• Welcome to ScubaBoard


  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

PADI U/W Photography Specialty

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Aerosynth, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Aerosynth

    Aerosynth Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Midwest/Central U.S. is where I hang my hat. Where
    114
    1
    0
    So... I'm finally getting a dive camera. Yay! Sea Life DC1200 Kit. Nice setup.

    My LDS is offering a deal... buy the camera, and I basically get the PADI U/W specialty course/certification for an extra $50.

    Here's the thing. I've already had a ton of digital photography coursework in college, and worked professionally with digital photography for a number of years. I'm no professional photographer, but I'm no neophyte either. If the PADI U/W specialty is going to teach me the basics of photography, how to edit pictures in Photoshop, how to buy the equipment, generic stuff like that... it's not really going to be worth a lot to me.

    But, I have no experience with underwater photography... at all. Does U/W photography have special considerations that make the class worthwhile? Anyone taken the class that regrets doing so, or felt it was worth it?
     
  2. Cap335

    Cap335 Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Houston
    499
    311
    63
    There is a lot of lighting underwater that you don't have to think about on land.

    Randy
     
  3. sabbath999

    sabbath999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Edina, MO
    1,032
    6
    0
    Part of the class is teaching about digital photography, part of it is actually teaching you stuff about how your personal camera works underwater.

    Some of it will bore you to tears if done the "normal" way, but they will take you to the pool and you will learn to set your camera's white balance manually under water, plus work on stuff like buoyancy with your camera on stuff in the pool.

    I was able to get a whole different deal than the "stock UW digital photography class", since I have been shooting professionally on land since the 1980's, and digital since it first came out on land.

    I took my portfolio, and told them "I don't need to learn how to put batteries in the camera, just the underwater stuff". The instructor basically spent the whole time teaching me buoyancy skills, plus gear maintenance (how to properly do o-rings to reduce the chances of flooding, etc)... I did have to "meet the standards" for the card, but what I was taught was FAR beyond those standards.

    I would ask the dive shop how flexible the class is. $50 isn't that much if the instructor has real skills and can teach you how to actually shoot living critters underwater. If it's just the standard classwork, well... you will have to decide if a confined water dive and some instruction you may or may not need is worth it.
     
  4. sabbath999

    sabbath999 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Edina, MO
    1,032
    6
    0
    True, but the PADI Digital 1 class doesn't use flashes. At all. It is strictly ambient light.
     
  5. Aerosynth

    Aerosynth Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Midwest/Central U.S. is where I hang my hat. Where
    114
    1
    0
    Hmmm. I'm really on the fence with this one. Argh. :-/

    Just out of curiosity, what does having the U/W Photography specialty c-card do for you? Other than, I suppose, count towards the 5 specialties needed for an MSD certification if I ever wanted that. I mean, will I ever go on a dive trip that requires me to show that card in order to carry a camera?
     
  6. Karl_H

    Karl_H DIR Practitioner

    442
    91
    28
    50$ is pretty good for a course but I'd say actual experience with your camera is more beneficial than a generic course on white balance etc.....

    There's a lot of good guidance online which will cover a more than the PADI course will.

    Although as I mentioned, $50 for a speciality course sounds very cheap - just check the camera price 'without the course for $50' isn't lower :)
     
  7. diverrex

    diverrex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    1,799
    375
    83
    The card does nothing for you. I took this course with an instructor in Key Largo. I thought it was worthwhile. Just doing two dives with an instructor was worthwhile, him coaching me to slow down, look carefully for subjects, how to approach subjects, better angles, etc. Sometimes you have to think about continuing education more like a mentor or coach, you may know certain things intellectually but it helps having someone right there coaching you.
     
  8. Quero

    Quero Will be missed Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    9,494
    2,247
    0
    I teach this course, and one of my sons is a professional photographer. Naturally, he knows tons more about photography in general and composition in particular than I do, and like many photo pros, he thought all he had to do underwater was the same thing he did on land. I can tell you that his first 5 or 6 dives with a camera in his hand were hugely frustrating to him. He couldn't get the exposure right; he couldn't frame the pictures they way he wanted; he couldn't avoid movement blurrs; and he didn't know anything about digital darkroom for correcting underwater shots.

    Believe it or not, he learned a lot from my coaching and ended up getting some pretty good shots after a while, even though he shoots with a big fancy DSLR rig and I shoot with a G11. I gave him tips on aperture and shutter settings for getting the right light/depth of field balance, for setting the exposure compensation to get the bluest backgrounds for wide angle shots, for positioning himself in the water column for the best results, and even for making corrections in the digital darkroom.

    I think it can be a useful course if, as diverrex says, you don't have to stick too closely to the course book. It can even be useful if your coach/mentor/instructor isn't as experienced a photographer as you are on land (I don't shoot on land at all, for example), as long as the instructor has some experience and success in getting good shots underwater.
     
  9. AZFlyingDiver

    AZFlyingDiver ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Valley of the Sun (Gilbert, AZ)
    49
    1
    0
    For me, honing my buoyancy skills did more for my photography than anything else... i'd expect this would be true of photo-savvy folks, notwithstanding distance-judging, lighting, etc. challenges confronting anyone shooting underwater vs. land...
     
  10. Quero

    Quero Will be missed Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Phuket, Thailand
    9,494
    2,247
    0
    For one of my photo students, doing the course was what really taught her buoyancy control. I know we say the control should come first and then the photography, but in her case, the need to be still while taking pictures was the real motivating force.
     

Share This Page