Deep South Red Sea - Constructive Criticism Most Welcome!

Post your photos for critique or praise

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Postby adambmi » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:13 am

Hi all,

Just returned from a week aboard the liveaboard Blue Horizon doing the (awesome) Deep South itinerary in the Egyptian Red Sea.

The diving was some of the best I've done, and it was even more fun as it was my second time out with the new camera rig - Canon 50D in a Subal housing (thanks, Bill!!!) with twin Inon strobes. I've been shooting intermittently with a P/S for about 3 years, but this SLR rig is by all measures a quantum leap forward. I'm only just starting to get to know my way around the system, and it probably shows in the pics!

That said -- I'd love it if some of you old hands would have a look at some of the shots and let me know what you think - I'd really apprecate hearing your thoughts on how I can improve my images! The pics are over at http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamsvoboda -- thanks everyone and happy bubble-making!

Best
Adam
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Postby scottg » Tue Jun 01, 2010 2:25 pm

hey Adam - what you need to do is reply to this post and embed 2 of your images here using the Img tag (look at the buttons when you reply to this, but not a quick reply), flickr has instructions how to embed images in a post, or you can view your image in flickr, right click on the image and choose "copy image URL"

then include your camera, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO and lighting info along with each of the two photos.

Scott Gietler Owner/Editor, Underwater Photography Guide & Bluewater Photo http://www.uwphotographyguide.com http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com

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Postby bvanant » Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:44 pm

adambmi wrote:Hi all,

Just returned from a week aboard the liveaboard Blue Horizon doing the (awesome) Deep South itinerary in the Egyptian Red Sea.

The diving was some of the best I've done, and it was even more fun as it was my second time out with the new camera rig - Canon 50D in a Subal housing (thanks, Bill!!!) with twin Inon strobes. I've been shooting intermittently with a P/S for about 3 years, but this SLR rig is by all measures a quantum leap forward. I'm only just starting to get to know my way around the system, and it probably shows in the pics!

That said -- I'd love it if some of you old hands would have a look at some of the shots and let me know what you think - I'd really apprecate hearing your thoughts on how I can improve my images! The pics are over at http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamsvoboda -- thanks everyone and happy bubble-making!

Best
Adam

Glad the housing worked out for you. Some of the pics are really amazing. I love the lionfish and the B&W version of the diver in the cave (if only he/she had kept her feet together). Keep up the good work.
Bill

Bill Van Antwerp Canon/Nauticam/Subal/Inon Lots of glass


Technical Advisor to Bluewater Photo


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Postby adambmi » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:51 am

Bill, thanks for the kind words. The setup is just awesome. I purchased an 8" Zen dome and a Tok 10-17, which I used for most of the trip as I am really enjoying the [significant] challenge of getting good WA results. But I am thinking about doing Lembeh in October, and I think the dome might have to stay at home for that one!

Scott, thanks for the advice. I've posted up a couple pics below - these are not my favorites from the trip, but I do have issues with both of them - it would be good to hear if anyone in the focrums can offer some insight.

Image

Manual mode, 1/125th sec, f/13, Tok 10-17 @ 17mm, 2 Inon strobes on manual settings.

I was going for a nice, even white on both the fish and the sand which I couldn't achieve. A reddish hue of the sand in the foreground (the area lit by the strobes) emerged after using the white balance eyedropper in PS Elements, while the background hue remained strongly blue. I tried to correct this with further processing (and failed!) What could I have done differentlly either in-camera or in post (PS Elements, which I am not yet that familiar with) to even out the hue / tonality of the picture and end up with a balanced white throughout the image?


Image

Manual mode, 1/4 sec, f/19, Tok 10-17@14mm, natural light.

I shot a ton of frames in the cave system at St. Johns and this is about the best I could muster. I would have liked to have gotten more detail on the cave walls but was unable to do so without totally blowing out the image. This was the first time ran into an extreme-contrast situation, so the camera settings were of the "wing and a prayer" variety. I'd like to hear what techniques and (typical) settings others are using in situations like this, where there are both intense highlights and very deep shadows. Can anyone offer thoughts?
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Postby scottg » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:45 am

>> What could I have done differentlly either in-camera or in post (PS Elements, which I am not yet that familiar with) to even out the hue / tonality of the picture and end up with a balanced white throughout the image?


You have 2 light sources, strobe and natural light, which both have a different color temperature. So your colors will not match, that is why your warm strobe light turned red when you used the eyedropper tool on the area with more natural light.

Shooting in all natural light with the sun behind you will give you the same color throughout the photo.

If you need to use strobes to fill in shadows you can try gelling your strobes to get them to more closely match the background lighting, but underwater they will not be an exact match. It's better to get everything evenly lit by natural light, especially if you are shallow like it appears in your photo.

Scott Gietler Owner/Editor, Underwater Photography Guide & Bluewater Photo http://www.uwphotographyguide.com http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com

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Postby scottg » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:52 am

>> I'd like to hear what techniques and (typical) settings others are using in situations like this, where there are both intense highlights and very deep shadows. Can anyone offer thoughts?


welcome to the limits of dynamic range. photographers have been having to deal with this limit for a long time. the shadow areas are quite dark.

you have some possibilities, now of which are easy:

1) use a tripod and take multiple bracketed exposures that you combine in post-processing into a high dynamic range image. this is the first one that I would try.

2) create your own custom graduated neutral density filter that you take underwater specifically for this scene

3) take the photo at a different time of day when the dynamic range is significantly less, but again this may need a tripod due to lower light levels, and the dynamic range difference still might be too great

4) use off-camera lighting to light up the shadow areas, but you may loose that natural light look

Scott Gietler Owner/Editor, Underwater Photography Guide & Bluewater Photo http://www.uwphotographyguide.com http://www.bluewaterphotostore.com

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Postby adambmi » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:00 pm

Scott, thanks for the comprehensive feedback - much appreciated!

I shoot a fair amount of HDR topside but to be honest it had never really occurred to me to dive with a tripod and do it underwater - what a great idea!

I imagine you would need the tripod to be relatively small, and made of a material that could stand up to salt water. Do you know of anything out there that fits the bill? Sounds like it could also be a fun DIY project...
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Postby scottg » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:49 pm

yes, Ultralight will have one ready soon - shoot them an email asking about it and tell them I sent you over

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