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Click Here for how to instructions to build this underwater camera tray for GoPro cameras.

 

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SHIPWRECK PHOTOGRAPHY
 By Jozef Koppelman
 & Dan Berg
 
 Taking photographs under water has fascinated divers for years. With a little luck and a lot of skill a diver can bring home the beauty of the undersea world for all to enjoy. Wreck photography is just a little more demanding then and a lot more rewarding than fish or reef photos. Picture a diver cruising down a darkened corridor, only small rays of ambient light penetrate through corroded holes in the ceiling above him. On the silt covered floor he finds a china dish with a lobster sitting next to it. He snaps three pictures before catching the lobster and picking up the dish. These photographs will be outstanding, that is if they come out. Some of the problems involved in photography in and around shipwrecks is that the diver has to function all of his wreck diving equipment, and camera gear while not kicking up any sediment. He also has to contend with the darkness.
 
 One recommendation is to not start to early in your dive career. You should be able to hover effortlessly and check your air, time, depth and anchor location as second nature.  If you are new to wreck diving you should also enjoy a period of exploration and familiarization. Once you commit to the task of making under water images you are really taking on an under water job, but the satisfaction of producing a fine picture quickly diminishes in memory all the challenges that preceded its making. The dollars spent, equipment failure, bad visibility, throwaway rolls, the one that got away. Before diving into a wreck with a camera in hand stream line yourself even more then normal. You may want to leave your tools and bug bag on the boat, its hard to do it all. In regards to air supply for deep wrecks, while many feel the twin tank independent regulator rig is the ultimate in safety. Photographers however often opt for doubles with a single regulator and pony. Given the complexity of underwater photography this set up eliminates the need to switch air sources while under water.
 
 Assuming that those wishing to photograph shipwrecks will find proper instruction for basic underwater photography. We will then start with some standard equipment and techniques. Camera systems vary in design, function and price. One of the most popular is the nikonos body. For most photography on shipwrecks the diver will choose a wide angle lenses, either a 15mm or the more economical 20mm. This is not saying that macro photos are never taken on shipwrecks. Many worth while subjects are found living on wrecks but for the most part taking macro photographs on a reef is exactly the same as taking macro photos on a wreck. We want a wide angle lenses so we can capture as much wreckage as possible while being as close to the subject as possible. A powerful, wide angle strobe is also essential. One with a modeling light is also very useful. Wreck photography is usually a battle against the lack of light. To deal with the darkness inside a wreck, and to avoid fumbling around with a light in one hand and a camera in the other many serious photographs mount a dive light to their camera system. Others wear a head or helmet mounted dive light or mount a small modeling light on the strobe.  Dealing with the always present silt and sediment inside shipwrecks can be accomplished with speed. The wreck photographer doesn't have the luxury of spending five minutes setting up for the shot or making camera adjustment to bracket each shot. He has to shoot the picture before any silt gets disturbed. If he is to slow the suspended particles will ruin his photo opportunity. Since time is of the essence wreck divers have learned to bracket their photographs by  taking a series of shoots as they approach a subject. This is done with out changing any camera or strobe settings. Another method is to have the strobe hand held off camera. This lets you bracket the exposure by moving the strobe closer or further from the subject while positioning the strobe to reduce backscatter, the incidental illumination of suspended particals in the water. Film must be tailored to your purposes and to the anticipated conditions. For casual viewing color negative, print film, is very exposure tolerant. If however you pursue photography seriously transparency, slide, film should be your preference, especially if you hope to have your work published. Tropical sunny weather, and shallow water allow for a medium speed film. Koda chrome, Fuji or Ectka chrome 100 will do fine. The latter two films employ E-6 processing which is speedily available at local labs and even on many live aboard boats. E-6 processing also allows for pushing or increasing of film speed in processing, at a small sacrifice to grain and contrast. On deeper wrecks or in less then ideal conditions faster films likeK200, E400 or Fugi 400 can be employed. Even with recent technological improvements ultra fast films are more grainy and are more effective in depicting atmospheric shots. The photographer should take light reading and then set your aperture accordingly.
 
 Using a model will add visual interest to many wreck photographs. The model can be used in two ways; as a secondary element both for scale and to add visual interest. Secondly the diver can be brought closer to become the more dominate feature in the image. Try not to have the model over pose but instead relay on their curiosity in exploring the wreck. One trick is to have your model use a light. It adds immeasurably tothe interest and can also highlight a particular object. Another recommended technique is to fire when the model is exhaling. The finished image will be much more dynamic.
 
 You will note the absence of compositional guidelines. This is because it is our belief that everyone has an individual vision. Once diving and photographic techniques have been honed your own artistic view will be your most valuable asset in expressing your own visions of the sea.
 
 
 Shipwrecks offer the underwater photographer an endless amount of photo opportunities. Whether your photographing a porthole, fish, lobster or any of the other majestic photo opportunities shipwrecks offer. Shipwreck divers will almost certainly never run out of things to photograph.
     
