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Shooting into light coloured sand

Discussion in 'Tips and Techniques' started by MMM, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. MMM

    MMM Orca Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
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    I'm looking for some help shooting subjects in white sand. I am shooting on manual and using a strobe. I find I am blowing out the subjects. Any tips?
     
  2. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

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    Can you post some images that are representative or especially vexing?
     
  3. MMM

    MMM Orca Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
    9,034
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    None to post at the moment. I just deleted them all. I am sure I will have some tomorrow...
     
  4. T.C.

    T.C. Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ft. Hood, TX
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    What I have found successful is heavy use of a diffuser, and pointing the strobe up and away from the subject to lessen the light striking the sand.

    The diffuser should deflect some light down still, so your subject is still adequately lit. Play around with the angle the strobe is pointed away, until the light is good.

    Another tactic may be to get some heavy white plastic and make additional diffusers that you can hold in front of the strobe. Coffee can lids can be cut down to do this, cut one to fit around your strobe, cut two holes and tie a rubber band so that it goes around your strobe for hands free operation. But remember a lanyard so if it comes off, you don't litter on the reef.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. MMM

    MMM Orca Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
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    My strobe has a diffuser so will try pointing it up and away from the subject...

     
  6. outofofficebrb

    outofofficebrb Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
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    Are your strobes in manual?
     
  7. T.C.

    T.C. Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ft. Hood, TX
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    Another simple tactic I've used in the past is just to put a finger or two over the strobe lens to block some of the light. Simple, fast, and no equipment needed.

    I've struggled with this for a while. My DC1400 gets blown out if I point the strobe at anything more reflective than black rocks at night....
     
    ibj40 likes this.
  8. giffenk

    giffenk Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: toronto
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    Turning down the power on your strobe would seem to be the simplest solution. Diffusers generally reduce output by 1 stop. Adjusting the power of the strobe gives you a wider range of light output.

    You can also do some artistic lighting effects with the positioning of your strobes. Pointing directly at the subject generally gives very boring plain background sand. Positioning your strobes at sand level will introduce shadowing on the ground as the sand is not level. This effect can be made more dramatic by setting your camera shutter speed and aperature to eliminate ambient light so you only capture strobe light.
     
    MMM likes this.
  9. MMM

    MMM Orca Staff Member

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Sask. Canada/Cozumel, MX
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    Yes
     
  10. ColoDale

    ColoDale ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
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    Are you using Olympus EM5? I recall maybe you were.

    Is this for Macro on sand or maybe the 12-50mm further away?

    For macro I must turn down the strobe power and I use diffusers. I also try to shoot as horizontal as possible and not down.

    Moving the strobes out and away to catch the light edge may help but I generally adjust shutter speed, f-stop and strobe power. My default strobe power on Sea and Sea YS02s are half power and are always manual. I may go to quarter power for macro on sand or if very shallow on bright sand, I may just turn the strobes completely away for no strobe light and use shutter speed and f-stop changes. I don't like turning on and off devices underwater too much.

    I generally close down the aperature a couple of f-stops. If I have time I will change fstop to f16 or f22 (and depends on what you want depth of field to be) and maybe a fast shutter speed to get a dark shot then start backing off. If you are using Oly then I assume you are using the live boost on the display that comes on when you depress the shutter button half way so you can see the subject. I have decent macro shots at f11 but depends on light and subject.

    I have the display set to show the shot for a few seconds. Then start bracketing. If what I am shooting does not move much then I might use shutter speed changes instead of f-stop so depth of field doesn't change as much.

    I don't change ISO settings much but if you have it set high maybe back off a bit.

    If you are more shallow then moving clouds can make a huge difference on sand. One more thing to pay attention to.

    I am assuming by blow out that this is exposure and not just white balance. I have not been carrying a card/slate for this but if the problem is white balance and if you are using the Oly then you can manually change white balance. It will be shot by shot in manual and you will have to keep doing it the entire time until you go back to auto. I assume you use auto white balance now.
     

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