Underwater Digital Photography€¦ · Underwater Digital Photography ... the light that you use to...

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  • • One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of SCUBA diving.

    • Bring back pictures of what you have seen to show to your friends

    • “Take only pictures, leave only bubbles”

    • Use your photos for school papers and presentations


    Underwater Digital Photography

  • • One important learning tool in the study of underwater photography is to study good underwater photos.

    • Go to dive magazines and National Geographic to find excellent pictures.

    • You can also go to web sites such as:

    www.digideep.com www.digitaldiver.comwww.ikelite.com www.nikonusa.com

    Underwater Digital Photography


  • The objective of this course is to train you as an underwater

    photographer who thinks and takes pictures and video using sound

    photographic principles,


    Course Objective

  • In this course you learn to use the STAR system:

    S hoot you pictureT ake a look in the camera monitor and if you

    think it could be better….

    A djust to make it better andR e-shoot to for better results


  • • Underwater photography is very dependent on sunlight. The atmosphere and water greatly effect the sunlight that passes into and on through. As light passes through it is diminished by absorption (attenuation) and scattering.

    • As sunlight passes through earth’s atmosphere it may pass through clouds and dust that attenuates and scatters the light.

    • As sunlight passes into the water, it is entering a medium that is 800 times denser than air and is filled with suspended particles. Attenuation and scattering are happening big time in water!

    • We are going to discuss how all of these factors affect the light that you use to take good underwater photos.


  • Sunlight passes through the earth’s atmosphere and reaches the surface of the ocean. As the light hits the surface, some of it is reflected back by the surface at different angles because the surface is not perfectly smooth.

    The best penetration of sunlight occurs between 10am and 2 pm, when the sun is most directly overhead.


  • When the surface of the ocean is rough and filled with waves, more sunlight is reflected. Therefore less sunlight actually penetrates into the water.This means less light is finally reflected from your fish to your camera.If it is cloudy, even less light is allowed to penetrate into the water.


  • Early and late in the day, the sun is at more of an angle to the surface of the ocean. Therefore more light is reflected and less actually penetrates the surface. This gives less light available to reflect from the fish to your camera.If the surface is rough, the sky is cloudy, and it is late in the afternoon, there will be much less light penetrating into the water. Even in the best of conditions we are………


  • This is the adventure that you are embarking upon. Consider sea water:

    • Water• Salts and other dissolved chemicals• Phytoplankton and Zooplankton• Small pieces of debris• Suspended particles• Natural and artificial coloring agents• Fish crap• Macroscopic swimming marine life

    Taking Pictures in a Bowl of Blue Plankton Soup!

  • 1. Attenuation of sunlight by the water column

    2. All kinds of suspended matter3. Backscatter4. Surge5. Currents6. Changes in temperature7. Critters that move

    We will discuss these one at a time.

    You Have to Contend with:

  • 1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

    • Attenuation (absorption) of sunlight is the gradual loss in intensity of the sunlight as passes through a medium (air or water).

    • Sunlight travels from the sun, passes through space, and into our atmosphere.

    • Light speeds along at 186,282 miles per second through space.

    • As sunlight passes through different mediums, such as air, clouds (water vapor), and water, it is attenuated as it passes through. The denser the medium, the more the attenuation.

  • • As you learned in your basic course, water is MUCH denser that air. This means that the water molecules are packed closer together. (And you thought you were through with all of that “scuba science stuff!)

    • White light is actually a mixture of different colors:RedOrangeYellowGreenBlueIndigoViolet

    ROY G BIVThe White Light Spectrum,The Colors of the Rainbow

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • • Red light has the lowest energy and violet lighthas the highest energy.

    • Lowest energy colors are attenuated first.• Therefore Red light is attenuated (filtered out)

    by the water first. The Orange light is next to be attenuated.

    • As light passes down through the water other colors are attenuated.

    • When all sunlight is attenuated at great depth, there is only blackness – which is the absence of light.

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • • The depths to which the colors will penetrate are also affected by any color cast of the water.

