Photo Tips

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic camera use
  3. Wide angle
  4. Snoots
  5. Workshop

Tips for Basic Camera Use

This page summarises basic tips in the use of a camera whilst diving.

Pre-dive - Camera Preparation

  1. Fully charge the battery and format media card using the camera format option.
  2. Camera settings:
    • ISO 100 or 200
    • White Balance - Cloudy (introduces warmth) or Auto
    • Resolution - set to highest available
    • Exposure adjustment - set to –1/3 or -2/3 stop (slightly underexposed).
  3. Take a sample picture to check the camera setup is OK.

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Pre-dive - Housing Preparation

IMPORTANT: Camera preparation should be completed in your room or somewhere dry and away from sand and moisture.

  1. Take the front port off the housing and remove the O-Ring on the port using a soft plastic such as credit card being careful not to nick the O-Ring. Run the ring through a lint free cloth to remove old grease and then run through fingers to check for sand or grit (this is particularly important in the sandy environments).
  2. Apply a small amount of grease to thumb and first two fingers and pull the O-Ring through a couple of times. The ring should be slightly shiny. Do not use too much grease, just enough to lightly grease the O-ring.
  3. Replace the port O-Ring and push together and lock the port of applicable (some ports do not have a locking mechanism). Visually check that the O-ring is correctly seated.
  4. Insert the camera into the housing.
  5. Remove the O-Ring on the back of the housing and perform the greasing as described above. Insert the O-Ring into the housing and close. Check round the edges that the O-Ring is correctly seated, particularly on the corners.
  6. A silica gel pack can be inserted to counter condensation. However ensure the edges are not caught when you shut the back of the housing.
  7. Take a test picture to check all buttons are aligned.
  8. Dunk in tank/basin for a couple of seconds, inspect, and repeat again for 10 seconds.
  9. Keep the housing out of the sun to prevent condensation build up. When travelling on the boat I place a fin over it or place the camera under a bench.
  10. Once the camera and housing is set, I tend to leave it housed for the day unless making lens changes.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT LEAVE THE CAMERA AND HOUSING UNATTENDED IN THE RINSE TANK. MANY FLOODS OCCUR IN RINSE TANKS THROUGH LEAKING DUE TO REDUCED PRESSURE OR KNOCKS AS OTHER CAMERAS ARE PLACED OR REMOVED FROM THE TANK

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Entry

  1. Where entry requires a giant stride, ideally get someone to pass down; if not possible I keep the camera above my head; if roll back from rib I pull camera to my chest so my body protects it on impact.
  2. As you descend for the first few metres check the camera housing for leaks, andremove any bubbles that may have formed on the lens port.

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Taking Pictures – Wide Angle

  1. For wide angle/general shots I shoot in either Aperture priority or Manual mode. In Aperture priority, I start with a shutter speed of about 1/60 to 1/100 of a second. You can get use it slower e.g. 1/30 or 1/15 sec etc. but you just need to hold the camera steady in these situations, often braced against a rock or part of the wreck.
  2. Use of custom white balance can improve colour underwater. With wide angle the internal strobe is not powerful enough and generally I switch the strobe off.
  3. Generally get close to your subject and shoot at a slight upward angle.
  4. When taking pictures the process is Shot-Review-Adjust, the beauty of digital photography. Remember to turn off the screen between shots to preserve battery life.

More detail on shooting wide angle can be found on the Wide angle tip page.

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Taking Pictures – Macro

  1. For macro I typically use Manual settings.
  2. Get in close to the subject and zoom in if required to fill the frame. Generally try and point up to isolate the subject; ideally look for an angle so that the background is the sea and get close.
  3. Squeeze off a few shots. Remember to half press for focus to lock and then squeeze further to take the picture.
  4. When taking pictures the process is Shot-Review-Adjust, the beauty of digital photography. Remember to turn off the screen between shots to preserve battery life.

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Getting Out

  1. It is best to hand camera up before climbing out. I trashed my first compact by climbing out with the camera dangling from a lanyard.

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Post-dive

  1. Rinse the housing in fresh water as soon as possible to remove large salt deposits.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT LEAVE THE CAMERA AND HOUSING UNATTENDED IN THE RINSE TANK. MANY FLOODS OCCUR IN RINSE TANKS THROUGH LEAKING DUE TO REDUCED PRESSURE OR KNOCKS AS OTHER CAMERAS ARE PLACED OR REMOVED FROM THE TANK.

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Getting Home

  1. Dunk the housing (WITHOUT the camera) in the sink with warm water and leave for ½ hour to loosen salt deposits. I put a weight on the housing it to hold it down.
  2. Press all buttons and rotate all knobs to remove salt deposits.
  3. Dry off housing and leave to dry completely at room temperature before storing.
  4. The housing should be stored without O-Rings in place. I store thr O-Rings in a plastic bag.
  5. Back up any new images to your home storage devices.

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