Cap­ture the beauty of ma­rine life with some easy pho­tog­ra­phy tips

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Canon Mid­dle East, the leader in imag­ing prod­ucts and so­lu­tions, an­nounced their part­ner­ship with Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel ‘Shark Week’ exhibition at Dubai Aquar­ium & Un­der­wa­ter Zoo as the ‘Imag­ing Part­ner’ of the exhibition.

In its role as an imag­ing part­ner, Canon Mid­dle East has sup­ported Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel and Emaar En­ter­tain­ment, which man­ages Dubai Aquar­ium & Un­der­wa­ter Zoo, by pro­vid­ing them with EOS 5D Mark III and Le­gria mini X cam­eras. The highly pow­er­ful cam­eras have been used to shoot a doc­u­men­tary that Dis­cov­ery Con­sumer Prod­ucts and Dubai Aquar­ium & Un­der­wa­ter Zoo have pro­duced, high­light­ing shark con­ser­va­tion in the Arab world and the Shark Week exhibition project, ti­tled ‘Ara­bia’s Sharks - A Jour­ney of Dis­cov­ery’.

Jonathan Ali Khan from Wild Planet Pro­duc­tions and direc­tor of the doc­u­men­tary shares some key pho­tog­ra­phy tips on shoot­ing images un­der­wa­ter with ma­rine life, es­pe­cially with sharks:

1. The ad­van­tages of dig­i­tal:

Dig­i­tal is in­cred­i­bly ad­van­ta­geous. View­ing your re­sults straight­away un­der­wa­ter is es­sen­tial in getting to per­fect­ing your im­age, and you are no longer limited to 36-ex­po­sures like the old days of film on each dive. The abil­ity to the delete the bad frames means that the great­est lim­i­ta­tion is ei­ther when the bat­tery runs out; you fill your card; or your dive time ends.

2. Choos­ing the right sys­tem:

Choose a cam­era sys­tem ac­cord­ing to your skill lev­els and in­ten­tions for the fu­ture. Start how you in­tend to con­tinue for years to come with a sys­tem that al­lows you to up­grade as you grow your skill-set and in­ter­est lev­els.

If you de­cide on a com­pact solution, push your bud­get to in­clude the best you can afford, with lens adap­tors and diopters, strobes, etc. If you de­cide on a DSLR, choose a cam­era that suits you equally un­der and above wa­ter. The more ex­pe­ri­ence you have with your cam­era, the eas­ier it be­comes to plan your images.

3. Per­fect your skills:

Whilst es­sen­tial for ALL divers to per­fect your buoy­ancy and other div­ing skills, min­i­miz­ing your im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment it is more so for pho­tog­ra­phers and videog­ra­phers.

The use of aut­o­fo­cus, auto ex­po­sure con­trols, and the abil­ity to take a white bal­ance and change the ISO dur­ing the dive, all help to free up the pho­tog­ra­pher to fo­cus on find­ing the sub­ject, com­pos­ing and light­ing the shots, while be­ing care­ful not to dam­age the pre­cious aquatic life around you.

Be­come self-suf­fi­cient as you will need to con­duct solo-dives for best re­sults.

4. Learn about your choice of sub­ject:

Study up and get as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble about the an­i­mal or sub­ject you are about to shoot. Go on­line and re­search the sub­ject, read books and spend time ob­serv­ing the an­i­mal and its set­ting, try­ing to an­tic­i­pate mo­ments of be­hav­ior or action that best char­ac­ter­ize the sub­ject. Be pre­pared to spend hours and repet­i­tive dives in or­der to get a sin­gle shot!

5. Close To Your Sub­ject:

Be­ing alone in the wa­ter is the best way to let an­i­mals come close. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy. Less wa­ter be­tween the sub­ject and the cam­era means bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity, fewer sus­pended par­ti­cles, fewer mi­cro-bub­bles re­flect­ing the light and bet­ter sharp­ness.

In the right sit­u­a­tion, ma­rine crea­tures are of­ten cu­ri­ous rather than elu­sive. they will choose the di­rec­tion, the speed, the an­gle- — and most of the time they will be in the

back-light in or­der to take ad­van­tage of us­ing the nat­u­ral light to hide their body, which has evolved to blend in with the wa­ter.

6. Cap­tur­ing The Mo­ment:

Dur­ing shark dives, your mind needs to be ready and the fin­gers of your hands should act if they play­ing an in­stru­ment: me­ter­ing the back­ground wa­ter, getting the right ex­po­sure with f-stop cor­rec­tions, find­ing the best com­po­si­tion - ev­ery­thing should be­come al­most au­to­matic

If lucky, groups of sharks are more likely than sin­gle an­i­mals to stay around for a while, pro­vid­ing a num­ber of chances. After the first ap­proach, find the best set­ting and con­cen­trate on the com­po­si­tion to get a wider choice and keep shoot­ing.

7. Craft­ing the im­age:

In open wa­ter, de­pend­ing on depth, light pen­e­trates the wa­ter in a way that fil­ters out the color spec­trum. Good cam­era mod­els pro­vide ex­cel­lent white-bal­ance fea­tures so that you can con­trol the color bal­ance of your im­age at all times. Use this func­tion con­stantly as it is the first real means (other than ex­po­sure and fo­cus), to ma­nip­u­late the true col­ors of the scene and en­able you to craft your edges.

8. Build your story:

Take time to build a story around the images, in­clud­ing use of top-side ‘mo­ments’ that help to com­plete your col­lec­tion.

9. Be Bold but Sen­si­ble:

Re­main calm around sharks and learn to de­tect their body lan­guage. Most sharks ex­hibit swim­ming pat­terns that demon­strate their state of mind; dor­sal fins down and arched back pro­vides am­ple warn­ing as they are let­ting you know you should move away.

Fail­ing to rec­og­nize th­ese signs may result in un­pleas­ant con­se­quences - and you will only have your­self to blame if things go wrong!

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