i think that underwater photography is one of the most challenging areas in photography. It requires specialized equipments, techniques and skills to be successful in taking good pictures. Animals such as fish and marine mammals are the most common subjects, but photographers also pursue shipwrecks, submerged cave systems, underwater landscapes , and portraits of fellow divers. A lot of obstacles are faced by underwater photographers, the most common being the loss of color and contrast when submerged to a significant depth. Underwater photographers solve this problem by combining two techniques. The first is to get the camera as close to the photographic subject as possible, minimizing the horizontal loss of color. This is best achieved by using wide-angle lenses, which allow very close focus, or macro lenses, where the subject is often only inches away from the camera. The second technique is the use of flash to restore any color lost vertically through the water column. The photographer needs to be a successful and excellent scuba diver since this photography is only successful when the photographer is a good swimmer and is sufficiently skilled.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 3:35:57 AM
Anju Malhotra Reward Points : 61200 Member Since : Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Underwater photography is the process of taking photographs while under water. It is usually done while scuba diving, but can be done while snorkeling or swimming. Underwater imaging is considered an especially challenging area of photography, since it requires very specialized equipment and techniques to be successful. Despite these challenges, it offers the possibility of many exciting and rare photographic opportunities. Animals such as fish and marine mammals are the most common subjects, but photographers also pursue shipwrecks, submerged cave systems, underwater landscapes , and portraits of fellow divers. The primary obstacle faced by underwater photographers is the extreme loss of color and contrast when submerged to any significant depth. The longer wavelengths of sunlight such as red or orange are absorbed quickly by the surrounding water, so even to the naked eye everything appears blue-green in color. The loss of color not only increases vertically through the water column, but also horizontally, so subjects further away from the camera will also appear colorless and indistinct. This effect is true even in apparently clear water, such as that found around tropical coral reefs. Underwater photographers solve this problem by combining two techniques. The first is to get the camera as close to the photographic subject as possible, minimizing the horizontal loss of color. This is best achieved by using wide-angle lenses, which allow very close focus, or macro lenses, where the subject is often only inches away from the camera. In practical terms, serious underwater photographers consider any more than about 3 ft/1 m of water between camera and subject to be unacceptable. The second technique is the use of flash to restore any color lost vertically through the water column. Fill-flash, used effectively, will paint in any missing colors by providing full-spectrum visible light to the overall exposure. Since underwater photography is often performed while scuba diving, it is important that the diver-photographer be sufficiently skilled so that it remains a reasonably safe activity. Good scuba technique also has an impact on the quality of images, since marine life is less likely to be scared away by a calm diver, and the environment is less likely to be damaged or disturbed. There is the possibility of encountering poor conditions, such as heavy currents, tidal flow, or poor visibility. Generally, underwater photographers try to avoid these situations whenever possible.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 9:56:27 PM
Prerna Gupta Reward Points : 17400 Member Since : Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Underwater photographers have several basic options for equipment: A compact digital point and shoot camera, a compact digital camera with full exposure controls, and an SLR single lens reflex camera . Unlike earlier amphibious or waterproof camera such as the Nikonos, which is designed specifically for use underwater, these cameras now require a housing to keep them water proof. Nikon discontinued the Nikonos series in 2001 and it is a 35mm film system, so it is somewhat obsolete, but some photographers still choose this approach. Sea and Sea continues to manufacture an amphibious range finder camera that utilizes 35mm film, the Motor Marine III. Housings are specific to the camera and are made of several things from inexpensive plastic to high-priced aluminum cases. Housings allow many options, since the user can choose a housing specific to their everyday land camera, as well as utilize any lens in their collection. In practice, underwater photographers generally use either wide-angle lenses or macro lenses, both of which allow close focus, thereby eliminating the need to have excessive water between the camera and subject. Digital media can hold many more shots than standard photographic film which rarely holds more than 36 frames . This is one of the primary advantages of using digital camera underwater, since it is impossible to change photographic film underwater. The instant feedback provides faster learning and improved creativity, which is why virtually all underwater photographers now use digital cameras. Watertight housing Canon WP-DC600 for IXUS v2 All underwater housings are outfitted with controls knobs that access the camera inside, giving the photographer use of most of its normal functions. These housings may also have connectors to attach external flash units. Some basic housings allow the use of the flash on the camera, but the on-board flash may not be sufficiently powerful and are improperly placed for underwater applications. More advanced housings either redirect the on-board strobe to fire a slave strobe via a fiber optic cable, or physically prevent the use of the on-board strobe. Housings are made waterproof through a system of silicone o-rings at all the crucial joints. There are optical issues with using cameras inside a watertight housing. Because of refraction, the image coming through the glass port will be distorted, in particular when using wide-angle lenses. The solution is to use a dome-shaped or fish-eye port, which corrects this distortion. Most manufacturers make these dome ports for their housings, often designing them to be used with specific lenses to maximize their effectiveness. The Nikonos series allowed the use of water contact optics: ie, lenses designed to be used whilst submerged, without the ability to focus correctly when used in air. There is also a problem with some digital cameras which do not have sufficiently wide lenses built into the camera. To solve this, there are housings made with supplementary optics in addition to the dome port, making the apparent angle of view wider. Some housings also allow for the use of wet-coupled lenses, which thread on to the exterior of the lens port and increase the field of view. These wet-coupled lenses may be added or removed underwater, allowing for both macro and wide angle photography on the same dive. With macro lenses, the distortion caused by refraction is not an issue, so normally a simple flat glass port is used. In fact, refraction increases the magnification of a macro lens, so this is considered a benefit to the photographer, who may be trying to capture very small subjects.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:01:02 PM