    • Pure water with sodium chloride (NaCl) and other “sea salts” dissolved in it, is basically clear.

    • Water can have different chemicals dissolved in it that can give it a color cast. A good example is the tannin from decaying vegetation, found in rivers that give the river a brown cast. If there is an out fall of fresh water into the area of the ocean you are diving, there can be such a color cast added to the water.

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • • The best time to take pictures is between 10AM and 2 PM, This is the time when the sunlight is most directly overhead and therefore more light penetrates the water.

    • As the angle of the sun lowers, more sunlight will be reflected and less will penetrate.

    • If the water is rough, more sunlight is reflected.• If the sky is cloudy and over cast, less light is

    available to enter the water. The moisture in the clouds has attenuated and reflected the sunlight that is passing through the clouds.

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • When sunlight passes from the air into the water, serious attenuation begins.Remember, the reds have the lowest energy and are attenuated first. The actual depth of penetration is also dependent upon several factors including:

    • Cloud cover• Surface conditions• Angle of the sun• Suspended matter• Color cast of the water

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • The light passes through the water column down to a fish. The light is then reflected off the fish and travels to you. If you are at 40ft and are 10ft away from the fish, the light travels a total of 50ft till it finally reaches you. During this path, much color can be attenuated from the original sunlight. The fish you actually see maybe a bit drab with muted colors.

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • This “extended water column” gives everything you see a blue color cast.

    Your compact digital Nikon has a function (pre‐set white balance) to color correct to bring back much of the color that is lost to the total water column.

    In underwater photography, it is very important to get as close to your subject as possible so you have as little water as possible between you and your subject. Your best pictures will be those you take from 2 – 4 feet away.

    10 feet is way too far away! 

    1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:

  • Total Light Path in the Water Column:

    So far we have discussed sunlight and how the water column affects the light as it passes down to your subject and then to your camera. This light is what we call our vertical light, it is coming down through the water to you at depth. Now we are going to discuss another type of light, horizontal light. This is the light that the underwater photographer supplies to give additional illumination on the subject. It can be in the form of a LED photo light (Vega) or a strobe (flash unit). This is our auxiliary light.Underwater photo lights and strobes have various ratings but the illumination you are adding is no way as intense as sunlight. The water column between you and the subject will attenuate the light AND the reflected light will be attenuated on the way back to the camera.

  • Total Light Path in the Water Column:

    When you are using an auxiliary light source such as an U/W strobe or a LED photo light, the light must travel from the light to the subject AND THEN BACK TO THE CAMERA.Even in this short path, light will be attenuated. Therefore: GET AS CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT AS POSSIBLE.

  • Underwater Photography ‐ Basic Rule:


    Unless there is no other way or the subject, such as a wreck, is just so large. You will have to depend on only the 

    sunlight for these pictures.

    Remember, you are taking pictures in a bowl of plankton soup. The closer you can get to your subject, the better. As we progress, you will see that so many problems that you will encounter can be eliminated or greatly diminished if you will just get closer to your subject. REDUCE THE WATER COLUMN BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SUBJECT.

  • 2.  All Kinds of Suspended Matter:

    • Ocean water is not a very good optical medium. It is a mixture of all kinds of suspended matter which includes:

    • Phytoplankton – microscopic plants• Zooplankton – microscopic animals• Suspended particles – very small plastic, detritus, etc• Fish crap – you are swimming in the fish’s toilet!• Macro stuff such as very small fish and other marine life

    • The Tyndall Effect is caused by reflection of light by very small particles in suspension. You have seen this when driving in a fog, the light beam from your head lights is visible as the light reflects off the water particles. It is more dramatic at night than during daytime. The darker the ambient lighting, the greater the Tyndall Effect can be seen.

  • 3.  Backscatter:

    • The light that hits suspended matter can be absorbed or reflected. Light that is reflected causes the Tyndall Effect.

    • Our biggest concern is light that is reflected back towards the camera - the suspended particles show up in the picture looking like SNOW.

