Shooting in the Shallows

Turtle Reflection taken in Egypt using the camera’s Underwater Mode

So today I thought I’d share 5 Top Tips with you to help you capture beautiful images near the surface using just your camera and sometimes a wide-angle or fisheye lens.

Do you remember that we lose colour very quickly as we descend, and even within the first few feet red is lost. This is where using the camera’s underwater mode can really help to create vibrant, punchy images near the surface without the need for flash.

The turtle shown here was taken whilst at Sharm in Egypt and I chose an ISO of 200 to keep the subject sharp. I chose an aperture of f8 to keep as much of the turtle in focus and I used my EV minus to darken the reflection at the surface (the camera did not have any manual controls over the shutter speed).

Tip Two – always remember to shoot with the sun behind you. In order to create this image below taken at Nuweiba, Egypt, I noted where the sun was during the day and positioned myself to make sure that it was behind me. Repetitive dives and speaking to others will really help you to create better images.

Tip Three – Less water between you and your subject means less particles meaning better images. Particles reflect light which help to reduce the quality of the image, so getting as close as possible is super important. Here using a fisheye lens really helped me to get close to these schooling barracudas, keeping the image sharp. I used an ISO of 100 as the fisheye lens naturally allows more light into the image, chose an aperture of f8 to help make sure that not too much light would creep through the surface of the image and used by EV minus to create this silhouette.

Swirling Barracuda at Sipidan Island, Malaysia

Tip Four – Fast Moving Subjects Approaching – Increase your ISO to keep them sharp. These dolphins were approaching me at quite a pace and me singing underwater probably made them want to go even faster! Choose a higher ISO to keep them sharp and shoot in RAW if possible. This means that you can edit the shot afterwards without the risk of damaging the original image.

Spotted Dolphins at Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Tip Five – Capturing Beams of Light

Even in temperate waters there are beautiful beams of light to capture. If you have a manual camera, simply increase your shutter speed to maybe 1/125th sec or if use your EV minus if you don’t. I shot this image at Durdle Door using an ISO of 200 and an aperture of f5.6 with my wide-angle lens.

I hope that these tips help you get started and coming soon will be some tips on how to master your strobe near the surface to create dazzling images.

Take care all of you,


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