Story Behind the Shot "Angry Sepiola"

Giacomo Giovannini
Giacomo Giovannini shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

 

Story Behind the Shot "Angry Sepiola"


Giacomo Giovannini shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

Text and Photos By Giacomo Giovannini

 

 

 
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This "angry" squid, Sepiola rondeleti (also known as the Dwarf Bobtail Squid) is a species of bobtail squid native to the Northern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, including the Adriatic Sea. Females grow to 60mm in mantle length (though usually from 40 to 50mm), while males are not known to exceed 25 mm. It is a nocturnal species, and lives mainly in areas with sandy or muddy bottoms where it can bury itself during the day.
 
This shot was taken in Trieste, Italy, in the northern Adriatic Sea. Shot in April on a night dive with friends, the water water temperature was 15 ∞C.
 
No sepiolas were seen during the day dives since they were likely hidden under the mud, but during the night dive I found 2 squids. Maybe they approached each other for mating or fighting, but maybe it was just circumstance - I don't know.
 
Few seconds later, now being illuminated, one of them quickly swam away. Luckily the second one did not and I started to follow it and take some shots, waiting for an interesting posture and good shot angle.
 
At the beginning, the squid was swimming on the bottom over the mud and between algae. Finally it detached from the mud, and I realized that the right moment was coming with the squid in the open water, looking right at the camera and tentacles collected and in a ready position. So I started to take more shots!

 

View the gear Giacomo used, settings and the Ocean Art prize he won

 

 

More Incredible Bobtail Squid Photos from Giacomo

 

Sepiola sequence 1

 

Sepiola sequence 2

 

Sepiola sequence 3

 

View all the Ocean Art winning images

 

 

About the Author

 
My name is Giacomo Giovannini. I was born in 1984 in Rimini, Italy - on the Adriatic Sea. I studied and graduated in Computer Engineering, but I found the "scuba world" in 2010 with sport club "Sub Rimini Gian Neri", where I've reached the certification level CMAS ***.
From my first dives, the desire to take photographs was powerful. I shoot underwater with a compact camera and housing, equipped with flashes and a macro lens, and recently starting also shooting with DSLR equipment. You can view my website at: www.giacomogiovannini.com
 

 

Further Reading

 

 

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Story Behind the Shot "Lionfish Stares at its Lunch"

Ilan Ben Tov
Ilan Ben Tov shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

 

Story Behind the Shot "Lionfish Stares at its Lunch"


Ilan Ben Tov shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

Text and Photos By Ilan Ben Tov

 

 

 
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The wreck of the Sufa lies in the northern part of the Red Sea, on the shores of the city of Eilat, which hosts a yearly congregation of glass sweepers. For a few weeks every year, the glass sweepers take shelter in the bridge of the sunken ship, numbering in the thousands and swimming so tightly they resemble a pseudo living organism.

The glass sweepers keep moving to avoid the predatory Lionfish and are forming new and varied shapes constantly, and along with the Lionfish, create excellent photography opportunities.

When the stories about the congregation arrived, I started planning the photography session. I knew that I wanted to take wide and close shots, and planned to use my Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye lens with arms spread wide to have a large area lighted by the strobes.

My dive buddy and I planned to dive mid-week in order to have as few divers as possible at the site, and during the afternoon in order to have the sun located at the correct angle. When we arrived we were glad to see that we were the only divers on the wreck.

At first, we looked at the bridge and we were sure that we had missed the congregation and that the glass sweepers left, but when we turned to the other side of the bridge we saw the big cloud of fish.

 

Ilan Ben Tov

 

I spent several minutes just hovering in mid-water looking at the fish, trying to learn the pattern of their movement and trying to calculate the best place to be in order to take close shots. I finally made the decision and started shooting while following the Lionfish and finally I managed to shoot the photo that I wanted.

 

View the gear Ilan used, settings and the Ocean Art prize he won

 

 

View all the Ocean Art winning images

 

 

About the Author, Ilan Ben Tov

I am 48 years old and live in Ashdod, Israel. I love nature and especially the sea, and I have been an enthusiastic diver and underwater photographer for a long time. Most vacations are dedicated to underwater photography, and I do most of this in the waters of Eilat in the northern Red sea.

