Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Digital Underwater Photography

On Sunday The Boy and I had an assignment at Loch Creran (near Oban) to do the open water part of our PADI Digital Underwater Photography course with Aquatron.  We already completed the classroom and swimming pool sessions a few weeks ago but our first attempt at the open water part (at A-frames on Loch Long) was scuppered by visibility so bad that we could hardly see each other under the surface, never mind anything we were supposed to be photographing.

We had two dives.  During the first dive the objective was to photograph our dive buddy.  We had to take a head/torso shot then a full body shot.  This turned out to be a bit tricky as, when I looked at the screen on the back of the camera to line up my shot, all I could see was my own pink mask reflected in the camera housing.  I had to cheat a bit and look over the top of the camera as well to make sure I was pointing the camera the right way. Sh! Don't tell.

Here is my head shot of The Boy:



Full body shot:



During dive #2 the objective was to take photos of the aquatic life using the PADI SEA method (Shoot, Examine, Adjust) to get the best photos.  It went like this:

Shoot (a common starfish):


Examine: with my eyesight I could not see at all that this was blurry, :o).  However, I was able to see enough to decide that the composition and angle could be better so I adjusted:


Better!  If nothing else, at least this one is in focus.  I really need to get prescription lenses for my mask.


Here are another couple of adjusted photos.  I won't make you suffer the pre-SEA ones.

Some sea squirts (don't know what kind - I might even be wrong about them being sea squirts):


And here we have a Sea Toad aka Spider Crab that kept running away from me:


I also took a photo of a Sea Lemon but I won't inflict that one on you.  I took it by the light of the instructor's torch.  If he hadn't spotted it I definitely wouldn't have seen it.  It looked like a big white slug in the silt to me.  I really should get those prescription lenses for my mask shouldn't I?  When The Boy tells me about all the things he's seen when we go diving I'm convinced we were in different lochs as I never see half of the things he does.

The Boy and I were sharing a camera so while he was shooting, Ally, our instructor, was giving me tips and trying to improve my buoyancy.  Good buoyancy is crucial when doing underwater photography as you need to be able to hover above the bottom so that you don't damage any of the aquatic life.  I'm getting there I think. My buoyancy during the second dive was definitely better than the first.

And, to round the day off, after two dives my drysuit had lived up to it's name and had actually kept me dry.  That is a record.  It's the first time diving in Scotland that my suit hasn't flooded. So I'd like to thank the amazing Eric at Aquatron for taking my neck seal in enough to keep me dry without choking me. :D :D :D  Even the came out and gave us a bit of heat while we were on the surface.