    • This is why we liken underwater photography to taking pictures in soup.

    • We will talk a lot in this course about how you can take control and minimize the effects of suspended matter and reduce backscatter.


  • 3.  Backscatter:

    If light strikes suspended particles, light can be absorbed or reflected back off the particles. Several factors can affect how visible these particles are to your eye or your camera:• amount of suspended matter• color of the particles• amount of ambient light• intensity of the aux light

    In the drawing above, the backscatter is shown as black particles to show up better in the art. Backscatter is actually more gray or white.

  • 3.  Backscatter:In the top picture the contrast between the background and the backscatter is low. This would be the conditions during mid-day. (10am-2pm)

    The middle picture would be later or earlier in the day or on a rough and overcast day when ambient conditions are darker due to poor light penetration. There is greater contrast between this backscatter and the background so the backscatter shows up more.

    In the night picture, the contrast is much higher and the backscatter is most visible.

  • 3.  Backscatter:

    Anytime you use an auxiliary light, you can have backscatter show up in your photos. During this underwater digital photography program we will discuss several methods we can use to reduce the affect of backscatter.

    Underwater photography is a challenge, BUT there are many “tricks of the trade” that we use to make of photographs better. Hopefully as you progress through this program, you will learn many of them.

  • 4. Surge:

    • Surge is movement underwater caused by wave movement through the water.

    • You will need to learn to deal with surge to get good underwater photos.

    • You will learn to time the surge or steady yourself properly when taking your picture. 

    • Be very careful that the surge does not push you into live coral or sponges.

    • You should be very careful that the surge does not push you onto fire coral, sea nettle, or sharp metal on a wreck.

  • 4. Surge:

    • The most environmentally sound method to contend with surge is called:

    FIND A DEAD SPOT1. Find a rocky or dead spot near your

    subject, but out of the picture and2. Using one or two fingers, press or hold

    gently to the spot to steady yourself against the effects of the surge.

  • 5. Currents:

    • Just like surge, currents can be a challenge.• One of the best types of diving is drift diving that is done in areas like Cozumel, Mexico and Palm Beach, FL, but it can be frustrating to try to stop to do a serious photographic effort.

    • If you are diving as part of a drift group, it is very hard to keep up with the rest of the group when you are trying to stop and take photos.

    • Currents can also present the same challenges as surge when it comes to holding yourself steady to take a picture or series of pictures.

  • 5. Currents:

    • You will find that it is easier to turn around and swim against the current as you take your picture. 

    • If your subject is a fish, this presents a problem as fish usually like to face into a current. 

    • Hopefully the fish will turn to look at you.

  • 6. Changes in Temperature:

    • Thermoclines are an area in the vertical water column where the change in water temperature because you may a colder layer of water below a warm layer.

    • Large amounts of suspended matter can layer in the interface area between the cold and warmer layer.

    • This suspended matter can absorb and reflect light, allowing less to penetrate into the lower level.

    • Sometimes, because of this layer of suspended matter, you can actually see a thermocline as you approach.

    • At times, colder currents can intrude into a warm water area and the interface between the cold and warmer water can hold suspended matter.

  • 7. You Also Have to Contend with Critters that Move

    • It takes a lot of patience to photograph critters.• Coral and sponges are fixed in place, but fish, crabs,

    lobsters, and eels MOVE.• They do not take commands.• They will turn, dart away, go into holes and under

    ledges.• We have many tricks of the trade to pass along on a

    dive trip to help you.

  • • It is very important that you understand the basic operation, handling, and controls of your camera.

    • Therefore you start first taking a lot of land pictures making different settings on your camera and learning the controls.

    • After you are comfortable with this, you will put your camera in the housing and take the same type of pictures.

    • You will learn to use the zoom feature of your camera on topside shots,

    • BUT you should keep the camera lens in wide angle for underwater photography.

