Underwater Photography…Part 2 of 2

Robin Leworthy Wilson Dive Journal 1 - February 2013 PART 2 of 2  Underwater Photography is Not Something You Can Just Dive Into

I communicated with Eddy Raphael at UNEXSO prior to my arrival in the Bahamas. Although fresh and limited in my dive skills Eddy wanted to help me to understand and experience underwater photography first hand. Most people pursuing underwater photography are experienced divers. Coming from the other side of the equation, I am very grateful that Eddy took the time. And time is what it takes…Lot’s of time and experience. I have a whole new appreciation for this underwater photography. Everything that I am accustomed to in sport photography is opposite to taking great photographs underwater.

We started in the classroom to go over the basics of underwater photography. Depth of Field, ISO, Shutter Speed, Color, Equipment, and Positioning were all covered in theory. Applying the concepts virtually in an underwater studio takes a lot of practice and patience. Most importantly dive skills are critical to both the aquatic environment and safety of the diver.

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Eddy shoots with a Nikon D200 with a Subal housing and Inon strobes. To maneuver your hands over the housing to change the f-stop, zoom or shutter speed is uncomfortable at first. Everything is where Nikon put it, but because of the housing it takes some getting used to. The buttons respond in different directions and need a firm press to react. Looking through a mask to get the right angle and see through the viewfinder is awkward. Maneuvering the strobes to light a subject and anchoring your arm with a firm stance is thought provoking in a medium like water.

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Our first dive of the day was Sea Star wreck site. We worked on DOF at (30-60-125), strobe lighting (light scatter), composition and telling a story. I found it difficult to maintain my buoyancy because my weight belt kept shifting and my fins seemed to be light in the water. All the while keeping an eye on your air and practice breathing to maintain buoyancy is certainly critical. Keeping focused on the photography and trying to communicate underwater is a challenge. I am reassured this all gets easier with experience.

[caption id="attachment_5057" align="alignnone" width="650"]Distortion The diopter allows the camera to focus underwater. Distortion of the wide angle lens may need to be compensated.[/caption]

Thank goodness for the due diligence of my instructors to prepare me for what was to happen next. I am responsible for my own air, BUT I was too focused on getting the shot that I forgot to check. I need to remember to check my pressure gage more frequently, but time flies by under water. I also need to practice breathing to modify my airflow to conserve my tank better. My buddy/instructor, Eddy was beside me to allow an alternate air source ascent. PADI trained me well, but this is a lesson that I will not forget!

[caption id="attachment_5061" align="alignnone" width="649"]UpClose It is important to get up close to your subject in water. This allows for great color, texture and focus.[/caption]

The second dive was at Arrow Point, where we saw colorful corals, a variety of sponges and fish. There was a current to add in the equation. This is where we worked on our approach and re-approaches in my case. Here we need to get in a rhythm and comfort zone for breathing. Everything moves slow underwater, but you still need to steady camera to eliminate shake, air bubbles may make an appearance when you least expect them.

[caption id="attachment_5056" align="alignnone" width="650"]Approach Buoyancy is critical in your approach to get the right angle and light on the subject. Eddy took the photo of the lionfish on the left.   My photo is on the right LOL!!! I really need to work on my buoyancy skills to hover and set up for the shot.
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I kept an eye on my air and really tried to focus. It was a lot of work and very frustrating. I am used to photographing 100’s of images in a shoot. In this case, I had less than 50 frames from two dives. I enjoyed watching Eddy demonstrate and communicate with me underwater. We worked on the fundamentals that seemed to be crystal clear in the classroom, but a whole new world down below sea level. 

[caption id="attachment_5059" align="alignnone" width="650"]Story Tell a story and light up your subject. Depth absorbs light. Strobes are used to capture the beauty of the ocean. Eddy demonstrated color, composition, angle and shades of ocean blue  in these photographs to tell a story.[/caption]

After my review, Eddy helped me to fully understand my underwater photography experience. It takes an enormous amount of training and practice to become great at defying gravity and interacting with the ever changing aquatic environment. Eddy was endearing and a very encouraging instructor. I admire his work and grateful he was up to the challenge to teach me. I cannot wait to take the plunge again!

I have a whole new perspective about underwater photography and respect to those select few who do it well.

