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Get Color to Dive For!

Cathy Church literally wrote the book(s) on underwater photography. Enjoy her techniques here and join her around the globe. Marty Snyderman’s articles have graced dive magazines for decades. Learn here and join him in the Philippines.

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Getting Eye-Popping Color Out Of Colorful Subjects

Getting Eye-Popping Color Out Of Colorful Subjects

There is no doubt that vivid colors command our attention.

Color alone won’t make a photograph exceptional. But vivid colors will draw the eyes of viewers and create interest even in ordinary subjects. And that is a message that should not be overlooked.

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Silhouettes Are Easy If You Follow A Few Guidelines

Silhouettes Are Easy If You Follow A Few Guidelines

Silhouettes can be very powerful images. And compared to many other types of underwater photographs, they are relatively easy to create. However, to create a winning silhouette you will want to pay heed to a handful of basic principles. It’s those principles that I am going to share in this piece.

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What To Do When The Moment Is Now

What To Do When The Moment Is Now

In an earlier blog I shared some thoughts about photographing fish. In that discussion I mentioned a number of categories that I use to help me get started creating pictures when I encounter a fish. I also stated that when I do not see a fish doing something such as courting, nesting, cleaning or anything else that I might classify as “behaviorally interesting”, I usually try to create an esthetically pleasing shot of that fish. And I might try to show the fish within the context of its environment. If you haven’t checked out that blog, you might want to take a look at what I had to say.

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An Introduction To Photographing Fish

An Introduction To Photographing Fish

If you are like many underwater photographers I know, one factor that made you want to grab a camera system and try your hand at underwater photography was the allure of photographing fish. Occurring in what seems like endless shapes, colors, sizes, and patterns, there is no doubt that fish are wonderful subjects.

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Find Some Separation

Find Some Separation

Can you remember the first time you saw a shark, manta ray, dolphin, turtle, spotted eagle ray, or any other animal you might think of as Mr. Big? Maybe you have not enjoyed an experience like that yet. But keep diving for a while, and you will. 

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Fill A Pleasing Percentage Of Your Frame

Fill A Pleasing Percentage Of Your Frame

One of the pitfalls for underwater photographers, especially newer shooters, is failing to have their subject fill a pleasing percentage of their photographic frame. All too often, the result is a fantastic subject that is too small in an image. In short, the best way to describe a picture like that is “an opportunity lost”.

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Lookin' Sharp!

Lookin' Sharp!

Have you noticed that your underwater images aren’t always as sharp as what you are used to seeing topside?  That’s probably because the water scatters the light bouncing off your subject.

 

If you don’t want to loose any sharpness due to light scattering, you’ll need to capture your photos in a vacuum.  Probably not very practical, and doubtful that your subjects would like it in any case.  In air or water, there will always be some redirection of photons by the molecules in between your camera and your subject.  The effect is more noticeable in water than air, due to the greater density of the water.  The Pros always say, “Get close,” and minimizing the light scattering is another reason to do so.  

 

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Why Are My Pictures So Blue Or Green?

Why Are My Pictures So Blue Or Green?

As Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message."

While I'm not so sure he was talking about underwater photography, the principle is similar.  The medium in which a signal travels influences the information received.  This not only happens underwater, but topside is well.  The sky tends to be blue (where you dive...not here in Rochester, NY, where gray is the dominant color) because of the differing interaction between atmospheric molecules and wavelengths of light.  

Underwater, a similar effect occurs, and is more dramatic.  Sunlight entering the water from above becomes filtered by the water, and the reduction of red light is greater than that of blue and green.  So the deeper you go, the percentage of red in the available light becomes less and less.  Additionally, the distance between you and what you are looking at provides an additional filtration, removing even more of the red light.  

Actually, your camera (without flash) does a pretty good job of capturing the scene.  The blue/green cast you see in your pictures is a good representation of the available light that bounced off the subject and was captured by the sensor.  But your brain does a really nice job of automatically balancing those colors into a much more pleasing color balance.  "Eyes, this can't be right.  I'll fix it for you.  You're welcome, Brain."  It auto white balances for you, without any conscious involvement.  So what your camera records is not what you saw.

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