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Hints for a Newbie who just bought an Underwater Camera


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I am leaving in 2 weeks and going to the Eastern Caribbean. I have only used a disposable underwater camera before. Can someone give me some pointers on how to get the best pictures? I bought the Olympus 850 sw. Thanks for you help.

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Use continuous-drive mode to take a series of shots. That way, you have a better chance of getting one without motion blur.

 

Underwater isn't daylight! I'm pretty sure the camera doesn't have an "underwater" white balance setting. Instead, it has several underwater scene modes that should correct for the immediate loss of red light that worsens quickly as you go deeper.

 

Avoid flash unless the water is super clear. Because it is so close to the lens, it will illuminate all of the little floating particles in the water and ruin the picture (called back-scatter). The pro divers use flashes that are mounted way off to the side or above the camera.

 

Don't forget to breathe...;)

 

 

Dave

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Sun behind you, dive down close, photoshop when you get home.

 

That camera is a great step up from disposables, and will come in handy for general near-water stuff too. But don't expect diver quality shots all the time (in my opinion). Without some serious strobe flashes - it is still hard to get those rich colors.

 

Now one great feature over the disposable, is memory. Take a bunch of shots. Carry extra cards or download fresh before a snorkle trip, etc. Then delete after you get home and try some basic photo enhancing tools or software. I would hesitate to delete while using the viewer on the camera. What may looked washed out, might be able to be saved in post production software.

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If snorkeling, you'll be bobbing around, the waves and current will be moving you, and the fish will be moving. Takes lots of shots so some of them will come out....just delete all the partial fish pictures, sand with no fish in them, etc.

 

Wear the strap around your hand or neck. Don't be afraid to change the strap to a longer one to make it easier to hang on to.

 

Buy one of those floats for the camera or be prepared to make a deep dive to get your camera off the sea bottom....it will slip out of your hands some time.

 

Get a snorkel that will close when a wave comes by - it is easier than swallowing sea water.

 

Don't forget to look all around you...sometimes the action is behind you.

 

Don't get too close to the coral - it hurts!

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Avoid flash unless the water is super clear. Because it is so close to the lens, it will illuminate all of the little floating particles in the water and ruin the picture (called back-scatter). The pro divers use flashes that are mounted way off to the side or above the camera.

Dave

 

Not a great picture, but this is an example of what Dave was talking about - back-scatter.

 

tahiti_2007_5_044.jpg

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* Get down there as much as possible

and then shoot across or up ..as far as angle goes.

 

Shooting down looks a bit like murky aerials.

You're not doing aerials.

 

 

 

* Use foreground detail up close for interesting shots

with the widest possible angle setting on the lens

which should be focused fairly close(2-3 ft.)

 

 

 

* Get flash on a long coil cord which you can hand hold away from the camera by 3 ft. or so

..to angle its beam into the picture area

like some sort of artificial sun coming in at an angle 90 degrees from the axis of the lens.

 

 

 

* DON'T stir up the bottom, or you'll be taking pix of sediment in suspension

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I have the Epson 1030SW.

 

A reminder when you are done in the saltwater: turn the camera on to open the lens cover and rinse WELL with fresh water. Saltwater spots are a bear to remove from a lens after dried!

 

Set your camera for underwater-wide and turn OFF the flash. as mentioned above try to get a parallel position for your shot. Usually requies some diving to get into a good position. Also, the surface waves will not be bouncing you around as much.

 

Sample shot taken with my 1030SW:

 

coki2.jpg

Bring extra batteries and memory cards. take LOTS of shots. You will be surprised how many will turn out poorly because of camera movement, even though YOU may THINK you are still. The underwater world can play tricks on you!



 

One more IMPORTANT tip: Surface on occasion to see WHERE you are! when in Gran Turk, I got so involved with what was under water that I sort of lost track of where I was...........................I saw some strange "pillars" in the water. When I looked up, I saw that I was almost to the ship! :eek: those strange "pillars" were part of the pier. It was a long swim back to shore, too. :o

 

coki3.jpg

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* Use foreground detail up close for interesting shots

with the widest possible angle setting on the lens

which should be focused fairly close(2-3 ft.)

 

This is what you can do when you get down there.... just don't get TOO CLOSE!!! :eek:

 

Taken with our Olympus 720SW (an ancient camera now) in Tahiti.

 

You're getting a lot of great advice! I wish I has been reading these threads before we went on our cruise.

 

tahiti_2007_5_036.jpg

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Another tip via WebSailor's pic - when taking pictures of little baby sharks like say the six footer in his pic - watch out for what might be making the 25' shadow right next to it...! :0

 

LOL, it is soooooo tempting to photoshop a few fins onto the shadow. :D

 

Had that been big mama shark, you probably would have seen an example of someone running on top of water!

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