Getting the Down Low
On shooting underwater (or anywhere for that matter) in very little available light
I started this blog as a basic stand alone, but as these things often do the subject started to expand and I wanted to share more with you about this type of shooting of which i’m very fond, and the word count shot up.
So I figured it’d be better to make this a three parter kicking it off with a few pictures that I’ve shot in low light that I’ve used the techniques outlined in the final part in greater detail.
Part 1 in a day or two will cover the terminologies used, and the exposure triangle.
I'm going to illustrate this blog with pictures that I've shot in caverns in the Mexican Cenotes in the main. Which are quite challenging to shoot in for many reasons least of all the difficult lighting situations that you will encounter.
Why take pictures in low light ?
Taking pictures underwater exposes us to stunning experiences that if they were only to exist in our minds eye would be a tremendous shame.
And understandably we would like to share these experiences with others.
So as part of your learning curve in underwater photography you need to know how far you can push your camera and it’s settings, and also what you can do to help the situation, and move it from being something that seems impossible to something that you can share and show off to others.
At the best quality that is available to you, and not limited by your own lack of understanding.
We often find ourselves in dramatic light shows inside wrecks and caverns, and unless you know how to handle the camera controls well, you're going to struggle to record these experiences.
Developing your skills
Shooting at the edges of what is possible with your camera setup allows you to know what your boundaries are limited by.
Often I encounter people that have been poorly advised about what can and can’t be achieved.
Or they’ve spent too long pixel peeping and slavishly believing what people say on the popular review sites.
I’ve sold pictures, and used shots in advertisements blown up to metres across that if I’d believed the wizards of the internet, shouldn’t have been possible.
I see a side effect of this commonly in beginners to photography particularly about shooting at high ISO’s, they’ve heard or read a review that talks about excessive noise at high ISO’s of this camera or that, and rather than push the boundaries themselves they’ve just accepted that that is that.
If you take something from this blog series I would like it to be, finding out for yourself just what is and isn’t possible.
By testing things out yourself.
I mean it’s not like it does any actual harm shooting at shutter speeds, that some would suggest too slow to handhold a camera.
You never know you might just pull it off.
Or that the sky will fall in if you push the ISO on your camera up to very high levels, give it a try and see what happens, and more importantly see how you can use the knowledge gained to push your own envelope as far as it will go alongside your camera.
This time it’s ok to turn to the Dark Side
Shooting in really low levels of illumination is very liberating and will actually shed some light on the fundamentals of all photography as you’ll gain a better understanding of things like the exposure triangle, noise control, and why things like sensor size really matters.
So let’s bring it on and get some of the definitions learnt in Part 1 coming very soon.
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