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Buoyancy advice for starting uw photography

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by ksporry, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Ardy

    Ardy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Australia - Blue Mountains
    DSR-3: I understand what you are saying but what you are saying is an exaggeration to try to win a point. When did it become a no no to kneel in the sand?

    Frankly I am a bit pissed with guys who act as 'green' water police and think they have the answer to everything. The sand is 99% eaten and crapped out by other animals. Sure it has crustaceans but they are few and far between and most large rays and some sharks lay on the sand. For a guy with 15 dives up I see no issue with this. If he had 100 dives up I could agree.

    Cut the guy some slack. I have seen hundreds of your followers floating 3m above the sand and taking photo's of fish which we all know will be rubbish but I am sure you would applaud their crap [not]. It will only take him a few months to get his buoyancy OK with a lot more practice he could be good. Most divers I observe cannot control a neutral balance whilst swimming, let alone hover above a reef.
  2. DSR-3

    DSR-3 Regular of the Pub

    I did not exaggerate one bit.

    In my 1 (of many available) example; When there are critters, reef, and 3 divers within 2 meters of your fins, and you lay/kneel there stirring up the "sand". When did that become OK? 15 dives qualifies everyone to determine what's on the bottom and is OK to step on? No way. Since you've been to Lembeh, I would think you saw more than fish poop, a few crustaceans, and a couple rays. If not, you got burned!
    "green police"? not me. "followers (100's!)" funny? Short of protecting myself from flailing fins and trying first to be mindful, I let everyone do their thing (up to a point). No one's perfect, but you have to try not impact what's around you. Don't you?

    I didn't say anything about the quality of anyone's photo's. I just can't encourage someone to start taking pictures while kneeling, laying, standing on the bottom.

    Get your buoyancy right first.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
    fisheater likes this.
  3. NautilusCairns

    NautilusCairns Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cairns Australia
    What does that mean?.. "diving with a camera is a privilege not a right". I know it is an often used throw away line and is supposed to be a "holier than thou" sort of statement, but when talking about underwater photography it seems very pretentious. Or have I missed a point somewhere?
  4. danvolker

    danvolker Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Lake Worth, Florida, United States
    I would add you should add floatation to the camera housing or arms that makes it dead neutral in the ocean....a heavy camera will not only throw off your trim, but it will keep your arm muscles heavily constricting the blood supply, so on ascent your off gassing will be badly compromised, and this will often lead to years of mini DCS hits in your elbows, wrists and shoulders--and arthritis.
  5. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    Even in sand, if you kneel, you are going to liberate particles into the water, which will degrade the quality of your shot.

    Why is it so offensive to suggest that someone spend some time focusing on his own buoyancy, and THEN add the task-loading of a big camera rig? Perfecting buoyancy takes a little work, but the work is DIVING, so it's fun . . . Making the argument that because most people CAN'T control their buoyancy well, this particular poster shouldn't try, seems a little specious to me. And I will absolutely stand by my statement that bad buoyancy leads to bad photographs -- which is not to say that there aren't situations of strong surge or current, where it's necessary to use a fin tip or fingertip to stabilize yourself. When we dove Bunaken in Indonesia, the guides told us the first day that we were to hold onto THEM when taking pictures, and my immediate reaction was, "What kind of underwater doofuses do they think we are?" But I learned that, with the tiny creatures we were trying to capture, and the currents in which we were diving, letting the guide stabilize himself with a reef stick, and then using the guide as a stabilizer, resulted in minimal reef damage and much better pictures.

    So I'm not holier than thou at all. I just think good buoyancy control is a) within reach of everybody, b) makes diving both more fun and safer, and c) makes for better photographs. And it is far more difficult to develop it while distracted with a camera, than it is to work on it without one.
    fisheater likes this.
  6. PatW

    PatW Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Central Florida
    I currently dive with a DSLR.

    First task loading is a big problem when diving with a camera. I would suggest that you might want to leave the rig on the boat for dives that are not well within your comfort zone. Heck, I leave my rig on the boat in situation of a pitching boat, no aid from the crew combined with strong currents and low vis.

    Another thing, buoyancy control is critical in photography. It is some thing I am getting better at. I can hover pretty well with my head down and my feet up. Kicking the heck out of the reef is not a good thing. As has been said earlier, you probably will not get very good photos at first.

    The statement about kneeling on the sand was a bit hair raising. Many little critters live in muck and sand. Trashing the sand looks harmless but is not necessarily harmless.
  7. SailNaked

    SailNaked Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: between 30° and 10°
    :Cry: well I'm really glad you are asking, and there is good advice to be had here, I hope some of it appeals to your conservative side and you take the environment into consideration.

    go on a dive extend your arms and try to hold then 6" from something and touch nothing else. when you can do it then take a camera, I would start with a point and shoot. and do just that. once you get ok results with that move up to your current rig.

    it has taken me years to be able to use a mostly manual camera and not hurt the environment, it is a skill I am proud of, and rarely see in others.

    please consider that the picture is not worth destroying the reef even if it is a perfect picture.

    without great control most underwater pictures are just arial views of the fish. not something you would put on your wall.

    when you get really really good at bouyancy your pictures will represent it and you can be proud of it.
    RJP likes this.
  8. jbb

    jbb Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    Holly crap. I finally got an OMD rig with two strobes after 10 years of diving and working my way up from a compact and adding a strobe and focus light etc. It is a lot of equipment and settings to work with. Do you already have a good knowledge of photography top side cause the micro 4/3rds cameras are pretty sophisticated. You will be fidgeting with the strobes all the time and the various settings on the camera as you come upon critters and scenes you want to capture. I sure am. Also wide angle photography is harder to do well but you will need both strobes for that so I can't suggest leaving one behind plus the buoyancy would be lopsided. So try to stick to the less sensitive environments for starters and practice like you have been - sand not coral. If you think your buoyancy is getting really good, see if you can take photos off a silty bottom without stirring things up cause even an errant fin can murk up the bottom in a hurry. So as you can tell you have bitten off a pretty big mouth full with this rig. good luck.

    one practice skill you could try and which you will eventually need is to remain neutrally buoyant upside down above a bunch of sea urchins breathing well controlled as your try to get a shot of some critter at a cockeyed angle without getting your skull pierced by an urchin spine while a trigger fish nips at your fins. OR maybe you just ask the nice dive guide to hold you that way:wink:

    oh, I did just look at some of my early underwater photos... and guess what..they are crap.
  9. PsyWulf

    PsyWulf Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: South Africa
    A camera (not withstanding a complex setup as described) can cause major tunnelvisioning and bad diving habits like swimming blindly,floating up and down and thrashing about trying to get remotely close to anything to take a semi-decent photo

    It's not a pissing contest here people

    OP,for your own safety and enjoyment -
    become very comfortable with your buoyancy and things like propulsion and hovers using only your legs and lungs
    Then practice with the camera alone till you can navigate menus and buttons without looking
    Then take Arms and strobes
  10. dimac

    dimac Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Quezon City, Philippines, Philippines
    based on my experience, air consumption was the thing that changed. But that was after 100+ dives. Seeing a photo subject made me excited and i used up more air than usual.

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