For more information about Eddy Raphael visit Digital Seaweed.com or UNEXSO

Robin Leworthy Wilson Dive Journal 1 - February 2013 PART 1 of 2  Underwater Photography is Not Something You Can Just Dive Into [CLICK HERE]

[caption id="attachment_5060" align="alignnone" width="650"]Underwater_Composite This is a composite of my favorite subjects from my underwater photography class with Eddy Raphael, UNEXSO[/caption] Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. Our number one place to post is on Google Plus  GOOGLE+ We always update on { tumbr blog | Flickr photostream | YouTube channel} too! _________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here © Aerial Promotions 1997-2012  |  Photo Credit: Robin Leworthy Wilson _________________________________________________________________________________________ WHY?...Because We Care! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community 

Contact Aerial Promotions (click here)

 

Underwater Photography is Not Something You Can Just Dive Into-Part 1 of 2

Robin Leworthy Wilson Dive Journal 1 - February 2013 PART 1 of 2  Underwater Photography is Not Something You Can Just Dive Into

I have always been intrigued by underwater photography and felt 2013 was the year that I was going to do it. In one month I completed the PADI Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver and an Introductory Underwater Photography Course.

The experience is literally out of this world, one that I especially encourage. The people who helped accomplish my goal exceeded all expectations. They prepared me for the unexpected, inspire me to train, hone in on my skills to be a better scuba diver and photographer.

It was my big birthday and I wanted to reach deep into my bucket. Without looking back, I called “Float N’ Flag” in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. Full of knowledge and motivation Dave Nixon, Store Manager signed me up for the classroom and pool segment of the PADI Certification. In a whirlwind weekend Mark Cline, Mike Tokarchuck, Wolfgang Troutmann and Jamey English diligently prepared me for what was to come in the Bahamian open waters.

Prior to my Bahama departure, The Float N’ Flag offered an information session on the Zoop Dive Computer. Roy Moore assisted me with the basics for my trip and assured me that the most important and first investment that a diver should make is a dive computer. As a new diver it assisted me in dive preparation, descent, ascent and my post dive log. I love my Zoop!

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Upon arrival to Freeport, Grand Bahama Island a cold front followed us from Canada. Weather did not allow us to dive the first day, but I couldn’t wait to get to UNEXSO and meet the dive staff.

I was chatting with the dive instructors about what I had heard back home from the divers at Float N’ Flag. There is this shark lady who hypnotizes sharks (TI-Tonic Immobility). I’m going on and on about how she is inducted into the Hall of Fame on YouTube…BLAH BLAH BLAH and the UNEXSO staff start to chuckle. “What?” I ask and Keith, one of the dive masters tells me that the person in front of me is the shark lady herself, Christina Zanato [Advanced Diver | Earth Illustrated | International Legends of Diving | Women's Diver Hall of Fame | Our World Scholarship].

At that point Christina invited me on one of her shark feeding dives. Yup WOW! I really had my heart set on trying some underwater photography with Eddy Raphael too, but let’s see how the open water checkout dives go first. I’m not sure how I would handle a shark encounter…Never mind be a guest at their dinner table (Little did I know!*!*!).

[caption id="attachment_5028" align="alignnone" width="650"]Christina Zenato with LJ LJ is a huge shark fan and excited here to meet UNEXSO shark lady, Christina Zenato[/caption]

My PADI Instructor was Jarvis Rolle. He was very professional, firm yet playful in his instruction.  Our first open water dive was Ben’s Blue Hole. One of the first things I saw on our dive were two Caribbean reef sharks. Aware of all of the beautiful aquatic life around me; I was very comfortable and did my dive skill testing. It wasn’t until I got back on the boat did I feel seasick and vomit before my second dive.

Reluctant to quit, I got back in the water at the wreck dive site, PaPa Doc. The ocean is a beautiful world. I saw a variety of parrotfish, angelfish, grouper, trumpetfish, yellow stingray, barracuda, spotted moray eel, lionfish, peacock flounder, cow fish, octopus, shrimp and many other aquatic species that I admire and want to research.

Upon ascent I needed to remove my weight belt as part of my skill testing. When I released the buckle, my right hand pointer fingernail ripped off.  I had my snorkel in my mouth and then began to vomit in the waves again.

Lesson One-If you get seasick take precaution prior to dive departure. Lesson Two-No matter how pretty you think matching your nail color to yellow scuba gear may be…long nails are not conducive to diving…REALLY!