My Underwater gallery:   www.pbase.com/ilanbt/underwater

 

 

Further Reading

 

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Story Behind the Shot "Glaucus Atlanticus"

Eduardo Acevedo
Eduardo Acevedo shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

 

Story Behind the Shot "Glaucus Atlanticus"

Eduardo Acevedo shares the story behind his Ocean Art category-winning image

Text and Photos By Eduardo Acevedo

 

 

 
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This photo was taken in the south of Tenerife (in the Canary Islands) but you can find these Glaucus Atlanticus nudibranchs all over the world in the open ocean.

This pelagic nudibranch is about 2 or 3 cm and lives on the ocean surface, normally just behind other pelagic organisms like the venomous Portuguese Man O' War (Physalia Physalis), wind sailor Velella velella or the blue button Porpita porpita.

March and April are the best months to see these strange and beautiful animals in the Canary Islands. When the ocean is in calm and we have good sun, we have the conditions necessary to get good photos of these nudibranchs. For this picture, I spent nearly 8 hours just trying to find the nudibranchs in the blue ocean and then another 2 hours to take the picture. It is a very difficult shot because macro photos taken in the open ocean require lots of patience and a very calm sea. Normally we can find 3 or 4 of the species behind or very near a Portugueses Man O´ War, either pairing or just fighting because they are a cannibal species.

 

View the gear Eduardo used, settings and the Ocean Art prize he won

 

 

More Incredible Nudibranch Photos from Eduardo

 

A single Glaucus atlanticus nudibranch in open water.

 

Seeking protection in the open ocean.

 

A different capture of the two glaucus atlanticus nudibranchs.

 

Blue water diving brings lots of pelagic surprises.

 

 

 

View all the Ocean Art winning images

 

 

About the Author

Eduardo

 

Further Reading

 

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Story Behind the Shot "Underwater Circus"

Lucie Drlikova
Lucie Drlikova shares the story behind her Ocean Art category-winning image

 

Story Behind the Shot "Underwater Circus"


Lucie Drlikova shares the story behind her Ocean Art category-winning image

Text and Photos By Lucie Drlikova

 

Lucie Drlikova Underwater Circus

 

 
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Underwater Circus was created as a series of 3 pictures in March 2014, Prague/ Czech republic.

My first idea was to create a walking ballerina on rope, but somehow I was still missing something, something different, special for me. One day I saw a yellow clown wig and at that moment I got the idea about the underwater circus. I love circus from my childhood, all the clowns and acrobats. Sad soul behind the happy face. So it was decided! I knew I needed experienced models, as it would be quite difficult to synchronize them all. The girl on the rope was clear for me from the first moment - my best friend Zela is always ready to help me with all my crazy ideas and she is a certified freediver, therefore comfortable underwater. I started to tailor the costumes on her.

Finding two male models was also not so difficult either. Laci and Robert voluntarily offered themselves. Actually, I am very lucky with underwater models in the Czech. As a certified scuba diver and freediver, we have a big community in Prague and everybody knows each other. I have shot the Czech Championship in freediving many times and I also support many free diving activities, so if I need something, the community is happy to help me ni return.

There are only a few swimming pools in Prague with a depth of around 13 feet. The Czech freediving team uses one of them for their training, and they were so kind as to offer me the use of this deep pool and to help with divers' safety for this picture. Safety is a very important part of a shoot like this. When I am shooting in such deep pool, I always use safety diver/ freedivers. 

 

Training and Setting Up the Pool

I always have to cover the swimming pool wall, as I do not want to have the tiles visible in the picture. First, I made a very big white fabric backdrop (I sewed 6 white blankets together), but then I figured out that it was a little transparent underwater and I could still see the tiles. So I prepared the same big fabric, just in a light blue color (for this I used 2 big photographic background fabrics sewed together). 

Next, I bought a 17 foot rope and we started to train and practice the position that I wanted to see in the picture in my living room. 

I always try to prepare the position with models on surface, before we go in the water. I believe that when everybody understands exactly what I want from them on the surface, they will also do it in the water. 

Approximately 2 hours before the shoot, I started to work on the makeup of the girl and to glue the mustaches on the men. I always do the makeup by myself. I use colors which are waterproof or creamy, and stay on in the water.

Then we started to cover the pool with the fabrics. The edges of the fabric were weighted with diving weights to tighten the fabric. 

When everything was ready, we went through all the details and position once more with all 3 models. 

