With everyone shooting digital and huge memory cards it is quite easy these days to take 100+ photographs in a dive, especially in Lembeh.
The key to getting a good photo that you are still happy with by the time you go home is to take your time and keep using the image review button. Here at NAD we have started to make a recommendation of take 5 photos, nice and slow, then pass the subject on to someone else if they are waiting. Whilst they take their 5 shots you can take a look at what you shot and find the problems and try to correct this for when the subject gets passed back to you. This was brought about by a bunch of serious photographers agreeing (our stand in blogger, Bent, was one of them) to be more civil to each other in this way, and they actually found that they ended up with better photos than had they just blasted away for several minutes.
In the old days of film we were always taught to bracket, as it may be weeks before you get to see your developed pictures – so take several and pick the good one later on. So you would bracket your exposure, and sometimes your strobe position. Writing down the frame number and technique on a slate, then transferring it to a book back on the boat between dives. Fast-forward to getting your slides back a week later you would check each slide, hoping that your numbering came through and find the best one and check what you did in the book, and try to remember it. Very tedious isn’t it?
With these digital cameras to do all that, instantly, all you have to do is press the ‘play’ button to look at it straight after you shot it. So my question is, why are some people too lazy to do that?!
There really isn’t much excuse for saying at dinner, “my shots were all bad, I need to go back to that divesite again” – unless you had malfunctioning equipment or a malfunctioning buddy kicking up silt in all your photos. Going back to a divesite because it was orgasmically good, is of course a completely normal excuse!
I will admit of course I have done the above myself. Getting caught in the moment and not checking the image review and then coming back with a memory card of junk photos where a strobe was out of battery, iso was set to 6400, etc etc
There is a big difference between shots not being good enough, and shots being just plain bad; if they are plain bad, you need help, probably a course. Either a quick freebie refresher from me to make sure your camera is working properly (free means a quick 20 minute run through 😉 Not me looking at every out of focus picture you took), or maybe a paid course with me where I come diving with you and watch what you are doing.
If you are reading this and nodding your head repeatedly at all the mistakes laid out above, you might want to do a workshop with someone like Mike Veitch (he has a workshop here next year). People like Mike (I used to work with Mike on these workshop weeks in the past as well) do these intensive weeks of tuition where that’s all it is about, learning – no other distractions. Now I have a resort and a baby so my time is more limited. So if you really want to learn a lot I totally recommend coming to the Underwater Tribe workshop in April. Mike and Luca will just be teaching, they wont dive with their cameras, their focus will be on you.
I will be blogging about some techniques and tips over the next few weeks leading up to our Photo Competition that might be of help to some of you. They might also be useful for the experienced photographers out there as well, as a good photographer is always learning – I find myself learning to shoot all over again after a few years of being ‘dry.’ My first post will be about Bracketing, and will be coming soon…