Jamal Aslam Reward Points : 34700 Member Since : Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The use of a flash or strobe is often regarded as the most difficult aspect of underwater photography. Some common misconceptions exist about the proper use of flash underwater, especially as it relates to wide-angle photography. Generally, the flash should be used to supplement the overall exposure and restore lost color, not as the primary light source. In situations such as the interior of caves or shipwrecks, wide-angle images can be 100% strobe light, but such situations are fairly rare. Usually, the photographer tries to create an aesthetic balance between the available sunlight and the strobe. Deep, dark or low visibility environments can make this balance more difficult, but the concept remains the same. Many modern cameras have simplified this process through various automatic exposure modes and the use of through-the-lens TTL metering. The increasing use of digital cameras has reduced the learning curve of underwater flash significantly, since the user can instantly review photos and make adjustments. Color is absorbed as it travels through water, so that the deeper you are, the less reds, oranges and yellow colors remain. The strobe replaces that color. It also helps to provide shadow and texture, and is a valuable tool for creativity.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:02:03 PM
Chetan Juneja Reward Points : 55000 Member Since : Monday, April 28, 2008
An added complication in underwater photography is the phenomenon of backscatter, where the flash reflects off particles or plankton in the water. Even seemingly clear water contains enormous amounts of this particulate, even if it is not readily seen by the naked eye. The best technique for avoiding backscatter is positioning the strobe away from the axis of the camera lens. Ideally, this means the flash will not light up the water directly in front of the lens, but will still strike the subject. Various systems of jointed arms and attachments are used to make off-camera strobes easier to manipulate. Macro image of a Whitemouth Moray Eel using 100% flash for the exposure When using macro lenses, photographers are much more likely to use 100% strobe light for the exposure. The subject is normally very close to the lens, and the available sunlight is usually not sufficient. There have been some attempts to avoid the use of flash entirely, but these have mostly failed. In shallow water, the use of custom white-balance provides excellent color without the use of strobe. In theory one could use color filters to overcome the blue-green shift, but this can be problematic. The amount of shift would vary with depth and turbidity, and there would still be a significant loss of contrast. Many digital cameras have settings that will provide color correction, but this can cause other problems. For example, an image shifted toward the warm part of the spectrum can create background water which appears gray, purple or pink, and looks very unnatural. There have been some successful experiments using filters combined with the RAW image format function on some high-end digital cameras, allowing much more detailed manipulation in the digital darkroom. This approach will probably always be restricted to shallow to moderate depths, where the loss of color is less extreme. In spite of that, it can be very effective for large subjects such as shipwrecks which could not be lit effectively with any strobe. Natural light photography underwater can be beautiful when done properly with subjects such as upward silhouettes, light beams, and large subjects such as whales and dolphins. Although digital cameras have revolutionized many aspects of underwater imaging, it is unlikely that flash will ever be eliminated completely. From an aesthetic standpoint, the flash often adds pop and helps to highlight the subject. Ultimately the loss of color and contrast is a pervasive optical problem that cannot always be adjusted in software such as Photoshop.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:03:18 PM
Roop Chatterjee Reward Points : 21400 Member Since : Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Another format considered part of underwater photography is the over/under or split image it is a composition that includes roughly half above the surface and half underwater. The traditional technique was pioneered by the National Geographic photographer David Doubilet, who used it to capture scenes above and below the surface simultaneously. Split images are popular in recreational scuba magazines, often showing divers swimming beneath a boat, or shallow coral reefs with the shoreline seen in the background. Over/under shots do present some technical challenges beyond the scope of most underwater camera systems. Normally a wide-angle lens is used, similar to the way they are used in everyday underwater photography. However, the exposure value in the air part of the image is often quite different from the one underwater. There is also the problem of refraction in the underwater segment, and how it affects the overall focus in relation to the air segment. There are specialized split filters designed to compensate for both of these problems, as well as techniques for creating even exposure across the entire image. Some photographers will also rely on extremely wide or fisheye lenses, which have enough depth of field to overcome any differences in focus. Digital darkroom techniques can also be used to splice two images together, creating the appearance of an over/under shot.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:04:04 PM
Albert D souza Reward Points : 33200 Member Since : Sunday, February 24, 2008
Hi friends, I have heard about Underwater Videography, would love to know the technicalities..........
