- March 31st, 2012
- in Yachting
From the Underwater Lens
The following is an excerpt from the book, How to Take Stunning Underwater Photos Using Inexpensive Point and Shoot Cameras, by Scott Fratcher.
Stop the Action
A camera can capture a moment where incredible displays can be witnessed. In the photo above an octopus is in the midst of a color change. Note his tentacles are still blue next to surrounding blue coral while his head has changed color to match the sandy background.
In a nutshell, our goal in underwater photography is to present the unseen image.
Watch your subject and try to take a photo the moment they change direction, or action. A predator turning to strike, or a fish on his turn of retreat, or a lobster in full swim mode all have the potential to stop the action for an amazing photo.
TIP: Set up the camera to sport mode for short shutter speeds.
Look for octopus from noon to three when they are found working the reefs and rocks in search of food. Keep an eye for the pumping action of the breathing tube to identify a camouflaged octopus sitting in the rocks.
Learning to Use Macro
Many amazing underwater photos are taken in the extreme close up. This setting on the camera is called macro. The standard digital camera lens will focus to about a half meter. To focus closer, to say 100mm, switch the camera to macro mode, and to focus to 10mm use super macro mode.
TIP: Learn to change this mode without looking at the camera. For example, my Olympus Stylus Tough needs the action button pushed three times, then right once. By knowing this sequence, I’m able to quickly change camera modes so I can take the progressive close up photos.
Close-up photos reveal detail snorkelers would never normally see even if they were diving on the spot themselves. Through photography one can instantly see how a remora attaches itself to a whale. The close up of the Christmas tree worm reveals not only an interesting formation but the mechanics of breathing and catching food.
Study Your Subject
Reef fish are creatures of habit that live in food chains and quickly recognize a predator. Many swim up and down a set area of the reef grazing and protecting territory. Grouper will sit on the bottom without moving till they think they have been discovered then they start to fidget. Octopus sit still, and change color to mimic rocks. By studying habits we can position ourselves for the perfect photo.
TIP: In the photo above a puffer swam into the coral, bit and retreated to chew. By timing the advance and retreat I was able to look through the viewfinder, set the zoom and catch the fish with his lips retracted, and his teeth exposed in the act of biting making a much more interesting photo.