NUPG June 2018 Meeting Report

The usual suspects plus a couple of newcomers enjoyed a great talk this month given by the Underwater Photography Duo of Caroline & Nick Robertson-Brown from Frogfish Photography. The subject was “The Right Light” and Caroline and Nick had brought along 2 or 3 camera setups and various lights to illustrate many points discussed in their informative talk.

Initially the use of strobes and their strengths and weaknesses was discussed including the physics of the media water and how water being so much denser than air limits the distance the light from a strobe or any light can travel and is a major limiting factor when using lighting on a subject underwater. This talk naturally progressed onto the positioning of strobes for various types of shot from macro to wide-angle with a very informative piece on Close Focus Wide Angle photography. The use of 1 strobe and/or 2 was discussed along with examples, also the use of extra off camera strobes and the addition of other forms of lighting was explained. Remembering that pointing a light directly at the subject can result in significant backscatter and how you position your strobe to try to eliminate this. A good tip was remembering that even if you are normally shooting with 2 strobes it can be advantageous to turn one off along with using different power settings on different strobes for certain types of shot.

The difference in strobe and constant light positioning for landscape and portrait shots was illustrated. The talk then went into the merits and use of natural light and when or when not it was appropriate to supplement this with strobes and/or constant light.  The fact that many species are sensitive to light and local rules mean that natural light might be the only choice in many circumstances for certain creatures such as when snorkelling or diving with whale sharks or photographing seahorses means that this is a skill that is essential to master. The advances in constant lights and what they can now do was shown. The importance of ISO settings and how modern cameras have improved in this aspect over the past few years with much higher ISO settings now being able to be utilised.

Tips were also given on how to photograph divers in a picture. One of the main points on improving your underwater photography lighting was to remember to just go to a quarry or even a swimming pool and practice, practice, practice and get used to how your camera and your strobes and lights work underwater.

The theme for this month’s competition was black and white. The winning shot was John Spencer with a beautifully lit photograph of a squid

and joint runners-up of a shot of dolphins by Nick Robertson-Brown and Glynn Philips with his shot of a blue spotted stingray.

The winning entry in the compact category with a shot of a reef scene was taken by Rob Williams.

Congratulations one and all.

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