 

The Pool Shoot

First, we needed to synchronize the two men with the rope. We tried for about 20 minutes, making them the same weight, which means taping some weights on the one floating to the surface first. We tested until we found exactly how much weight was required so that both men were on the same level. 

Next, we brought in the girl and started to synchronize all of them. It was definitively not done on the first shot, we just continued to try and try until the moment came when all were in the exact right position.

We did the same with the other 2 planned pictures, which were easier as it was only 2 people and then 1 person in the pictures.

All together it took us approximately 3 hours (including the work covering the pool).

Everybody was quite tired but happy! It was 11 pm and we were so hungry, so I invited everybody out for pizza :-)

The next day I started to work on post-production and prepared the final pictures for print. I was excited - the pictures turned exactly how I imagined them in my head. 

 

 

View the gear Lucie used, settings and the Ocean Art prize she won

 

 

"Underwater Circus" Companion Photos

 

Lucie Drlikova

Underwater Circus II

 

Lucie Drlikova

Underwater Circus III

 

 

View all the Ocean Art winning images

 

 

About the Author

Lucie Drlikova was born in the Czech Republic, is domicilied in Prague, and presently lives and creates her art in Miami, Florida.

She has spent many years in top managerial positions abroad, with photography being her hobby and escape from the reality. Her biggest passion has always been scuba diving, from which it was only a small step to underwater photography. Lucie starting shooting marine life and not long afterwards she added her desire to create her own scenes.

She studied at the Institute Of Digital Photography in Prague. Lucie has won a number of awards, at home and abroad, in the area of underwater photography. Her work has been published internationally.  www.luciedrlikova.com

 

 

Further Reading

 

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Story Behind the Shot "Kirra Underwater"

Ray Collins
Ray Collins shares the story behind his Ocean Art winning image

 

Story Behind the Shot "Kirra Underwater"


Ray Collins shares the story behind his Ocean Art winning image

Text and Photos By Ray Collins

 

 

 
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Without getting too deep or philosophical, this image was the start of a new direction in my life. I was starting to look at the ocean, and the world for that matter, with a renewed perspective. You see, i had given up drinking alcohol a few weeks before, not because it was some crippling thing for me, but I just found I was dedicating the best parts of the day to it on weekends. Any photographer will tell you the most favourable light is the golden hour, which happens in the first and last hours of each day. So rather than going to the pub, or being hungover, I would go and make images instead. It started as a year-long experiment that I enjoyed so much it's been well over 2 years and counting.

 

Anyway, back to the shot...

My then fiancée (now wife) and I were on a road trip up north and the water clarity was amazing. You could see the sand through the backs of the waves as they broke along the beach. I used an 8" dome port, which I do a lot of my underwater work with, and swam around for about 20 minutes. I seen this wave break past me, captured it, and knew that was the shot. When I swam in Amber, my wife, had coffee and banana bread waiting on a beach blanket ready to start our day.

 

View the gear Ray used, settings and the Ocean Art prize he won

 

 

More Incredible Wave Photos from Ray Collins

 

Ray Collins wave photo

Beneath the Vortex

 

Ray Collins wave photo

 

Ray Collins wave photo

 

Ray Collins wave photo

 

 

View all the Ocean Art winning images

 

 

About the Author

Ray CollinsI bought my first camera in 2007 to shoot my  friends surfing around home, and within a few short years progressed to having companies such as Apple, Nikon, United Airlines, Isuzu, Qantas, Patagonia, National Geographic and Red Bull using my unique images across their international campaigns. I feel pretty lucky, as there were no plans it all just grew organically. Please check out more of my seascapes and moods of the ocean at www.raycollinsphoto.com or on instagram @raycollinsphoto

 

 

Further Reading

 

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4K Underwater Video with the Panasonic GH4

Underwater Photography Guide
Testing the Panasonic GH4 in Nauticam Housing for Underwater Video in 4K Resolution, Including Lens Tests.

 

4K Underwater Video with the Panasonic GH4


Testing the Panasonic GH4 in Nauticam Housing for Underwater Video in 4K Resolution, Including Lens Tests

By the Underwater Photography Guide

 

 

 
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The Panasonic GH4 has a reputation among underwater photographers as an affordable way to shoot video in 4K resolution. The mirrorless camera uses interchangeable lenses for composing the perfect shot, while the small size results in small housing options for divers - great for travel and maneuverability in the water.

