I asked myself what I had learned in my course so far and wondered if it would make a difference to my shots I would take on holiday.
I had bought a flash for my underwater housing before my holiday to the Solomon Islands on a dive boat called the Bilikiki. I hadn’t used it so got straight down to setting it up on arrival.
My underwater setup is Sony RX100 in a Ikelite Housing which allows every function to be accessed underwater along with a Ikelite 35 Strobe (flash).
I took test shots and checked my kit wouldn’t flood on the first dive without the camera in the housing. On the second dive I saw this clownfish peeping at me. I grabbed this shot and was impressed with the performance.
Colour disappears quickly underwater, it goes in the same order as colour in a rainbow. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
Red goes in the first 5 metres depending on the water clarity.
The strobe put the colour back in the scene.
There are two ways to control this in camera. One is to use custom white balance and a white card on each shot. Or use a flash, I chose the second.
This flash has a light sensor on the arm that picks up the onboard flash of your camera. It to others which use a fibre optic cable or direct cable to the camera. In my opinion this gives another flood point so risks your camera.
The strobe used is a less expensive flash than some but none the less comes withsome great features. It gives 5700k of light meaning it puts colour back in the shot. The strobe is on top of a flexible arm so you can change the position of the light source. The arm is not too long so you cant get great distance from the lens.
The strobe has a dial on the arm that allows exposure to be dialled down and fine tuned. This is simple as you need to able to do it underwater in gloves. It has settings 1-7. The main setting is on the reverse of the strobe unit and is just as easy to set.
I found I used 4 mainly on macro and 7 when I wanted a Black Sea to isolate a subject.
Flash made a difference in the detail I could collect. The hardest shot was of a Pygmy Seahorse which is only 2mm long. It lives in a sea fan and doesn’t move. It is hard to spot. I was delighted when I got this shot. I used a low flash setting as light can upset the Seahorse.
This group of sea bream were being hunted by Trevally. I would never have got this shot without flash.
I think my course has given me many new skills. I got better shots from fewer exposures.
Giving me time to look at what was In front of me. I saw better composition and with flash could capture more colour and detail. Meaning I captured the pristine reef. A privilege for me to share with you!