Techniques & Tips

Shooting Video in Black Water Diving

Pyrosomes are free-floating colonial tunicates

Pelagic black water diving is not for the novice underwater videographer. Without visual references, routine tasks, even for an experienced diver, must be constantly on the conscious mind. Add a camera to the mix and the task loading easily becomes too much. However, with a little preparation, you can set yourself up to capture some amazing video on a world-class dive.

Nudibranch Macro: Going Beyond the ID Photo

Cyerce sp. Any of the sacoglosid slugs pose a challenge to photograph due to transparency and the manner in which they move. In “herky-jerky, stop-start” movements, the cyerce lunges forward then stops, flopping its cerata over its facial features. Just as your camera focuses, it repeats the movement again. Photo by Mike Bartick.

Nudibranchs are a worldwide favorite for macro photographers, often leading divers on a “wild slug hunt” across the globe. Once these little gems capture your attention, it is very hard to break out of their magic spell. A gateway critter, if there ever was one, the nudibranch combines the beauty of our ocean and natural history in a photogenic and scientific symphony like no other marine animal.

Science of Lighting

High key versus low key exposure

Light is the most important thing for all photographers. It is easy to get excited about a critter and start firing away without much consideration for lighting. However, it is the little extra things that you juggle beyond pointing your camera and clicking the shutter that makes your style unique.

Selecting Images

Encounters (left)—an unprocessed RAW image directly from the camera. As part of a larger concept or idea, this image remains on the hard disk.

The more photos we shoot, the more we also have to sift through the numerous images, and the more challenging it becomes to pick out a selection that represents a specific location or subject matter well. Which ones to keep and process and which ones to bin is the question. Rico Besserdich gives you some pointers.

GoPro Do’s and Don’ts

The GoPro has changed the underwater video game forever. This handy camera seems easy to use but a quick browse of YouTube underwater videos tells the real story: Ninety percent of such GoPro videos are wobbly, blue, poorly-framed and badly-lit video footage. Fortunately, with a few simple steps, a diver can greatly improve the quality of their GoPro images.

Choosing Mirrorless Cameras for UW Photography

While the number of camera manufacturers with horses in the mirrorless race has now reached critical mass with the recent entrance of Canon and its EOS-M, and the earlier entrance of Nikon with the J1 and V1 cameras, the number of models available has grown even more. However, for underwater photography the choices narrow somewhat and the early entrants in the mirrorless race, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony, are very much in the lead.