Bluewater Photo recently tested the GH4 in the Nauticam Panasonic GH4 Housing in Southern California's rich kelp forests with the following lenses:

 

 

Panasonic GH4 Underwater Video in 4K

 

View all our camera and housing videos on the Bluewater Photo YouTube Page.

 

 

Tutorials for Underwater Video

 

Further Reading

 

 

Support the Underwater Photography Guide:


The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


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Rolling in the Deep: Komodo Wide-Angle

Dustin Adamson
Video & Behind the Scenes Commentary for Rolling in the Deep - Wide-Angle

 

Rolling in the Deep: Komodo Wide-Angle


Part 2 of 2
Video & Behind the Scenes Commentary for Rolling in the Deep

 

View Part 1: Behind the Scenes of the Macro Video

 

By Dustin Adamson

 

Komodo

 

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A couple of years back I decided I wanted to make a series of underwater short films illustrating the type of marine life someone could expect to see when visiting a particular destination. I didn’t want narration or a story… none of that. I wanted the natural beauty of the subjects, along with camera and lighting artistry to take center stage. Looking back to the olden days of film, the use of the word ‘Rolling’ when someone was filming always appealed to me. I pondered how I could incorporate that word into my series. That is where the name ‘Rolling in the Deep’ came from. This installment of the series focuses on the macro subjects of Komodo, Indonesia.

Coral Reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems. Many people think that coral is just underwater plants, when in fact they are a bunch of tiny animals forming colonies. Did you know that coral reefs cover a mere .01% of our world’s oceans yet contain up to 25% of all marine species? They are crucial to overall health of the ocean. This is why conservation of these precious underwater treasures is so important.

I saw some of the most pristine reefs I have ever seen while in Komodo, however, I also saw some of the most devastated coral reefs I have even seen! During the film you will most likely notice the beautiful and graceful Manta Rays. If you look closer, you will see a reef that has been devastated by local Indonesian dynamite fishing. Komodo has “National Marine Parks” set up, but oftentimes the laws aren’t followed and nobody is there to enforce the rules. 

 

Komodo

Lone turtle under a sunball

 

Planning

Shooting wide-angle with a DSLR can be challenging. First of all, having enough sunlight is the key for me. I personally prefer natural light when shooting wide, and have always found lights to look strange and unnatural. This is personal preference, of course. White Balance is the other challenging thing. Whenever the light changes underwater, I change directions or ascend/descend 10 feet or so, I set a new custom white balance. I use either the sand or a white slate to get my white balance. This works the majority of the time.

One of the negative aspects of shooting DSLRs underwater is the lack stability while shooting. DSLR housings aren’t made like traditional video camera housings, so I find the best way for me to get as smooth a shot as possible is to extend my tripod legs so that I have a wider hold on the housing (as opposed to using the housing handles).

 

Komodo Reefscape

Komodo Reefscape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reef scenes in Komodo, Indonesia

 

Gear Used

During my trip to Komodo, I was using a Canon 5d Mark II for my camera. This is a full frame camera, so combining it with a Canon 15mm fisheye lens makes for a very wide view. It can be challenging to keep unwanted things like divers, bubbles, boats, etc… out of your shot. I prefer this fisheye lens to rectilinear wide-angle zoom lenses due to the sharpness it brings. Some underwater videographers don’t like the distortion of the fisheye, however. For my tastes, I would rather a sharp image and distortion rather than the soft edges of a rectilinear wide-angle zoom lens.  Again, this is all personal preference.

I do not use a red filter. With a good white balance, the colors that a DSLR can provide are much better and more realistic than those recorded with a red filter. I have always found red filters to be more trouble than they are worth. They are useful for some cameras, but not ideal for DSLR video.

 

Komodo Reefscape

Dustin filming the reef

 

VIDEO:  Rolling in the Deep - Wide-Angle

The reefs in Komodo, Indonesia are fantastic overall! Combine that with the current and all you have to do is hit record and shoot while drift diving. From both an underwater and topside perspective, Komodo should be on every divers bucket list.

 

 

 

View Part 1: Behind the scenes of the Macro video

 

Bluewater Travel has all the info you need to book your dive trip to Komodo.

Join our guided trip to Komodo in March 2015! We'll have 2 specials guests onboard with us - Aggressor owners Wayne Brown and Wayne Hasson!!

