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quarkuud
05-20-2008, 03:22
On a liveaboard, I ended up insta-buddied with two pretty serious photographers. I spent a dive or two mostly practicing skills (one can only look at a nudibranch for so long, and it was awfully cold to be sitting around) and then found a different group. Are there people here who are not photographers who dive with photographers? How do you work it?

huvrr
05-20-2008, 09:05
you might as well buy a camera

wgt
05-20-2008, 10:30
On a liveaboard, I ended up insta-buddied with two pretty serious photographers. I spent a dive or two mostly practicing skills (one can only look at a nudibranch for so long, and it was awfully cold to be sitting around) and then found a different group. Are there people here who are not photographers who dive with photographers? How do you work it?

At the outset, I am struck by the forcible pairing a serious photographer with a non-photographer. First, serious photographers are often sufficiently engrossed in their task as to direct relatively little attention towards their buddy. If they are shooting macros, they often attend to a tiny area and would rather not be burdened with keeping a watchful eye elsewhere. If they are shooting wider angles, they may even be irritated by divers who are visible in the scenes but not striking dramatic poses. Thus, photographers are often inherently more inclined towards more of a solo approach, even when paired with a buddy of whatever variety.

From your perspective, you have already articulated that your need for aquatic stimulation may not be fulfilled by persistently observing the object of the photographers undivided attention. Therefore, the first alternative is clear: You should politely attempt to convey your buddy-needs to the dive director (and the prospective buddy-photographer if required). Do not be afraid to say something. As a photographer myself, I would feel badly if my underwater habits were interfering with your pleasure. I would want you to tell me that another arrangement would be preferable. If the photographer does give you an unkind reaction, then they are a jerk that you wouldn't want as a buddy, with or without the camera.

If you are still not comfortable with taking that action and you are truly stuck, then how do you make the most of it?! The truth is that you can actually make the situation very enjoyable for both of you by becoming the hunter. Vigorously look in the cracks and keep an eye on the open water, actively seeking targets that will please the photographer. In so doing, you will be amazed that the greater number and variety of things that you will find to enjoy for however long you wish to enjoy them, and the photographer will probably be quite grateful. This is what I do on those rare occasions in which I am not carrying a camera.

NucMed Man
05-20-2008, 10:47
Take the 'fully charged' batteries out of their camera and replace with weak ones. They will get in a few shots before they go dead (the batteries not the photog) and just be a regular diver that is carrying extra weight! :smiley20:

abcitydiver
05-21-2008, 02:56
hmmm....while traveling in a pack of 7, and waiting for my SO to get certified, I ended up being buddied with a friend/photographer. Now I admit that my boyancy skills had plenty of time to perfect but i will NEVER willingly pair up with one again. Not only did i feel relatively ignored by my ""very experienced" buddy when i was a baby tadpole....but as a new diver i had enough trouble trying to not suck air..well forget that, i burned through tanks just hovering and waiting, and often having to back track to where he was poking under a rock..always the deepest rock on the dive. Nope, I love my pal Len, but I wont be buddying with him anytime soon.

Zenagirl
05-21-2008, 07:36
My husband is an UW photographer and I act as his spotter for creatures. However, I'm lucky that he's not a "serious" photographer and doesn't have the huge strobe arms and spend 2 hours getting "the perfect shot", so our pairing works very well. I like to go slow anyway, he brings back some great memories of what we've seen, and we're both happy.

DevilDiver
05-21-2008, 08:41
On a liveaboard, I ended up insta-buddied with two pretty serious photographers. I spent a dive or two mostly practicing skills (one can only look at a nudibranch for so long, and it was awfully cold to be sitting around) and then found a different group. Are there people here who are not photographers who dive with photographers? How do you work it?

This depends on what you personally want out of the dive and should be discussed topside before. Some folks are happy to drop in and swim from point A to point B, others like to relax and go with the flow while photographers tend to be a little more focused on their interest.

Depending on what type of photography a potential insta-buddy is "shooting" for your style of diving might not be compatible for the dive.

Some photographers are just looking to get a few snapshots to show their friends while others are inclined to stay in on place the entire dive. I am sure any potential insta-buddies do not want to get in the way of another divers enjoying their experience and if this discussion takes place beforehand like it should any disappointments can be avoided by voicing wants and expectations.

