Thursday, January 3, 2008

Over and under

While over/under photography is nothing new, I wanted to experiment with a few ideas last summer. Both returned usable results, but not without plenty of experimentation, and trial and error. The equipment to do this right, i.e., the underwater housing for a Canon 1D series camera costs between 5-10K! There are cheaper methods, for example, the EWA Marine plastic housings, which introduce some compromises but with a little work-around effort, can perform well.

A full frame sensor and a wide angle lens are critical. What else do you need? A good idea, and expect to get cold, that is if you are shooting in Alaska's fresh water mountain streams. I've used a wireless remote to capture some scenes, which allows you to be far from the camera. These two images however, were hand held. Getting the camera perpendicular to the water to minimize the transition line is a challenge. On the red salmon photo, I actually stuck my head partly underwater, bent over, since it was not possible to lay down in the water. It's not the easy way to ensure accurate horizon lines, but with many, many shots, I achieved an acceptable image or two. You can see a few more from the red salmon photos here.

Gold panning in a mountain stream.
Canon 1Ds Mark II, 16-35mm, 1/320 sec @ f10.0, ISO 400, EWA Marine Housing.

Red Salmon in a freshwater mountain stream, interior, Alaska.
Canon 1Ds Mark II, 16-35mm, 1/640 sec @ f8.0, ISO 640, EWA Marine Housing.

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