 

About the Author

Dustin Adamson has been diving for 18 years. He has been filming underwater for the last 3 years, and has won multiple international awards for his videos. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and taught himself filming and final post production. He and his wife Tyra are both contributors to www.oceanshutter.com. The best way to follow their adventures and ask them questions is to ‘Like’ their Facebook page www.facebook.com/oceanshutter

 

 

Further Reading

 


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


 

 
 
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Rolling in the Deep: Komodo Macro

Dustin Adamson
Video & Behind the Scenes Commentary for Rolling in the Deep - Macro

 

Rolling in the Deep: Komodo Macro


Part 1 of 2
Video & Behind the Scenes Commentary for Rolling in the Deep

 

View Part 2: Behind the Scenes of the Wide-Angle Video

 

By Dustin Adamson

 

Komodo

 

 
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A couple of years back I decided I wanted to make a series of underwater short films illustrating the type of marine life someone could expect to see when visiting a particular destination. I didn’t want narration or a story… none of that. I wanted the natural beauty of the subjects, along with camera and lighting artistry to take center stage. Looking back to the olden days of film, the use of the word ‘Rolling’ when someone was filming always appealed to me. I pondered how I could incorporate that word into my series. That is where the name ‘Rolling in the Deep’ came from. This installment of the series focuses on the macro subjects of Komodo, Indonesia.

The underwater world is more than Sharks, Whales, and Dolphins. Sure, these are all very exciting to see underwater. I certainly wouldn’t stick my nose up at them. And I most certainly would be regretting my lens choice if I had my macro lens mounted to my rig and one of those creatures decided to make an appearance. However, the ‘small’ stuff below the surface has just as much to offer as the ‘big’ stuff. If you examine each creature individually, they are all unique in their own way. They all have their own personalities that can be quirky, happy, angry, and mysterious. Combine this with beautiful colors and some of their behaviors and they are all very intriguing to say the least.  

 

Komodo

Common Reef Cuttlefish

 

Planning

Shooting macro video with a DSLR is extremely challenging. The depth of field is razor thin. As a result, any movement from the animal or your camera can really ruin your shot. When setting up my shot, I always view my surroundings to make sure I am not going to ruin any corals. Once I determine the site is okay to shoot, I then adjust the legs on my tripod and my lighting to the approximate positions. I then swim in closer to set up the actual shot.

In this video, I am sometimes shooting as close as an inch away from the subject. At that distance lighting becomes very difficult. Lighting is very important for me. I like my video to have a specific ‘look’ to it. I love black backgrounds! In order to get this, I need there to be very little ambient light. 90% of this video is shot on night dives. This can be nice for lighting, but it also introduces what I call “sea lice” that swarm your lights. The longer you stay with a subject, the more that will congregate around your lights. I have yet to figure a way to avoid this issue and you will see this in many shots in the video. 

Patience is something that I struggle with at times. Sometimes it can take a whole dive to get the shot that I am looking for. The frogfish yawning, or better yet, actually capturing prey! This can be an entire dive. Or not happen at all. A good example of this is the opening shot of the video. The snail moving across the frame looks like a simple shot. It took me 30 minutes of placing my camera ahead of the snail, just to watch it move across the frame out of focus. I had to repeat this half a dozen times to get it in focus, each time having to readjust legs on my tripod and the lighting. 

 

Komodo

Juvenile Flamboyant Cuttlefish

 

Gear Used

During my trip to Komodo, I was using a Canon 5d Mark II. This is a full frame camera, so combining it with a Canon 100mm Macro lens makes the depth of field a challenging endeavor. When you nail the focus, however, the shot looks amazing! Unfortunately the compression the video hosting sites use really degrades the video quality. You should see it uncompressed in its full HD glory! The quality of the sensor and the lens is top notch. It is only rivaled by systems that cost 10 times as much. 

For lighting I was using Sola 4000’s with a custom made snoot. I wanted to narrow the beam of the light and a snoot was the only way to do this.  Because of the weight of the lights, I used ULCS clamps and arms.

For stability, I used the Xit404 tripod mount and legs. For me this is essential equipment to get steady and smooth shots in areas with strong current.

