Happy New Year fellow underwater toggers

Hope you all had a lovely time and are looking forward to some great diving in 2016, I know I am.
Egypt and the Middle East has had its troubles in the last year. I for one am going all out to support my colleagues and friends in the dive industry out there. I’m pleased to say my first two photo trips of the year are now fully subscribed.
The Winter Warmer is always popular, and with the quality of diving in Egypt at the best, I’ve ever seen it recently. Its reassuring to see the UK diving community pulling together and still visiting this great destination only a relatively short flight away.

The Decisive Moment…

This little blog is about choosing the right moment to take your shot, and I’ve picked a couple of shots to illustrate exactly what I mean.

It’s very easy when diving to get carried away at the moment and get a bit trigger happy, and this isn’t the worst crime in the world.
And repeating your pictures to get just the right one is often but not always the key to getting consistently good underwater pictures.
Sometimes though you may only get one opportunity to allow all the various elements of your picture to fall into place, and the first shot I’m using is one such example.

Batfish at Ras Mohammed

I was conducting a summer workshop in Egypt and we were at Ras Mohammed, more specifically Shark Reef. As is the norm at that time of the year there were lovely schools of fish around.
There was a school of Bohar Snapper, which a number of our group were shooting. Alongside these was a constantly changing and swirling group of Batfish.

I tend to keep away from what the main group are shooting a  lot of the time, as I feel that it’s not my holiday. It’s more important that they get nice pictures of the main event. So there was only me and my friend Reda with the Batfish at that time. The current and the fish were starting to move quite quickly behind Shark Reef, and so Reda and I stuck with it. I had taken a couple of shots using available light but where I was wasn’t working for this, which is unusual as I prefer Batfish in available light.

So strobes it was and to see how you balance strobes with available light.

Diver in the shot

To lend scale I like to use a diver in the shot. I’m picky about how they look, I don’t like them obscured by anything, or too close to the edge of the frame. Nor do I like their bubbles to be in the wrong place.

Because the Batfish were receding away from me I was only able to reach the foreground ones with flash. Maybe with more time, I could have got it, but to be honest I’m more about getting the compositional elements right first.

Scuba Travel, batfish, Red Sea
So I got this shot by simply waiting for the batfish to move out of the way of the gap that Reda was occupying, you can help this of course by making small adjustments to your own positioning too, and when everything is correct, take the picture.

So I got this shot by simply waiting for the batfish to move out of the way of the gap that Reda was occupying. You can help this of course by making small adjustments to your own positioning too. When everything is correct, take the picture.
He was shooting with his GoPro so was oblivious to me there than as a buddy, so he had no idea he was being used for modelling purposes.

A bit of luck

A good dose of luck helps too, but you can make yourself luckier by practising these things and learning to recognise when the moment occurs.
Too often folk get overcome with the excitement of things and the dive starts to dominate the photography. Don’t get me wrong I’m not suggesting that you eschew all your enjoyment of the dive just to get a picture. You need to appreciate everything whilst keeping control of yourself and the camera technicalities.

An old version of the shot

Here is a picture was taken over ten years ago on a digital compact camera at the same spot. This time using only available light.

Scuba Travel, diver, batfish
Same place but taken on a Canon Ixus over ten years ago now, so a lot of the time it’s not about having the latest high end kit, but more how you see the shot and manipulate the compositional elements within it. The exact same thought processes were at work here too

One last example

My last example is a much more recent picture taken a few months back in the Maldives. If you’d like to read the blog its form then please click here

Scuba Travel, manta, diver, Maldives, The Decisive Moment
One of our guides hovers perfectly and gets a great view of one of these amazing creatures.

Again luck plays a big part here but it was all about waiting for the decisive moment.

Ok, that’s all for this week, stay safe, have fun.