       
The SeaLife ReefMaster RC underwater photo set includes a SeaLife ReefMaster RC camera and an array of accessories developed by divers for divers. The camera offers automatic operations and point-and-shoot ease while handling depths up to 164 feet. The large shutter lever requires only light pressure, even at 164 feet. There's no need to focus--the Reefmaster takes pictures from 4 feet to infinity. Other features include a large sports-style viewfinder and a built-in flash. The SeaLife ReefMaster RC can also take shots on land. It uses standard 35mm film and AA batteries.

The airtight, unbreakable travel accessory case provided will keep your camera and accessories clean, dry, and well organized. The kit also includes a SeaLife macro 3x close-up lens/underwater filter; a SeaLife care kit; SeaLife Moisture Muncher antifog desiccant; and a SeaLife color booklet, Great Pictures Made Easy.

Product Description:
Uses 35mm Film / Tested to depths up to 164 feet / Airtight Travel Case / 3x Macro Close-Up Lens Includes care kit with anti-fog dessicant SeaLife Photo Set's airtight travel case with foam insert protects your camera and accessories during rugged sea voyages Built-in Flash Uses 2 AA Batteries (not included) Great for snorkeling and scuba diving Camera measures 5.5 High x 5.5 Wide x 3.5 Deep and Weighs about 19 ounces
 

 

   
Book Description
Designed to help the underwater photographer make a smooth transition to digital imaging, this book discusses how to digitally refine, correct, and enhance underwater photographs. It details the equipment necessary for digital imaging for underwater photography, and includes a discussion on the essentials of scanning. There is extensive information on Adobe Photoshop, and how it can be used to edit underwater pictures. This book also investigates the ethics of photo manipulation and discusses the future of underwater photography.

About the Author
Jack and Sue Drafahl are a husband and wife team of professional undersea journalists, lecturers and multimedia producers. They have written over 500 articles for publications including Skin Diver, Petersen's Photographic, Sport Diver, Diver, Rangefinder, and many more. Jack and Sue are Platinum Pro 5000 divers, and Sue is an inaugural member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame. They enjoy teaching seminars worldwide on all aspects of photography.
   
     
       
Underwater Video Jim Church's unsurpassed ability to present complicated topics in a clear and easy-to-digest manner is thoroughly evident in this superbly organized guide. Even beginners will get professional results fast by following Church's step-by-step instructions. More advanced users will find a wealth of valuable information that will improve not only their shooting techniques, but also their storyboarding, editing and production skills.
Some of the Topics Covered
Surviving the equipment jungle
Secrets of professional shooting techniques
Adding interest & variety
Directional continuity
Putting models at ease
Lighting
Shooting close-up, medium & long shots
Planning the story line
Editing
Adding slides & graphics
How to shoot your dive trip
Topside video techniques
Guides to shooting Grand Cayman, Truk & liveaboards
About the Author
Jim Church is a pioneer of modern underwater photography. Many of today's professionals got started with a camera in one hand, and Jim's articles and books in the other. Jim's writings and photographs have appeared hundreds of times during the past 30 years in photography, travel and dive magazines, and newspapers. His photographs have been used in advertisements for companies such as Kodak and Nikon, and appeared in numerous books including the Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau. He is the principal author of five previous books on underwater photography and the author of Jim Church's Essential Guide to Underwater Video. In 1985 Jim was the co-recipient of the NOGI Award for the Arts for his contribution to underwater photography. Today, he teaches underwater photography and leads photographic expeditions worldwide.
Reviews
"...practical, thorough and conveniently structured in all parts. I consider it the finest guide to underwater video available today."
-Stan Waterman, Emmy Award-winning underwater filmmaker
"...the most complete book on underwater video production I've seen. If you're serious about producing high quality video images and organizing these images into professional-looking videos, then this book is your first important step."
-Howard Hall
"For anyone-beginner to advanced-who wants to put polish on their work, this book is a must read. Once again Jim Church has made a major contribution to the underwater photographic community"
-Marty Snyderman
   
     
Digital Video (DV) camcorders have caused an explosive growth in the field of Desktop Video (video you can make all by yourself on your own desktop or laptop computer). This is especially true in Underwater Videography where the proliferation of camcorders housings and accessories has outstripped the information available on how to use them. Most neophytes are stuck with skimpy instruction manuals that come with their housing and only give the bare essentials of preparing the housing but nothing on what to do with it. The purpose of this book is to help you: 1. Research and purchase a DV camcorder for underwater use 2. Research and purchase a Housing for your camcorder 3. Properly prepare and maintain your underwater video system 4. Correctly use the controls for best results 5. Use the proper techniques for filming underwater in all conditions 6. Edit your footage into an entertaining finished product
 
   
     
     
     
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
 
   
 
       

Additional links

10 Bar Underwater housings

Aquapac Direct

Aquatica

Backscatter uw Video & Photo

Bonica Precision dive watches and innovative products

Epoque camera housings, strobes, lights etc

Goldline USA comprehensive line of 35mm and digital cameras

Halcyon Mfg  u/w lighting for tech divers film and video

 
 
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