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Here are a couple of shots on my first dive with new system. Getting hooked on the camera thing because of the challenge .
I was close (shooting in macro mode) to this nudibranch and tried backing out so I wouldn't blast the shot with the strobes, but then had to zoom in to fill the frame. This of course made it a bit more challenging to stay on target with the surge where I was diving but I did notice the pics had better color. Being so close I tried angling the strobes down but could not manage to get them to light up the area. I also tried turning the strobe from auto to level 1. I am using a Nikon Coolpix S550 in an Ikelite housing with two VF35 Ikelite strobes.
Question: To get a little less light should I keep the diffuser on? I had it on for these pictures, but curious how they affect the lighting. Also, I turned the second strobe off to ease up on the lighting. Either way, I would appreciate any ideas you can offer.
I'm not familiar with the Nikon Coolpix S550, so I'm not sure what techniques work best with that rig. I've heard of the Ikelite AF35 strobe. Is there a new "VF35" strobe out?
With my Canon P&S, for nudi shots, I stay zoomed out on the widest setting and take the picture in macro mode. It can get too complicated to be zooming in and out under water. I never try to fill the full frame with the nudi. Instead, I just crop the photo in post-processing. This should simplify optimization of strobe angle positioning/strength since you are setting up for one given working distance. Try this and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
I'd recommend keeping the diffusers on the strobes to minimize the possibility of hot spots. You can try turning one strobe off...but I think you'll probably get more even lighting with both on. If less light is required, try dialing both of them down.
Last edited by Bubbletrubble; April 2nd, 2010 at 01:51 AM.
Thanks for the tips. You are correct, they are the AF not VF35. I like the idea of being a little further away from the subject and cropping to fill the frame and compose the picture a little. Have you found this makes your pictures a little grainy when enlarging them? I can manually set my ISO as low at 64 if that would help. My S550 is a 10 megapixel camera and I hope to enlarge some prints to about 11x14 or so. Ideally I'd like to shoot in macro mode but still gain enough detail when fully zooming in (via cropping) of subjects such as the nudi's.
Nudis can be really, really small. My buddies and I have found that with some "baby" nudis we have to take a picture of them just to make the ID!
I don't know what your post-processing skills are. Full frame 10MP shots can be blown up well beyond 11"x14". I recommend applying any sharpening or image manipulation filters to the photo at full size and then crop as the last step just prior to saving off the final printable version. In general, a 10MP shot of a "normal"-sized nudi after the cropping process will be sufficient to enlarge to about that size. The only way to know if it will work is to try it out.
Let me reiterate that you must shoot in "macro" mode in order to have a relatively close working distance to the subject. Shoot at the widest zoom setting. Optimize your strobes (position, power) for this fixed working distance. Crop in post-processing to have a tight shot of the nudi.
Another option would be to purchase a macro lens that plays nicely with the Ikelite housing lens port.
Good luck and let us know how everything works out...
All great info! Thank you for some ideas. I was using Macro mode & zoomed all the way out for these pics, guess i need to add a few more inches to my pics for the strobes to work effectively. Time for some trial & error now, but that's the fun part right...