 

Komodo

Orange frogfish waiting for prey

 

VIDEO:  Rolling in the Deep - Macro

Macro subjects in Komodo aren’t as dense as in places like Lembeh or Anilao, but the opportunities are still fantastic. Combine that with the beautiful reefs and the clear water and it makes Komodo a worthy destination to visit. I encourage anyone who has shied away from macro video to give it a shot as it can be very rewarding. Stay tuned for part 2 of the Rolling in the Deep series. This will focus on the ‘Wide’ scenes in Komodo.

 

 

 

View Part 2: Behind the scenes of the Wide-Angle video

 

Bluewater Travel has all the info you need to book your dive trip to Komodo.

Join our guided trip to Komodo in March 2015! We'll have 2 specials guests onboard with us - Aggressor owners Wayne Brown and Wayne Hasson!!
 

About the Author

Dustin Adamson has been diving for 18 years. He has been filming underwater for the last 3 years, and has won multiple international awards for his videos. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and taught himself filming and final post production. He and his wife Tyra are both contributors to www.oceanshutter.com. The best way to follow their adventures and ask them questions is to ‘Like’ their Facebook page www.facebook.com/oceanshutter

 

 

Further Reading

 


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


 

 
 
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DIY: Charging Your Battery with Tinfoil

Brent Durand
A Trick to Charge your Battery without the Correct Charger

 

DIY: Charging Your Batter with Tinfoil


A Trick to Charge your Battery without the Correct Charger

By Brent Durand

 

 

 
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Underwater photography takes creativity, and while the majority results in excellent photos and video, some of the most creative efforts happen above the surface. Over the years we’ve seen a wide range of DIY techniques, from rigs to take housings through the surf on beach dives to homemade buoyancy arms to very interesting airline packing techniques. But tinfoil and batteries is a new one.

On a recent Bluewater Photo day boat trip, BWP & UWPG owner Scott Gietler turned on his camera to find the battery had no power, even though he had checked the power the night before. The camera was in the housing overnight without a lens on it, and that had somehow drained all of the power from battery.

 

Scott didn't bring his charger, because he didn't think there was any way he would need it. The D7000 charger is very specific, and the other chargers on board did not fit that particular battery. With no battery charger on board for his D7000, Scott thought he was very much out of luck for the day.

Fortunately, an ingenious diver suggested using tinfoil to complete the circuit from her charger (which was for a Nikon full-frame camera battery) to his D7000 battery. Brilliant!

Scott ran with the idea, and found some aluminum foil. Two strips of foil later and a littlel fiddling around with the pressure of the tinfoil, the circuit was established, charging Scott’s battery. He was able to do three great dives at Anacapa Island, taking photos. You can see the underwater photos he took here. Nothing earth-shattering, but better than no photos!

 

Safety First!

While this was a great solution to a temporary problem, we would NEVER leave this charger unattended. Charging a battery in this manner could bring a fire risk, especially if the foils touched for more than a few seconds. In fact, touching the 2 pieces of aluminum foil did cause some tiny sparks. This solution is only for emergencies, and only if there is someone around who has experience with electrical wiring or circuits.

Rule #1 - Only try this if you are confident the charger has similar volts/amps as your charger you left at home. You are definitely taking a risk when using a charger not meant for your battery. Otherwise you can fry the battery or charger. Ideally it would be a very similar battery - e.g. another Nikon charger if your battery was a Nikon.

Rule #2 - Don't let the circuits cross, and don't leave the battery unattended, even for a moment. Lithium batteries can easily catch on fire. If they do, water will put out the flames.

 

 

Further Reading

 


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


 

 
 
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Story Behind the Shot: "Shout"

Allen Walker
How do you Capture a Dynamic & Exciting Shark Photo?

 

Story Behind the Shot: "Shout"


How do you Capture a Dynamic and Exciting Shark Photo?

Text and Photos By Allen Walker

 

Shark photo in Aliwal Shoal South Africa

 

 
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The photograph "Shout" was taken off Aliwal Shoal at a spot known as Shark Park to help promote shark conservation and encourage underwater photographers to visit South Africa and to establish KZN as a prime destination for shark photography. 

Location of the photo: "Shark Park", Aliwal Shoal MPA, Rocky Bay, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

 
So what is involved in getting an image of this nature?

  • A good team
  • Preparation
  • Suitable conditions
  • Subject knowledge
  • Execution

 

A Good Team:

As in all wildlife photography, it often takes a team to capture an image. As the photographer you have to be able to seize the moment that all the elements come together and take the shot. Not only is missing the shot disappointing, but also a huge let down to the TEAM who made it possible. For shark diving and creating awesome images it is imperative to have a good team that understands the requirements, including a good skipper, a good bait man and a good observer who keeps you informed of the sharks all around you!

