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Thread: Strobes

  1. #1
    TadPole
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    Strobes

    Is a strobe necessary for decent pictures underwater. I'm wanting to dabble a bit in UW photograph, but I'm on a bit of a budget right now. I'm looking at getting a camera and wondering if I should get the strobe for it. Or is the flash on the camera adequate?

  2. #2
    Grouper
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    The flash on the camera is pretty adequate for most situations.. I took all of these (some my brother took) without a strobe. I'm planning on picking up a strobe next year but you can get by fine without one especially if you're just a hobbyist..

  3. #3
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    Be sure to use the flash diffuser in front of your camera's flash.

    If you have good photo editing software (PhotoShop. PaintShop Pro, etc), then you can make some adjustments.

    For instance, by applying some histogram correction, I was able to remove a lot of the blue in ccarter's photo to create the next. It is brightly lit from the surface, so the bubbles are now clear. Also increased the contrast. The diver's colors are more representative of what the photographer saw. In this photo, a strobe would not have helped, because the subject is too far from the lens. For close-ups, the strobe will help.
    Last edited by Vercingetorix; 07-07-2008 at 07:54.
    rick

  4. #4
    Shark Founding Member
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    If you plan on taking any photos of anything close, a strobe is almost mandatory. Shots just took on a reef at 40 feet are colorless (except blue) and lack much definition on the strobe-less shots. Look at my pics of the turle and angelfish. That was only becuase of the strobe. Obviously my composition sucks, but that's becuase I lack patience in UW photography.

    FD

  5. #5
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    I was looking at the image in the attachment (slightly modified version of your photo) I'd like to dive the cenotes next year, so I'm interested in your gear.

    Is that an 18# wing? I assume the plate is AL, not SS. I have both plates.

    Is the wetsuit a 3mil? What were the water temps?

    Finally, would you recommend your dive operator? If so (or not) who was it? thanks
    Last edited by Vercingetorix; 07-07-2008 at 07:54.
    rick

  6. #6
    Guppy
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    Not to be negative or anything, but with 0-25 dives handling a camera and external strobe might be too task loading. Before adding additional attention diversions, make sure your bouyancy skills are spot on. UW photography has a way of making you forget a lot of the basics like checking depth, air and where your buddy is. It creates tunnel vision. Carrying a camera and especially one with an external strobe can affect air consumption. There is a much bigger drag in the water than you would think. I see a lot of photographers that forget a lot of the basics - barging into others, banging the reef or grabbing hold to get a shot.
    Not to say you would be one of these. Just some things to think about.

    There are also filters you can get which at shallower depths (20-40ft) will help restore the correct colors without an external strobe. Also some cameras will allow manual white balancing which when set at depth corrects colors.

  7. #7
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vercingetorix View Post
    Be sure to use the flash diffuser in front of your camera's flash.

    If you have good photo editing software (PhotoShop. PaintShop Pro, etc), then you can make some adjustments.

    For instance, by applying some histogram correction, I was able to remove a lot of the blue in ccarter's photo to create the next. It is brightly lit from the surface, so the bubbles are now clear. Also increased the contrast. The diver's colors are more representative of what the photographer saw. In this photo, a strobe would not have helped, because the subject is too far from the lens. For close-ups, the strobe will help.
    Hey cool.. I never know what I'm doing with photo editing software but that photo looks a lot better!

  8. #8
    Grouper
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    It depends on a couple of things. If you are shallow (no more than about 30 to 40 feet or so) then a simple red filter will probably work fine for you with plenty of natural light available. If you are going deeper (or simply when there is less natural light, then some form of strobe is a must. The strobe on your camera is very limited and will only provide light for a short distance (2 or 3 feet). The other problem with most built in strobes is that they shoot straight ahead and are very close to the lens. This set-up can produce a lot of backscatter.

    A larger strobe will enable you to get a little further away from you subject and still provide enough light for a good exposure. Most also come with arms that allow to angle the strobe in a way to reduce the amount of backscatter.

  9. #9
    Shark Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vercingetorix View Post
    I was looking at the image in the attachment (slightly modified version of your photo) I'd like to dive the cenotes next year, so I'm interested in your gear.

    Is that an 18# wing? I assume the plate is AL, not SS. I have both plates.

    Is the wetsuit a 3mil? What were the water temps?

    Finally, would you recommend your dive operator? If so (or not) who was it? thanks
    Nope, that is an Oxyxheq Mach V, 30# wing on a SS plate and a 3 mil wetsuit. I was actually starting to get cold by end. I would recommend a 5mil and deffinately a hood to stay confortable. Water temp was 76.

    I was very happy with my dive guide. Her name is Candy Lopez, and she works with DiveXplorers. Their website isn't up right now, but I can give you the phone number tomorrow. They are out of Playa Del Carmen I think. They have a boat for ocean dives, and also dive many other cenotes besides Chikin-Ha.

    FD

    BTW- aren't photos great? After finally seeing myself I can see the changes I need to make.

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