Back in the water

I haven't had the opportunity to do underwater photos since early September, 2010. Summer is usually short enough in Seattle, but this year it started later than ever. So I was really happy to have things lined up to have a pool, nice weather, and models all available on the same day.

Underwater photography can be a lot of fun. It can also be nerve-wracking. If you spend any time around water, you know that the question isn't "IF" your case will leak, but rather "WHEN." Luckily I haven't experienced a leak yet, but two of my friends have had water get into their cameras. Luckily for both, they were quick to pull the battery out and dry it out and their cameras came back to life after a few days.

Underwater is also 60% skill and 40% luck. Especially in my early days when I was using a Canon S70 and a Canon G10 in underwater housings (OK, maybe it was 80% luck back then!). Shutter delay on land is one thing, but it seems to be even longer underwater. So I never quite knew what I was going to get. You see your model swimming towards you, you press the button, and you wait. And you wait. And you wait. Sometimes your model is still in the frame when the shutter finally fires. You can find some images from the G10 in an earlier blog post.

Last year I upgraded to an Ewa-Marine underwater "bag" for my dSLR camera. Things are much easier. But it does take a bit of experimentation to get the right balance of weights and air in the bag. I like to have it so that the camera will sink. Too much air in the bag and you are always fighting to keep the camera underwater. I sometimes also wear a set of wrist and/or ankle weights to help keep myself under water while photographing.

Here are some photos from Sunday's sessions. All were processed in Adobe Lightroom. The real tricky part is getting a good white balance. As you get more than a foot or two underwater you really lose most red light and things go a sickly greenish/blue. The originals out of the camera can be dis-heartening to look at. This is one place where I really don't think you can do JPG and fix in post. Raw is the way to go for underwater unless your camera has a specific underwater white balance setting.

Thanks, Aerial Nurse!! More photos to come...

All above photos created with a Canon 5DmkII, 16-35mm f/2.8L lens, and Ewa Marine UB-100 underwater bag. Natural sunlight filtered through a diffusion sheet above the pool.

Photo below is from my friend Hyejin Yun.
I call it "One of these is not like the others."