    Getting Ready to Take Pictures

  • 1. Load the batteries2. Load the memory card3. Turn the camera on4. Format the memory card5. Set the Shooting mode to Auto Mode (not e 6. Set the Image Mode to the highest resolution7. Set the “Manual White Balance”, if shooting

    available light.8. Disable AF assist if shooting underwater

    Getting Ready to Take Pictures

  • To open the battery compartment hold the camera upside down and:

    1. Slide the button on the door to release the door

    2. Slide the door3. Let the door pop open

    Insert the batteries correctly

    Then close the door and slide it back into position till it clicks in place

    1. Load the Batteries

  • Battery Life• AA Alkaline: 200 shots

    • AA Lithium: 680 shots – BEST CHOICE• EN-MH2: 350 shots

    Battery life will be the limiting factor for the number of pictures you can take on a dive. The above number supplied by Nikon are optimum. The “Auto Off” mode of the camera can be extended, but higher settings use battery power. It is frustrating to try to take a picture and the camera has “gone to sleep”, requiring a touch of the shutter button to turn it back on. A higher “Auto Off” time keeps the camera ready. You do not want to try to change batteries (opening the case) on the boat.

    Battery Life :

  • Batteries are harmful to the environment, especially on a small island. Therefore:


    You will want to use fresh batteries each day. These “used batteries” are excellent to power remotes and other devices at home. Use them like this till they are fully depleted. Keep your batteries separate so you always are putting in a fresh pair each day.

    Note About Battery Disposal:

  • • Open the battery component• Make sure that the write protect tab is in the off position• Make sure you have the memory card aligned correctly

    with the contacts towards the batteries

    • Insert the memory card, it will click in place• To remove the card, press down on the card and it will

    release and pop up. Then you can take it out• Protect these cards as they are the storage area for ALL

    of your work!

    2. Load the Memory Card

  • Note: The camera has an Auto Off and stand by setting. The longer you the camera monitor is on, the quicker the batteries will drain. However it is very irritating to try to take a picture of a fish, only to find the camera is in stand by. You will have to balance this to your shooting needs. Good batteries are very important.

    You can set the Auto Off to:– 30 seconds (default)– 1 minute– 5 minutes– 30 minutes

    You find the Auto Off setting in the Set Up Menu

    3. Turn Your Camera On

  • When a new memory card has been inserted in the camera the Format Card Option is displayed in the in the setup menu.When you install a fresh memory card in the camera you should format the card. Formatting the memory card permanently deletes all data. Be sure you have transferred anything on the card to a computer before formatting.

    4. Format the Memory Card

  • 5. Set the Shooting Mode to Auto


  • • You need to have your Image Mode set to the highest setting, 20MP.

    • You should use a memory card with a high capacity so that you do not need to worry about the size of each picture file.

    • You choose the highest resolution so that you can get the highest detail in your pictures.

    • You can always reduce the resolution to make the pictures a smaller file later if you want to email pictures, BUT you cannot increase the resolution!!!!

    NOTE: Memory cards cost less than 35mm film and are reusable! Buy quality cards!!!

    6. Set Image Mode

  • • Preset manual is used with mixed lighting or to compensate for light sources with a strong color cast (for example, taking pictures underwater using only available sunlight as your light source. The deeper you go, the greater the loss of warm (red – orange –yellow) colors.

    • You use Preset manual underwater to make the camera think that the blue “hue” of the water is actually white light.

    • We will learn how to set it from the start on land.• White balance manipulation can dramatically enhance

    your pictures and video.

    7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”

  • Underwater we would use our dive slate for this reference.

  • • Remember the camera sets the white balance for the current conditions. If you change depth, you have changed the conditions.

    • You do not use Preset Manual when you are using a LED photo light or strobe. In this instance you set the camera auto white balance.

    • Some underwater photographers will do a manual white balance at a few feet deeper than they are shooting and then come back up a few feet to shoot. This will give the picture a slightly warmer (red) color balance.

    • Preset Manual White Balance is a powerful tool that will bring back much of the color lost to the water column.

    7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”

  • • Using Preset Manual White Balance with a color correction filter attached can give even more dramatic results, bringing back shades of red and purple that seem to be “lost”

    • You manually set the white balance with the filter on the housing.