Underwater Videography is the branch of underwater photography concerned with capturing underwater moving images either as a recreational diving or commercial documentary or movie making activity. The primary difficulty in underwater camera usage is, of course, sealing the camera from water at high pressure, while maintaining the ability to operate it. The diving mask also inhibits the ability to view the camera image and to see the monitoring screen clearly through the camera housing. Previously the size of the video camera was also a limiting factor, necessitating large housings to enclose the separate camera and record deck. This results in a larger volume which creates extra buoyancy requiring a corresponding use of heavy weight to keep the housing underwater about 64 lbs. per cubic foot of displacement or 1 kilogram per litre in the ocean . Early video cameras also needed large batteries because of the high power consumption of the system. A final problem is the lower level of light underwater. Early cameras had problems with low light levels, were grainy, and did not see much color underwater without auxiliary lighting. Large unwieldy lighting systems were problematic to early underwater videography. And last, underwater objects viewed from an airspace, such as the eye inside a mask or the camera inside a housing, appear to be about 25% larger than they are. The photographer needs to move farther back to get the subject into the field of view. Unfortunately that puts more water between the lens and the subject resulting in less clarity and reduced color and light.
Today, the small size of fully automatic camcorders with large view screens and long-life rechargeable batteries has reduced the housing size and made underwater videography an easy, fun activity for the diver. Low-cost wide-angle lens add-ons are available for many cameras and some can even be fitted outside the camera housing for versatile use. This lets the photographer get closer and make the subject clearer and also with fewer focusing and depth of field problems. Today cameras are more sensitive to low light conditions and make automatic color balancing adjustments. Nevertheless, deeper water videography still needs auxiliary light sources to bring out colors filtered out of sunlight by the distance it has travelled through water. The longest wavelengths of light are lost first reds and yellows leaving only a greenish or blue cast in deep water. Even a hand light will help show off some of the magnificent colors of a coral reef or other marine life if used during recording.
Most modern underwater housing are pressure resistant to about one hundred feet, the practical safe depth of sport-diving. Typical construction is from molded polycarbonate plastic, or aluminium for more professional systems. They usually have quick release snaps, an o-ring seal, and through housings fittings for several camera controls. A few are generic in nature from several manufacturers such as Ikelite , and may be adaptable to several camera sizes. Most housings, however, are specific to the size and controls of a particular camera type and may be marketed by the camera manufacturer or an after-market company. Occasionally housings might be advertised as water housings rather than underwater housings. Water housings are not intended for deepwater use, but rather are splash housings for use around the pool, in rain, or to protect against falling overboard. At the most they are for very shallow activities - usually not more than about 1 or 2 metres / 3 to 6 feet in depth. One particular manufacturer offers a plastic bag type solution with a watertight seal, and a glass port front. The flexible bag allows some modest camera control, but suffers greatly when taken deeper since the bag compresses from the pressure and makes controls nearly impossible to operate. These are usually limited to snorkeling activities.
If you have a camera you like, locate a dedicated housing for it as soon as you can. Most models are produced in limited runs and both the camera and housing may cease to be manufactured in just a couple years. If purchasing a new system, it is wise to check the availability and cost of a good housing before buying the camera. Try to stick with the most popular models from Sony, JVC and others for the highest likelihood of finding a companion housing. See if it can accommodate a wide-angle adapter and a long-life battery on the camera. Polycarbonate sometimes called Lexan housings tend to be most compact, cheapest, and easiest to use - not to mention being less subject to condensation or fogging in the housing. They are quite sturdy, though somewhat more subject to scratching under hard use lenses are glass however for good optical qualities .