"If the buddy does not fit then you do not commit." :smiley36:

Geoff_T
05-21-2008, 08:50
[quote=DevilDiver;175604Depending on what type of photography a potential insta-buddy is "shooting" for your style of diving might not be compatible for the dive." :smiley36:[/quote]

This is true I have never personally understood the need to take pictures of fish while under water people yes reefs and wrecks yes but fish no. Then again my perspective is a bit different than many peoples.

gthomas
05-21-2008, 09:35
The photographer in are group always get left a little behind. We try not to leave him because we sure like the pictures he takes, ok him too.

rawalker
05-21-2008, 13:38
I wouldn't call myself a serious photographer but have had some advance training topside.I do enjoy shooting UW images and have attempted to use similar techniques to my UW photography. I tend not to stop for subject as much as try to catch content on the move. Shooting this way you must be more predictive of your next shot but it also allows me to stay with my buddy. Yes there is always a few shot to stop at and try a second shot but I try and limit those. Since I'm using a digital camera and not film I have no guilt over shots that don't come out well. I've also made the decision that my UW camera gear would be kept compact. I've limited the strobe arms to 12" flex arms and use a compact camera. Since not ever shot requires or is best suited for strobe work I also have keep and appropriate filter on a lanyard. Since the size of my outfit is more manageable I don't have problems staying with my buddy who I tend to let take the lead and enjoy their dive as much as I enjoy mine.
I would have to agree that if you see a diver with a DSLR and monster strobe arms it may be cause for alarm. I'd have to say that rig would be inappropriate in mixed company and would be better suited when a buddy with similar interests was available. I'm not one to stop another from pursuing their interests but not at the expense of others. If no other buddy is available I'd say it's time for the camera housing to come away from the tray and let the shutterbug practice using the camera with filters and natural light and keep a realistic pace with the buddy. This to me would be an appropriate compromise for the situation.

CompuDude
05-21-2008, 14:12
Advice for ALL insta-buddies: Talk to your buddy, and find out what their wants and expectations are for the dive.

If they want to do nothing but shoot photos in a small area, and that doesn't jibe with what YOU want out of the dive, then you are not a good fit for buddies, and should try to seek a different insta-buddy. This is the same whether they are photographers or spearfishers, or new divers, or experienced divers.

If you're not a good fit but have no other options, a compromise is needed, or else no one is going to be both safe and happy. Again, this is something that should be worked out BEFORE getting in the water.

cowgirldiver
05-21-2008, 21:09
I was paired with a photog on my first big dive trip. She was also my insta-roomie-luckily, we bonded. I did get irritated waiting for her to get in (you know get the camera stuff-hand to the crew-get in-get the camera) but only when the water was really, really choppy. I could have solved this by waiting closer to when she got in. And I too spent quite a bit of time working on my buoyancy skills (part of which I hope my new BC magically corrects). Sometimes I would swim (or drift) ahead a little and then practice on my way back. Sometimes she would wander off looking for a good shot if I wasn't quite paying enough attention to where she was. I'm sure she was somewhat irritated having been paired with a fairly new diver who was the first to run out of air a couple of times (these times though one of the instructors would go up with me and his buddy would stay with her). We managed not to irritate the heck out of each other. The one thing that really got me (and this wasn't my buddy) was when a photog would spend what seemed like hours taking a picture of something (like an eel) that you wanted to see too but just finally gave up cause they were totally blocking it!!!!! In the end it worked out, cause she knew where to look for the good stuff and always made sure I saw it!!!

coral cowgirl
05-21-2008, 22:38
I'm a "spotter" for my photog buddy too....works out good....and we usually trade off for a little bit each dive so I can get some shots of him too.

elijahb
05-22-2008, 05:51
I think all photographers should solo dive so that they aren't a liability to there buddy.

DevilDiver
05-22-2008, 06:44
I think all photographers should solo dive so that they aren't a liability to there buddy.

That is a very bold statement.........

scubasamurai
05-22-2008, 10:23
i ended up with an instant buddy who was a photo geek. nice guy and bascially he became a solo diver only on the reefs. nothing deeper than 20ft. on the deep dives we stuck together for the obvious reasons, but it did work out. but you should check with you buddy and on the live a board i was on. everybody was everybody's buddy. i mean you just hook up with a someone or one of the divemasters thats what i did. and usually the photo geeks formed their own little group and took their time. what live a board did you do???

Zyxistal
05-23-2008, 13:34
If they are shooting wider angles, they may even be irritated by divers who are visible in the scenes but not striking dramatic poses.


