- to take smaller subjects- these tubes are put between the camera and lens, with a framer, then those cannot be changed out underwater. Depending on what system you have, the size of your subject, that will fill the frame can range from around 5" down to 2x lifesize on 35mm film. For the entire subject to  be sharp, remember, it must be flush and flat within the framer.
Ah-ha! But there you are, poking your framer at subjects, and those that can, flee at the sight of you! What do you do? Well, spend some money and get a housing for your SLR!  You would not use extension tubes, or closeup kits with a framer! You would get  a 60mm or a 105mm macro lens. The advantage is you can be away from your subjects, they go about their business, and you can concentrate on composition,  lighting, and get close fish portraits that are extremely difficult, if not impossible with a framer. You can also open your aperture to capture more of the background, if that is one of the effects you'd like.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every type of camera system, but practice with what you have, and you will find macro photography to be the easiest and the most gratifying with the greatest number of well exposed, well composed shots per roll. Good luck!! As these articles are only "tips", I am only giving you very basic information , and like everything else in life, things are more complicated than we'd like...but here I am, ready to answer any questions you may have....just email me at:


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