In early June, I went to Grand Cayman for scuba dive. The weather wasn’t perfect. In fact, we had pretty rough thunder storm on the third day, but it didn’t stop some of us from diving. I did two boat dives every morning with a group. We were on a “Sting Ray” boat. Many did afternoon dives and night dives. I did one shore dive in one of the afternoons to see the mermaid statue near the Sunset House and a wreck.
The trip was to participate in the Underwater Cameras “Demo Days” organized by Ikelite. I’ve taken some underwater photos using a small camera before, but never had much of an interests in polishing up the camera skills or anything like that. So, I thought it would be just like any other scuba dive trip for me, but boy I got bitten by a underwater photography bug!
From my very very limited experiences with underwater cameras, here’s a few important things in getting good photos: (it’s a note to myself for future reference…)
Camera: If you want to take nice photos underwater, don’t use those throw-away cameras. Really, you don’t need to buy new camera, if you already have a camera that you are happy with for regular use. Find a good underwater housing for your camera, and use it. Manufactures such as Ikelite produce housings for many popular cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus.
Lighting: This is really what made the differences in my photos from Grand Cayman trip. In general, bigger and more the better to get the colorful shots. The strobe built in the camera is just not strong enough for underwater. Deeper you go underwater, you get less and less natural light, so you’ll need a bigger strobe. I also learned that adjusting how the strobe hits the objects made big difference, too…
Be patience: Which means that you need to take time to adjust the lighting, focus on the object to get a good shot. I know, sometimes, you may not have time to do that before fish or something swim away, but being patience usually pays off at the end.
Go closer… closer… and closer: Getting closer to the objects usually helps in getting more lighting to it, and to get more detail of the object, especially when you are underwater. I found it very challenging even when the water is pretty calm, it’s very hard to stay still to hold a camera.
I’ll post more photos from this scuba dives, with trip journal later.