    • Remember to reset if you change depth.• AS LONG AS YOU KEEP YOUR SUBJECT IN DIRECT


    7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”

  • Filters are used to bring back some of the reds that are filter by the water. They are very good for taking pictures with sunlight light down to 80 feet when using pre-set manual white balance.

    External strobes and lights work well, but are limited. Filters and the white balance control are excellent to bring back color of large subjects such as sharks and wrecks. The filter slips onto the housing lens port. They should have a braided nylon line attaching them to the housing to prevent loss.

    Filter Photo at 40 ft without the filter

    Photo at 40 ft with the filter


  • 8. Disable AF assist for Underwater UseTo disable the AF assist:

    1. Press the menu button2. Go to the Set up Menu3. Use the Multi selector to tab down to

    AF assist4. Press OK5. Use the Multi selector to select “OFF”

    instead of “AUTO”6. Press OK7. Exit

    Note: This is why the use of a LED photo light is so vital on day and night dives as an aid for good focusing.

  • • Do not let your fingers touch the front of the lens

    • Hold the camera firmly and pull your elbows into your body

    • Try holding the camera in horizontal and vertical positions

    • Try using the telephoto/wide angle adjustment.

    Remember, underwater you should always use wide angle and slowly, move in as close to the subject as possible.

    Proper Technique, Holding the Camera

  • 1. Focus:• The camera focuses on the subject overlapped by the

    focus area in the center of the window. Place this area over the subject and

    • Press the shutter button halfway down

    • When the subject is in focus, the focus area and AF indicator will glow green.

    • Now you depress the shutter button all the way to take the picture

    Proper Technique ‐ Focus

  • • If you want to place your subject in another area of the viewfinder, rather than the center, you can:– Place the focus square over the subject and– Press the shutter button half way and hold to lock in the focus,

    then– Move the subject within the view finder to where ever you want

    to place it, then– Press the shutter all the way to take the picture.– The camera will hold the focus on the distance to the subject till

    you depress the shutter button all the way.– If you let up on the shutter button, you loose the focus lock– If you just move the subject and do not lock in the focus, the

    camera will focus on whatever is in the focus square and if it is just water space, the camera will focus to infinity.

    – After you have taken your picture, you must again set the focus.

    Proper Technique ‐ Focus

  • Focusing in poor light:• The camera can have

    difficulty focusing on darkly lit subjects.

    • Use the LED photo light in shadows and at night to focus.

    • The AF assist does not work well in water as the

    Proper Technique ‐ Focus

  • • Before you shoot, make sure you have either set your focus or you have the subject within the focus square.

    • Depress the shutter button with a firm steady motion.• Squeeze the button, do not punch it. Punching will cause

    camera motion and cause a blurred picture.• The camera will show you a quick preview of the picture

    as it writes it to the memory card• You can view the picture and make a judgment as to

    changes you might make for another shot - STAR• After examining the picture, you could delete it, BUT

    unless you have low memory card space, you should not delete pictures underwater as it is hard to fully judge your pictures

    Proper Technique ‐ Shoot

  • • Compact Digital Cameras like the Nikon L series have what is called a “shutter lag”. This is the time between which you press the shutter button and the picture is actually taken. This can be a problem when taking pictures of moving subjects.

    • When you press the shutter button to shoot the picture the camera must go from displaying the picture to taking the picture. It must check the focus and exposure before it takes the picture.

    • This shutter lag time can be from 0.3 to 1.0 seconds. A small number, but it can be a nuisance when the subject is moving. You will learn to pan (move) the camera with the subject as it moves. This is why it is important to practice on land with children and pets!

    Proper Technique – Shutter Lag

  • • We discussed setting the white balance and using color correction filters.

    • White balance is a unique feature to digital cameras. With a film camera, you must add colored filters to adjust for color variations.

    • With digital cameras, the cameras processor can balance the light (to some degree) to account for the color cast of the water even without the use of filters.