Jarvis was extremely patient, encouraging & understanding. He was very strict with keeping an eye on my air. He had me practice out of air scenarios unexpectedly throughout our dives. Jarvis threw in random skills to keep me alert and ready. One of my favorite moments was when Jarvis pointed out the jaw fish. These fascinating fish hover over their holes like tiny little Casper the friendly ghosts. He also pointed out fish that skip along the ocean floor and beautiful aquatic life hidden in the reef.

Regardless of my nauseous green eggs and ham display that morning, I knew I loved to dive. I met a beautiful couple from Alaska and many other fabulous people from around the world. 

[caption id="attachment_5027" align="alignnone" width="650"]Unexso Fun Staff I meet amazing people when travelling! Alaska, Sweden, Italy, Germany, France and Brad was from Burlington...Imagine that! UNEXSO's Kelly and Cory could brighten anyone's day! They were my sunshine in Bahamas! (Crazy Weather)[/caption]

The next day I was excited and ready to explore the great ocean again. Dive three was at Littlehale’s Lair. This time a Caribbean reef shark decided to swim along side of us. Jarvis joked with me because you should be within an arms length of your buddy, but I was shoulder to shoulder. This was my first time a big shark was eye to eye, a few feet swimming along side of me. It was an exhilarating and heart pounding experience. Little did I know that something even more profound would happen next.

I was just finishing my surface remove/replace BCD skill on the fourth dive at PaPa Doc. Just as I got my BCD back on Jarvis yells “Hammerhead Shark”…”Hammerhead Shark”. OK I thought he was messing with me…You know last checkout dive…ready to get back on the boat…Did I pass? Ha Ha Ha! I put my regulator back in my mouth and looked below my fins. A stunning 10ft hammerhead shark is swimming right below us. What a magnificent end to triumphant day of diving with UNEXSO.

[caption id="attachment_5026" align="alignnone" width="650"]Congratulations PADI Open Water Scuba Diver, Robin Leworthy Wilson celebrating with PADI Instructor, Jarvis Rolle. Congratulations PADI Open Water Scuba Diver, Robin Leworthy Wilson celebrating with PADI Instructor, Jarvis Rolle.[/caption]

The previous year I was speaking to Eddy Raphael who is an amazing photographer that has worked in commercial photography for Vanity Fair, Cosmo, Discovery, NOVA/PBS and Germany’s Next Top Model, only to name a few.  He too had a passion to be an underwater photographer and is now one of the best in the industry. Eddy manages the photography/videography and creative affairs of UNEXSO...to be continued

Underwater Photography is Not Something You Can Just Dive Into [Part 2 of 2!]

Please like Eddy Raphael & UNEXSO's work at Grand Bahamas National Trust Research facebook page! Please like us on facebook, follow us on twitter and comment on our photographs/design on our blog. Our number one place to post is on Google Plus  GOOGLE+ We always update on { tumbr blog | Flickr photostream | YouTube channel} too! _________________________________________________________________________________________ DOWNLOAD IMAGES* *Read AP Terms & Conditions Before Download…click here *Read AP Photographic Licensing Before Download…click here © Aerial Promotions 1997-2012  |  Photo Credit: Robin Leworthy Wilson _________________________________________________________________________________________ WHY?...Because We Care! It is part of AP mission to give back to sport & the developing athletes as a volunteer in the local community 

Contact Aerial Promotions (click here)

Spring Break is HERE! Point & Shoot

Header-Bahamas In honor of spring break, I have decided to share a personal post. Last year was my first trip to Grand Island-Freeport, Bahamas. Since I was on VACATION, I didn't want to take all my camera equipment with me.  I decided to go light and take my point and shoot Canon G9.  Although I am a Nikon shooter my little camera and simple underwater camera did an AMAZING job capturing our trip. We had soooooooo much fun and decided to go back again. This year I decided to bring my Nikon D300 with a couple of SB800 flashes for a photo shoot on the beach.  In my travels I found some exceptional places to shoot for upcoming projects.  I am very excited about the images and will have them up shortly. Feel free to get some ideas for taking pictures this spring break from my personal family vacation video below.  Don't be shy. Shoot a lot and revisit those moments often for many years to come. Family Trip to Island Seas 2011, Freeport Bahamas   View the images below for Robin's Point N' Shoot Quick Tips! (Grand Island-Freeport, Bahamas 2011) [cincopa AcNA81aYUyxm] Have a Great Spring Break!