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Lion’s Den

IMG_1829 copy 2I had an epiphany the other day. I’ve been diving for a year. I learned underwater photography without a lesson and on my own. I watched my dive master and used common sense. I tried flash, ‘underwater setting’, custom white balance, used two different cameras (not by choice), and edited in Photoshop and Lightroom. So I just realized how far I’ve come… or how little I knew a year ago. Even so I got some pretty good shots. But I can now tell how much better I’ve become. I realize how not so good I was last year. Right away I was excited with some of my shots. Later Julia and I had a big breakthrough with editing in Photoshop. The subjects (fish) remain fascinating and different every time I dive.

In this instance we have been diving the same area of the reef enough for me to become familiar with certain areas to find fish. There is a concrete cave made from fallen slabs.

IMG_1831 a copy 2One day you find a stonefish, another day there was a spiky pufferfish. But recently it was a lionfish convention. There were six… no… seven. It was almost too much for my camera. And we were training a new diver. There were four of us and I had the only camera. It was very poor visibility as in there was a lot of backscatter – looks like dust and is mostly fish poop. White balance in poor light is also a problem. I couldn’t back away without getting too much backscatter. You never see this many lionfish together. Maybe they were planning to mate up. Down on the left is another type with spiky fins. Whenever you find them they are rarely swimming toward you. And my dive mates are always swimming away before too long. So it means you move on because you ‘never leave your wingman.’

IMG_1829

An example of the picture out of the camera, it needs a bit of processing.

I had three dives this day and passed this spot on the last two dives. With several chances, the light was best on the last pass. Otherwise I would have had some less dramatic shots.IMG_1839 copy 2

I don’t rely on flash. But anyone seriously needing to control the light is using a couple of external strobes to get a dark background. While I like ambient light, I can see the advantage to an isolating background and more consistent color balance. IMG_1841 copy 2

2 responses

  1. I have seen a lot of your fish over the last year, and I agree you have improved quite a bit. I have not been commenting, but have admired how far you have come. I really enjoy taking photos of fish, but have never been beyond snorkeling. My cousin is a dive instructor, so maybe one day I will get the nerve.

    October 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm

  2. Thanks Donna. It’s been a process. Like many things it is only in retrospect that I realize how much better I’ve gotten. Ego?! But by all means take the opportunity to dive. It’s like flying in many ways. You float in three dimensions. It’s quite liberating. To be honest the learning curve is not nearly as intimidating as I had always assumed. Snorkeling was always good for me. But once you dive, it’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

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