    • To adjust the white balance, you take a reference reading at a specific depth and lighting situation, to let the camera know what true white is suppose to be.

    • Preset white balance can be set with a color correction filter attached or without in shallower water.

    Proper Technique – White Balance

  • • You will use the internal flash underwater ONLY to fire an external strobe such as the Ikelite AE35.

    • If you are using a LED photo light underwater, you will have the internal strobe cut off.

    • On land you would normally have the internal strobe set to automatic so that it would fire if the lighting dictated that it was needed.

    • On land, even in sunlight, you will find a strobe handy to evenly light your subjects. This is called “fill lighting”. You would set the strobe to “fill flash” to get this effect.

    • Fill lighting is very good for subjects that have the sun at their back or are otherwise in a shadow.

    • We will discuss using aux lighting in detail in another section.

    Proper Technique – Auxiliary Light

  • • Panning is a technique whereby you move the camera as a subject moves and take the picture during this motion as you “track” the subject.

    • Small children and pets offer the best moving subjects to practice panning on land.

    • Continue the move as you depress the shutter. Do not stop as you shoot. Remember shutter lag.

    Proper Technique ‐ Panning

  • 1. NEVER SHOOT AT A DOWNWARD ANGLE ON YOUR SUBJECT ( Looking down on the subject)

    2.NEVER SHOOT AT A DOWNWARD ANGLE ON YOUR SUBJECT ( Looking down on the subject)

    We say this twice because it is so important

    • If you shoot at a downward angle, the subject can seem very insignificant. When you practice shooting on land take pictures of children and animals from above. Then take pictures with you on the same level as the subject. When you compare the pictures, the pictures from above will be much less appealing.

    Proper Technique – Shooting Angle

  • Poor Shooting Angle!!

    Correct Shooting Angle!

  • When shooting pictures of fish, try to be beside or in front of the fish. A picture of a fish moving towards you is much more appealing than the tail moving away from you.

    In the next unit on composition we will see examples of different shooting angles under “point of view”.

    Not good!

    Proper Technique – Subject Position

  • 1. As described:– Load the memory card– Load the batteries– Turn the camera on– Format the memory card– Set the Shooting mode to auto mode– Set the Image Mode to the highest setting– Set the “Manual White Balance”– Do not disable the AF assist for land shooting

    Now we are going to start shooting on land

    Let’s Get Ready to  Shoot!

  • • Now you are going to go out and shoot a lot of pictures. Remember you will have no film cost!

    • It is best to shoot outdoors so you can see how important sun position is for your pictures.

    • Shoot pictures of people, objects, pets, and small children. Pets and small children are particularly good as they tend to move and are not easy to control. Pan your moving subject.

    • When shooting children and pets, GET DOWN ON THEIR LEVEL. Never shoot down.

    • Concentrate on composition and lighting

    Assignment #1 – Top SideCamera without the Housing

  • These are pictures of one of my dogs taken on my deck:

    Assignment #1 – Top SideCamera without the Housing

    Note that in the picture on the left that is taken at a downwardangle, she looks very subjective to me. In the picture on the right, she looks much more natural. The picture on the right is more appealing to the eye.

  • Try some of the following types of shots:• Different points of reference to your subject

    – Straight on the subject– From above the subject– From an angle below the subject

    • Hold the camera out in front at arms length instead of trying toaim the camera at the subject

    • Hold the camera at an angle to the subject, trying to aim the camera at the subject

    You will not always be able to see your subject through the LED screen. Sometimes you will have to “shoot from the hip”. Using the LED photo light set at the proper angle on the tray and handle makes this easier underwater. Learning to “shoot from the hip”on land puts to ahead of the game.

    Assignment #1 – Top SideCamera without the Housing

  • • Now you are going to put the camera in the housing.• There are basically two types of Ikelite housings:

    – Compact housing with two latches on back that comes completely off (below left)

    – Ultra compact housing with one latch and a hinged clam shell type back (below right)

    Putting the Camera in theUnderwater Housing

  • • Housings utilize o-rings to seal them from the water • These o-rings MUST be maintained or the housing

    WILL probably leak and damage the camera and memory card.

