You Can Do It with Digital
In the August column, I shared with you some favorites from my underwater catalog that were captured on film, before digital SLR cameras were available and affordable. That was so last century! With the advent of digital technology, and all of the subsequent improvements in the digital imaging industry, underwater photography has evolved more quickly and dramatically in the past 5 years than in any other time in its history. No longer do we have to wait days or weeks to see if we exposed the frame properly. No longer is our film processing responsible for untold gallons of toxic chemicals being potentially leached into our environment. We can now bracket our exposures, tinker with composition, and experiment with all kinds of exposure combinations without being restricted to a maximum of 36 shots on a dive. No more missed shots of the manta flyby on your safety stop, or the mimic octopus just under the boat (both of these happened to me when I was a film shooter).
Digital technology has changed the learning curve on underwater photography so dramatically that just about anyone can capture images digitally that would have been considered "ground breaking" in the film era.
So, this month I am going to share a few of my images, all captured digitally, that prove the above assertion that just about anyone can capture award-winning images underwater, if they put in the time and effort.
Boys and Baitfish
2004—Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea
2007—Havelock Island, Andaman Islands, India
Diver and Sweepers
2008—Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua Province, Indonesia
Squid at Night
2008—Triton Bay, West Papua Province, Indonesia
I am certainly not saying that you can buy a new underwater photo system, plunge into the water, and end up shooting award-winning images on your first dive. However, I am saying that if you make the effort to learn about general photography, understand the abilities and limits of your specific camera system, research your dive sites before actually getting wet, and become proficient with your diving and buoyancy skills, you will find that your images will improve quickly and dramatically. With a little luck thrown in, you could have some winners on your hands, too!
Until next time, have fun, and dive safe!
To view more of Jeff's work, log on to www.jeffyonover.com.