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:12:09 PM
Siddharth Ray Reward Points : 61200 Member Since : Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Most current digital still cameras are also capable of what is sometimes referred to as Internet Video . This is usually a variation of the MPEG video standard of digital imaging created as a streaming series of digital images, with some advanced compression techniques. Names you might recognize are Quicktime Video or Real Video, .WMV, or.AVI files. These file formats are usually limited in display screen resolution measured by pixel height by width and are not intended to be played on anything larger than a computer screen. Recording options are limited and quality is usually at the low end for example 640x480 screen size or even smaller . Capacity is often limited by the SD card or CompactFlash card in the camera. A dedicated video camera, on the other hand may also have a still frame or snapshot capability. This is a better choice if the first intent is to have high quality moving pictures and an occasional still picture. Camera capacity, based on videotapes, or even harddrive recording is usually at least 2 hours, and necessitates very little opening of the housing during the dive day. Check the Pixel quality 4 megapixel or above preferred on the video camera capability if this is of interest. For the best results, Hi-definition video cameras have recently arrived 1080i which, like high definition television screens, will provide the best of quality and image resolution. The trend today is toward replaceable memory cards for recording, or internal hard-drives built into the camera. This provides maximum versatility, high recording time options, and few mechanical breakdown possibilities, not to mention minimizing problems with condensation affecting the recording tape media of previous generations. The subsequent files may be easily transfered to a computer and edited with low-cost software solutions and a reasonably high performance computer and video card . The subsequent results may be transferred to a CD or DVD and more recently Blu-ray Disc for easy distribution or archiving.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:13:58 PM
Khan Anwar Reward Points : 800 Member Since : Sunday, March 15, 2009
UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY I THINKS A EXTRA ORDINARY WORK THAT GIVES SATISFACTIONS TO NOT ONLY A PROFESSIONAL WORKER BUT ALSO AATMANUBHUTI A UNDEFINED STAGE. I NEVER SEE A SEA OR RIVER BUT I FEEL THE BLUE COLOR S FANTASY. IT IS REALLY A HARD WORK WHEN SUN RAYS REFLECT ALL CREATURE IN DEEP WATER THEN IDENTIFICATION AND JUDGMENT IS MORE DIFFICULT.BUT IT IS A HUMAN SOCIAL WORK.THOSE TYPE PHOTOGRAPHER GIVES US ABNORMAL BUT REAL TIPS ABOUT UNDER WATER LIFE. COURAGE,PASSION AND DARENESS IS SOME EXTRA ABILITY TO HAVE THOSE TYPE PHOTOGRAPHER..THE BLUE WATER IS HOW COLORFUL THAT AN AMAZING STUFF TO ANYONE WHO LOVE NATURE AND ANOTHER WHOSE THEY WORKS FOR NATURE CONSERVETION.. UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY IS A GOD GIFTED AWARD TO A MAN.
Posted On : 4/15/2009 10:56:12 PM
Umesh Upadhayay Reward Points : 31200 Member Since : Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Hello friends.. thanks for such detail information.. However could anybody here suggest me a good institution in kolkata to learn underwater photography Thanks..
Posted On : 4/15/2009 11:13:59 PM
Raj Surin Reward Points : 600 Member Since : Friday, May 29, 2009
Posted By : Umesh Upadhayay Posted On : 4/15/2009 11:13:59 PM Go
Hello friends.. thanks for such detail information.. However could anybody here suggest me a good in..
I m not sure if there is any specific school to learn UW-photography in Kolkata- But the nearest and best place would be to go to the Andamans - Havelock Island and go thru the process of learning Scuba diving two-three days followed by an advanced course in underwater photography. Course conducted by Dive India at Havelock island. You might need to have your own underwater Camera equipment. Diving gear is included in the course package - would roughly cost you 18k for the first course and perhaps another 15k for the next. These courses are internationally recognised and you will also end up as a certified PADI diver. i ve gone thru the first stage .. Good Luck.
Posted On : 5/29/2009 5:26:14 AM
Priyam Reward Points : 500 Member Since : Tuesday, June 30, 2009
hello Yes, Havelock is a great place to learn diving. one person i know who is a fantastic u/water photographer, an ex diving instructor and a fabulous teacher is a guy called Umeed Mistry. Last i know is that he was working in Wandoor near Port Blair with an NGO called ANET andaman & nicobar environmental trust . He might be a great person to tell you more and share his knowledge.
Posted On : 6/30/2009 1:34:05 AM
Vishnu Raghav Reward Points : 100 Member Since : Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Hello Folks, I got into serious photography some 12 months ago and it is only getting more interesting. Some of my friends are going to Andamans for a trip and they were wondering where to buy underwater cases for normal DSLRs and point and shoots. Is it available in Bangalore? If not where do we look for them.. ?