There ya go, just stay around and strike some dramatic poses for them.

CompuDude
05-23-2008, 15:01
I think all photographers should solo dive so that they aren't a liability to there buddy.

That is a very bold statement.........

No kidding. Especially coming from a teenager with less than 25 dives.

cummings66
05-23-2008, 16:19
I think taking photo's in some areas means the buddy chosen should be compatible. I'd be willing to bet that two photographers would have issues on what they should spend their time on as well.

Geoff_T
05-23-2008, 17:48
I think all photographers should solo dive so that they aren't a liability to there buddy.

That is a very bold statement.........

No kidding. Especially coming from a teenager with less than 25 dives.


I agree completely. The best way to do this it to iron out with your buddy what you want to cover ahead of time include time limits for each objective if need be. Photographers especially less experienced photographers are not always the best at respecting those limits be it time depth etc and sometimes somebody needs to tell them hey times up.

One of the biggest killers of professional photographers on land is carelessness. Not looking both ways before crossing traffic not noticing the riot boiling over as the tear gas is fired off. These are real issues and though they are not present per say under water there are other issues to be aware of. A spotter/buddy is necessary if you want to stay safe, remember the video where the shark took a taste of the photographer’s tank. I would much rather lose my shot than be injured or killed. Now I am not saying there was anything that could be done with the friendly shark per say but he did not even know there was a shark till after the fact. I speak from experience when I say it is very easy to be too focused on the 1-inch square space of the viewfinder to know what is happening right next to you. This is my argument for photographers having buddies, sorry for the rant but the topic is near and dear.

bversteegh
05-24-2008, 00:38
I have switched primarily to liveaboard diving the last few years, and typically go on pre-planned charters with other photographers (friends from some other online forums). To be honest, I would describe our diving style as "group diving". We stay in proximity to each other, and usually the dive guide sets the pace for the group.

As we are in general experienced divers with similar expectations - it works, and I feel comfortable and safe with the process (and the dive guides are very good at keeping contact with stragglers). But it is not a diving style that is appropriate for inexperienced divers (photographers or not).

In a perfect world, I would have a longterm buddy that likes to spot and/or take pictures that dives at a pace consistent with macro photography (ie very deliberate) - not in that situation at the moment.

But if the situation arose where I was buddied with an inexperienced non-photographer (and had agreed to be the buddy) - I would leave the camera on the boat. I fully recognize that while I am concentrating on taking a picture - I am a lousy buddy. Which is why I plan my trips with groups of photographers.

DivingCRNA
05-24-2008, 06:56
I usually hate to dive with photographers. Especially the ones that bump you out of the way so they cam get their shot. I was sitting and watching a cleaning station once a a fat photog shoved me out of the way then tried to follow me around.

I showed her. I went through a swim through she was too fat to fit through!

RoyN
05-25-2008, 00:24
I'm a photographer. :D

I usually don't do well with buddies as all get annoyed when I just stay in one spot or just moving from here to there rather then go explore.

quarkuud
05-31-2008, 02:35
Thanks, everyone for your thoughts. I found this thread interesting and I think helpful.

We talked a bit at the surface. My regular buddy is a photog and it's never been an issue so I wasn't too concerned. My buddy sets up, shoots, and points out the cool things to me rather than taking five minutes to set up the shot, taking three different shots, then trading off so his buddy can do the same thing.

There were all sorts of issues with this group, anyway. I was on a different Nitrox mix with a shallower MOD. The rock they were poking around on was below my MOD, so I was floating a couple of meters up. I tried to move them to a shallower rock, but with no luck. One of them ended up incurring a deco obligation and also got on the boat with about 5 bar in his tank.

This particular liveaboard tends to try to assign buddies based on who's diving Nitrox. Considering I was generally cold-limited on most of the dives, though, I found an air-breathing buddy and was happy.

Rockhound76
06-02-2008, 07:37
Tough call. The worst buddy for a UW photographer is another photographer. They will, invariably, end up solo.

Insta-buddies are next. They don't know what to do, and get bored.

An experienced spotter/model is great. First of all, even if you are not the photog, once you learn to PAY ATTENTION to the reef, you discover more critters, more neat features than a dozen "Loyt Britches" divers (you know, the ones who are always kicking off at 100rpm, darting all over the reef like they're chasing bad guys.)

