Getting the most from your underwater camera
We feel it’s imperative that you take time for a pre-trip camera-gear check out. I suggest that you set up the cameras just as you would when you arrive at your destination. This means batteries in strobes, sync cords – the works. You might find that your strobe head has been damaged on the way home from its last trip, and you definitely do not want to find yourself halfway around the world with a strobe that won’t flash, or missing an “O” ring from the main port of your camera housing.
Don’t flood your camera. Make sure that things like cable ties or lanyards can’t get closed into your camera housing or your Nikonos, which would jeopardize their integrity. Even an eyelash can cause water to get inside your precious photographic gear. Before closing your housing, visually inspect it and gently run a clean toothbrush over the O-ring to ensure a watertight fit. When changing lenses or ports, always lightly grease your O-rings, and run that toothbrush in the O-ring grove to make sure no foreign objects are going to ruin your photography for the rest of your diving adventure.
If you have a rechargeable battery pack on your strobe, plug it in between dives. Doing so won’t harm the battery pack, and will save you from needless frustration on your next dive.
Here are some pros and cons of flash photography: Although we all know how dazzlingly the colors of some fantastic marine subject can be enhanced by a properly used strobe, sometimes-ambient light is a better choice. Backscatter can ruin that perfect whale shark or humpback shot, and – let’s face it – not all your subjects are going to stick around for repeated strobe flashes in their eyes. Sometimes a shark will permit multiple shots, whereas if a strobe were used, the shark would be spooked and gone after just one opportunity.
I like MDX-D3 underwater camera from Nikon , pictures are really great and it’s very comfortable to use, but it’s quite expensive.
Photography Tips for Scuba Divers
You may take great photos above water, but this may not necessarily translate to taking incredible underwater shots when diving. Here are some tips:
* To assure proper strobe alignment, always point the lens of the camera at your face and you will be surprised at what dramatic adjustments need to be made.
* In the make-up section of a good department store they sell little plastic Q-tips, but the ends are foam rubber which, unlike the cotton variety, they leave no dangerous fibers behind. Get some of these for cleaning o-ring grooves.
* When charging your strobe batteries, put a few clothespins on the strobe head to remind yourself to replace your fully charged batteries prior to your next dive.
* Always take back-up gear, such as an extra strobe, sync cord, and maybe even an extra camera body. That way, if something goes wrong, you’re still in business.
* Take a good tool box with little screw drivers, a wrench, pliers, O-ring grease, and extra O-rings of all sizes.
* Spend as much time underwater as possible, and shoot as many photos as possible, varying exposure and strobe position. I shoot four to six shots on a good subject. It’s a numbers game.
* Always slightly underexpose your shots for richer colors.
* Listen to and follow the dive guides. They know the dive sites much better than you do and can point out the best subjects.
* Sea and Sea has a great little cordless TTL slave strobe (YS30) and it’s fantastic. It allows the photographer to eliminate shadows without all the weight of a normal-sized strobe. This wonderful piece of equipment removes the need for T connectors and additional sync cords and all the maintenance and electrical problems that go with a second strobe. Buy one!
* Maintain your equipment meticulously after each dive. You can save many a flood or frozen sync cord if you spend just five to ten minutes during the film-change, cleaning and looking for droplets.