    • The next few slides will show you how to properly open each type of housing, prepare it, clean the o-ring, clean the o-ring groove, load the camera or attach it to the back of the housing, close the housing, and inspect it after you have closed the housing.

    Preparing the Underwater Housing

  • • Housings utilize o-rings to seal them from the water • These o-rings MUST be maintained or the housing WILL

    probably leak and damage the camera and memory card. • The next few slides will show you how to properly open

    each type of housing: 1. open the housing, 2. clean the o-ring, 3. clean the o-ring groove, 4. load the camera or attach it to the back of the

    housing, 5. close the housing, and 6. inspect the housing after you have closed it.

    Preparing the Underwater Housing

  • Opening the housing:1. Open the housing by

    releasing the lock on the latch, then

    2. Pull up on the latch to open it

    3. Open the other latch

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • 1. Remove the latches from the back cover latch fitting

    2. Take the back off

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • 1. Unscrew the mounting screw and then

    2. Lift the camera up from the mounting bracket and remove the camera from the back cover

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • You are now ready to remove the back o-ring

    •Use a C-card or credit card to lift the O-ring from the groove

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • Use a Q-tip to clean the O-ring groove all the way around.

    Make sure that there is no dirt or lint in the groove.

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • 1. Check the O-ring for nicks or cuts.

    2. Use a piece of lens cloth or tissue to gently clean the O-ring. You can put a small dab of O-ring lube on the tissue to aid in the cleaning. Do not use any solvents.

    3. Make sure that there is no dirt or lint on the O-ring.

    4. Place a SMALL amount of O-ring lube on your fingers and pull the O-ring through them.

    5. Replace the O-ring.

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • 1. Place the housing with the lens port down

    2. Now you can reattach the camera to the back cover and then nestle it back into the housing unit.

    3. Place the latches into the back cover latch fitting

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • Closing the housing is a critical step. BOTH latches MUST be closed at the same time, or the O-ring can deform and give a pathway for a leak.

    Housings with 2 Latches

    1. Place a hand on each latch and

    2. Close both latches at the same time.

  • 1. After you have closed the latches, hold the camera up and check the O-ring groove all the way around to make sure that it is looks smooth and that is no dirt on the O-ring.

    You can now turn your camera on and see if all of the controls are working properly including taking a few pictures and viewing them.

    Housings with 2 Latches

  • Housings with 1 Latch and Hinge1. Open the housing by

    releasing the lock on the latch, then

    2. Pull up on the latch to open it

    3. Release the latch. Then you can…….

  • Housings with 1 Latch and Hinge1. Unseal the back

    2. Open the housing and

    3. Remove the camera. In this style of housing, the camera sits in a slot rather than being secured with a mounting screw.

  • • You should not open your camera between dives on the boat unless absolutely necessary

    • You should have put fresh batteries and memory card in your camera before each day of diving.

    • You do not do the entire o-ring cleaning process each time you open your camera, but you should check the o-ring for trash or sand each time you open the housing

    • Be careful to open the housing in as dry an area as possible. This can be difficult on a boat so do not open the housing unless you absolutely have to open it.

    • Be sure to dry your face and hair and wear a hat while you are working with an open housing. It is very easy for water to drop from your head onto a camera.

    Using the Underwater Housing


    • If there is any horse play going on around, ask the boat captain to have them thrown overboard!

    • I tell all of my scuba students to stay away from people working on cameras and NEVER put anything but camera equipment in the camera rinse tank or on the camera area.

    • Defog can etch the coatings of specialty underwater camera lenses. Dive masks should NEVER be put in the designated camera rinse tank.

    • Anyone who puts a weight belt on the camera table should be hung.

    • Later we will discuss getting your camera equipment in and out of the water.