I love UW photography. I'm not very good, but I enjoy it. My 15yr. old is my buddy, so I pay attention more than most photographers (being a good daddy-buddy is important), but he has also learned to adapt by working as my spotter and occasionally as a subject.

I know his position at all times (upper shoulder, outside of any structure/reef, within 4'). He has told me that, while he gets bored if we do the same dive site 6 times, he doesn't get bored on most dives. I also hand the camera off to him a couple of times each dive to let him shoot and to let me just enjoy the dive.

Until my son started diving, BEFORE THE DIVE, I would always ask the capn' or DM if I could go solo if only insta-buddy diving was available. If I knew of another EXPERIENCED photographer that on the trip, we would sometimes come to an informal agreement to "meet up on the line" at the end of the dive to keep from causing problems with exiting alone (a big no-no for a lot of dive boat operators). I had a couple of regular solo-not-solo buddies like this for gulf trips over the years.

Not popular or recommended practice, but one I used for over 20 years.

haven
06-02-2008, 19:09
I'm a photographer. :D

I usually don't do well with buddies as all get annoyed when I just stay in one spot or just moving from here to there rather then go explore.

I'm a photographer and getting interested in Scuba - I didn't even realize this could be an issue lol.

david_57
06-02-2008, 20:40
Take the Solo course and you will not have to worry about it

Geoff_T
06-02-2008, 22:17
I'm a photographer and getting interested in Scuba - I didn't even realize this could be an issue lol.

I am also a photographer who dives. I think what many here have noted is that a lot of amateur UW photographers tend to move verrrrrrry slowly when setting up shots. You see this a lot of times above water too. Depending on what type of work you do (I am a photojournalist) You have to learn to move very fast in the professional world and I would never think of spending 10 - 20 minutes on a single fish if I was only working with 1 strobe and no bounces or other higher lighting apparatus. That has actually happened to me this was the same buddy who on the next dive blew off our agreed max depth and time to go chase a school of fish by the time I bounced down to 100’ to retrieve him and virtually drag him back up the deco obligation had already been incurred. We both ended up going OOA on that dive and still did not completely fulfill the safety stop.

The moral of the story is a lot of beginning photographers tend to get over engrossed in their subject forgetting about safety issues around them. Again this also happens above the water, in my field these include Linemen and fast moving cars, and beer bottles in the dive world they can include a buddy who is having trouble, air consumption and depth/time. I personally would also prefer to not shoot with such a photog as I find them to be unsafe both above and below the water. However as I have already stated with the right person it can also be an enjoyable experience.

CompuDude
06-04-2008, 16:43
I'm a photographer and getting interested in Scuba - I didn't even realize this could be an issue lol.

I am also a photographer who dives. I think what many here have noted is that a lot of amateur UW photographers tend to move verrrrrrry slowly when setting up shots. You see this a lot of times above water too. Depending on what type of work you do (I am a photojournalist) You have to learn to move very fast in the professional world and I would never think of spending 10 - 20 minutes on a single fish if I was only working with 1 strobe and no bounces or other higher lighting apparatus. That has actually happened to me this was the same buddy who on the next dive blew off our agreed max depth and time to go chase a school of fish by the time I bounced down to 100’ to retrieve him and virtually drag him back up the deco obligation had already been incurred. We both ended up going OOA on that dive and still did not completely fulfill the safety stop.

The moral of the story is a lot of beginning photographers tend to get over engrossed in their subject forgetting about safety issues around them. Again this also happens above the water, in my field these include Linemen and fast moving cars, and beer bottles in the dive world they can include a buddy who is having trouble, air consumption and depth/time. I personally would also prefer to not shoot with such a photog as I find them to be unsafe both above and below the water. However as I have already stated with the right person it can also be an enjoyable experience.

Lots of shots take time to get. Could be the photogs fault (not knowing their gear), could be cranky equipment, but usually it's uncooperative sealife, refusing to move to a good position. Other times it's s stakeout, waiting for a fish to pop into just the right spot to really make the shot. Or waiting for a nudibranch to s l o w l y move into the just the right spot, and hopefully turn a little the left, THERE! and get the shot you want.

I think it's not really fair to say just because someone is not as fast as a professional commercial photographer, they're somehow doing something "wrong" if it takes them a little longer to get their shots composed and finished.

ANY diver, whether or not they are holding a camera, needs to be able to properly keep tabs on their depth and bottom time. If they are too distracted when holding their camera, the camera needs to stay on the boat until they're more experienced and less likely to get themselves and their buddy into trouble.