Blackwater Photography Tips - OrcaTorch Dive Lights
by STEVEN KOVACS
Blackwater photography is extremely challenging and may require several more diving to be successful. The subject and the diver are constantly moving. Sometimes the targets are not very happy, because they are very unsuitable to be lighted by the diver's lights and then try to escape into the darkness. All of these photographers need time to adjust.
Many subjects are almost completely transparent, and it is a challenge to focus on them. I personally found that autofocus works well, while others prefer manual focus. Others pre-focus before shooting, and then move the camera back and forth continuously until the target becomes clear in the viewfinder, then press the shutter and move. Through practice and experimentation, we can determine which method is best for us.
Good diving skills are essential because you don't see the bottom or depth reference in the dive area. Free floating in deep water requires excellent buoyancy skills. The better the buoyancy control, the easier it is to take pictures. The minimum and slow movements are also important because it is easy to cause water flow and the target is out of control.
The fish's eyes may be highly reflective during the shooting of some juveniles. This will cause the parts of the eye to be easily overexposed when the body part is properly exposed. If this becomes a problem, I would recommend getting a proper exposure in the eye section, as the slightly underexposed body part can be retrieved through post processing. Sometimes changing the position of the flash to change the angle of the light hits the subject can also help us.
In my opinion, a very important tip is to reach out and focus on your fingertips, and use this as a starting point before you find a target. It makes it easier and faster to find animals in the viewfinder. Then you can move the camera forward or backward as necessary.
Blackwater is like a treasure hunt.You never know what you will encounter. It will be addictive for us to find and witness the amazing creatures that few people encounter. It may be frustrating at the first few dive, but it will be easier with constant practice. I highly recommend everyone to try blackwater at least to see if it suits them. Most people won't be disappointed!