Photo Technical

Ocean color means photos may need corrections – A58

Welcome aboard photo enthusiasts.  I’ve talked about the histogram last time, the new light meter of the digital age … do use it.  Also provided insight as to why shooting RAW or full size TIFF’s is far more powerful then JPG’s for capturing your most important photographs.  The only obstacle, most pocket cameras only allow you to take JPG’s.  In any case, the last several articles have leaned to being technical yet certainly important, even an amateur photographers toolkit.

One reader, Scott Fratcher, wrote to me thinking I left him hanging on the histogram, because I was unable to complete in the space I have allocated in The Triton.  I trust I have been vindicated by the last edition that included part two on the histogram.

Scott also sent me some other article ideas.  First, I’d like to thank him for his suggestions.  I always come up with an answer, but I do spend some time on the question each month on what I will write about next.  Having input from readers helps to resolve that issue, and more important it lets me know about the specific concerns and interests of our readers.  Then I can offer my input, which may not provide the complete answer, but will hopefully provide “food for thought” and useful information.  So here are his questions:

  • How to color correct underwater photos?

The ocean being blue-green means that it’s natural filtering effect first limits the red-yellow or warm spectrum of light, therefore the color correction will be to reduce the dominance of a blue-green tint or color cast.

Some might suggest using a filter on your camera lens to make a color shift correction, but I don’t. A most important reason is that water and most filters have one thing in common… both reduce the ability of light to travel.  If we are depended on sunlight from above it quickly diminishes as we dive deeper, especially in particle heavy water.  If we use a flash it will not throw light as far as it would through air on land.  Most filters, except for a clear lens protecting sky light filter will to some extend reduce the amount of light entering your camera, and less light is always a negative to optimum photographic results (unless to for some unusual creative effect).  Bottom line is do not use on camera filters.

So what is the best thing to do for color correction?  That would be to download your photographs on to your computer and make the correction using software… much easier this way with far more control.  A free Google program having a feature to do this is Picasa 3.  Adobe Elements, PhotoShop, Lightroom, Corel and other programs also have color and tint adjustment features.

  • How to take underwater photos with the little Olympus Stylus type underwater camera (every charter guest brings at least one)?

I was not exactly sure about the question.  Other then the change of elements, water vs. air, through which guests will be shooting, and that will have a limiting effect, all the functions and considerations are essentially the same in both environments.

I read about the Olympus u1050 SW and it seems one of the main difficulties with these small cameras in water is handling and hanging on to them…”slippery when wet” and not much to hold on to. We can explore this question more with some additional feedback.

  • How to not loose being in the moment when taking a photo?

How about the Scuba Series HD Wide Angle?  I’ve mentioned in an earlier article that a very useful website for underwater cameras is  This is where I found the HD Wide Angle, which is a mask with a build in video and still camera.  You will not be looking through a viewfinder, so the outcome is a bit more uncertain, but it will help to “not loose being in the moment.”

I will explore more to see if a can find an underwater camera with remote control possibilities (or if any reader can beat me to it, let me know  In more shallow waters you could then potentially use a tripod, and I’m sure there are other inventive ways to keep a camera working at a certain depth.  Ultimately, there is always some kind of sacrifice to be made between capturing the moment forever and being in the moment.

To be in it, Scott already mentioned a possible solution himself in a follow up e-mail, and that is to have a designated camera operator for the occasion or on an agreed to rotating schedule of time, giving everyone a chance to capture moments and be in them also.

  • How to take action water shots, like wakeboarding or surfing?

Actions shots are all about shutter speed and moving with the action.  Now if you are on a speed boat pulling a water skier, there is some movement, but not as much as you might think….

Ooops, to be continued.  I have more to say about this, but realized I am reaching my word count limit.  Taking permission to come ashore.  Oh, don’t forget, send me more e-mails with questions!