    Using the Underwater Housing

  • 1. Both clasps are released to remove the back of the housing

    2. Remove the back3. Inspect the sealing o-ring4. Remove the mounting tray and attach the camera to the

    tray with the mounting screw.5. With the housing facing down, slide the tray back into

    the housing6. Set the back onto the housing7. Attach the clasp assembly on each but do not close yet8. With the housing on a firm surface, using your thumbs,

    close both clasps at the same time9. If you close one then the other, the o-ring can become

    deformed. This will cause the camera to leak.

    Compact Housing - 2 Clasps

  • 1. Release the clasp2. Open the back3. Inspect the sealing o-ring4. There is no mounting tray in this type of housing. The

    camera slips into a bracket5. With the housing facing down, slide the camera into the

    housing6. Slowly and smoothly, close the back of the housing. If

    you close it too quickly, the o-ring can become deformed and the housing can leak.

    7. Attach the clasp assembly and close it.

    Ultra Compact Housing - 1 Clasps

  • 1. After you have closed the housing, hold the housing up and inspect the o-ring to make sure that it looks uniform and that there is no dirt or trash on the o-ring.

    2. Attach the tray to the camera housing (We will discuss this accessory later)

    3. If you are on a boat, place your camera in the shade in the designated camera area that most dive boats now have

    4. Watch your camera, some divers are idiots and do not understand that you camera may mean more to you that your wife or husband and that you will protect it with your life

    After Closing the Housing

  • • Now you are going to go out and shoot a lot of pictures with thecamera in the housing.

    • Do pretty much the same as you did before:– Shoot outdoors so you can see how important sun position

    is for your pictures. – Shoot people, objects, pets, and kids– When shooting kids and pets, GET DOWN ON THEIR LEVEL.

    Never shoot down.– Concentrate on composition and lighting– Keep the lens on wide angle setting and try to get as close to

    your subject as you can

    Do the same types of shooting you did with the camera alone in the first assignment. Practice, Practice, Practice!

    Assignment #2 – Top SideCamera in the Housing

  • You Have to Contend with All of This, BUT,

    You Are Going to Take Remarkable Pictures of So

    Many Things That Most People Will Never See,

    Unless You Show Them!

    Underwater Digital PhotographyCourse ObjectiveSTARSunlightSunlightSunlightSunlightTaking Pictures in a Bowl of Blue Plankton Soup!You Have to Contend with:1. Attenuation of Sunlight by the Water Column:Total Light Path in the Water Column:Total Light Path in the Water Column:Underwater Photography - Basic Rule:2. All Kinds of Suspended Matter:3. Backscatter:3. Backscatter:3. Backscatter:3. Backscatter:4. Surge:4. Surge:5. Currents:5. Currents:6. Changes in Temperature:7. You Also Have to Contend with Critters that MoveGetting Ready to Take PicturesGetting Ready to Take Pictures�1. Load the BatteriesBattery Life :�Note About Battery Disposal:�2. Load the Memory Card3. Turn Your Camera On4. Format the Memory Card �6. Set Image Mode�7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”�7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”7. Set “Preset Manual White Balance”Filters8. Disable AF assist for Underwater UseProper Technique, �Holding the CameraProper Technique - FocusProper Technique - FocusProper Technique - FocusProper Technique - ShootProper Technique – Shutter LagProper Technique – White BalanceProper Technique – Auxiliary LightProper Technique - PanningProper Technique – Shooting AngleLet’s Get Ready to Shoot!Assignment #1 – Top Side�Camera without the HousingAssignment #1 – Top Side�Camera without the HousingAssignment #1 – Top Side�Camera without the HousingPutting the Camera in the�Underwater HousingPreparing the Underwater HousingPreparing the Underwater HousingHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 2 LatchesHousings with 1 Latch and HingeHousings with 1 Latch and HingeUsing the Underwater HousingUsing the Underwater HousingCompact Housing - 2 ClaspsUltra Compact Housing - 1 ClaspsAfter Closing the HousingAssignment #2 – Top Side�Camera in the HousingYou Have to Contend with All of This, BUT,�You Are Going to Take Remarkable Pictures of So Many Things That Most People Will N