The skipper must ensure the boat lies correctly and doesn't interfere with the photo (i.e. into or away from the sun, with the current or against it). The bait man needs to be accurate and precise once he has been able to draw sharks in, as he controls the activity of the sharks and their movement. The observer is there for safety and ensures that the photographer is constantly aware of all the sharks around the camera.

 

Preparation:

It is important to ensure that everything is prepared and ready - you cannot mess around with gear on the boat and if you have left something behind then it will mean you either do without it or you go all the way back and fetch it (where time and fuel add up quickly).

Furthermore, preparation is not just about the boat, bait, skipper and conditions - it is about a pre-conceived image. You need to plan the shot you want in order to ensure you have everything you need to make the shot possible.

 

Conditions:

Doing photography work on a boat and on the surface is not a good idea if the conditions are not right. In our case, an 8 meter semi-rigid inflatable is the norm for diving, and they are not the most stable boat in rough conditions. Ensure you have chosen the correct dive days by using local knowledge of the weather and ocean conditions and trust their advice on whether or not to go out or postpone for a better day.

Visibility & strong current are also important factors to take into account. Visibility less than 5m and current stronger than 1.5 knots can present challenging conditions. Most importantly, if you are not seasoned to work in these conditions then DON'T!

 

Subject Knowledge:

The most important aspect of photographing and working with sharks is “Subject Knowledge!" Yes these are wild animals and like so many people say and believe, you cannot predict what an wild animal will do. I beg to differ; a good understanding of the animal and its behavior will ultimately get you the shot you are looking for. It is the knowledge about the animal that will give you the confidence to delay the shot a few split seconds, which is the difference between good and great. If you do not have that knowledge, ensure you are with someone that does as this will really make the difference.

 

Execution:

This is it, time to put your idea into frame and capture it for the world to see. Here are a few tips:

  • Be patient
  • Let your team do the work - odds are they have much more experience at their jobs than you do.
  • Ensure your settings are correct for the conditions. Shoot test shots with your hand about 30cm of the dome port in the water and counter check the colours on camera to reality (i.e. colours of your hand above water).
  • When working with the actual animals ensure you wear dark gloves.
  • Tether the camera to a secure buckle on your BC or on the boat, depending whether you are swimming or hanging over the side.
  • Listen to your spotter to know what is happening and where the sharks are coming from, and always focus on what is in front of you!!! Do NOT take your eye off the ball (sharks) at any given time when there is bait in the water.
  • Continually wipe dome port to ensure it is free of bubbles.
  • Keep the animals as calm as possible when baiting - big splashes and chaos results in zero images.
  • Always have one person spotting for the cameraman to help direct him/her find the action while managing the camera gear.
  • Control amount of bait in the water.
  • No more than 1 to 2 pieces of bait at a time or it becomes dangerous since the photographer cannot watch all the bait.
  • When photographing from the boat the photographers get a false sense of security. They must remember stay vigilant - if they want to talk or ask questions camera must be lifted out of the water. This is VERY IMPORTANT!!!
  • TAKE THE SHOT, SEIZE THE MOMENT!!! Do not get disappointed; it could take days, months, years to get the shot you want, but think of it this way: every shot you do get may not be the shot you want, but it is a shot you have got that no one else has!

 

The result:

A crazy cool image that will make your heart fill with pride and show the beauty sharks to the world!

 

Tech Info:

Camera:  Canon 7D
Lens:  EF 8-15mm f/4L FISHEYE USM
Housing:  Hugyfot
Port:  Zen
Strobes: I non
Focal Length:  9mm
Shutter:  1/160
Apeture:  F11
ISO:  320
Strobe Setting:  Manual – 5.6 (Half Power)
Subject Distance:  0.3m
White Balance:  Manual
Metering:  Spot
Focus:  AI Servo
Shot:  Multi Hi

 

 

About the Author

Diving has been part of photographer Allen Walker's life for many years. After picking up a camera in 2007, Allen quickly strove to portray the beauty of the ocean and now sells imagery and works on commercial shoots around the world. He also works hard to support local and worldwide conservation issues.  Allen Walker Photography

 

 

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