The July meeting was called to order by our president, T.O. Galloway. Our librarian, Brenda Schillaci, advised that there is a current list of books, etc., on our website that are available for members to borrow. There is also still a need for people to volunteer to bring refreshments to the meetings as well as volunteers to do slide show presentations.
Our guest speakers today were Paul Lenharr II and Ryan DeGruy who spoke to us about Underwater Photography Basics. Paul is the owner of Southern Maryland Divers, LLC, a business he started 4 years ago. He has been diving since 2004 and now has over 800 dives. He is a mostly self-taught photographer. Ryan is a Southern Maryland native who has been diving and doing photography since 2010.
First of all, underwater photography is a very equipment intense activity. There are several different options when it comes to equipment.
1. Compact point and shoot cameras (like a Go-Pro) - Compact camera advantages include:
They are easy to travel with and lighter to carry around, have less drag underwater, cost less, and you can change lenses underwater – with “wet” lenses you can shoot macro, wide-angle, and video all in one dive.
Disadvantages include: They have a smaller sensor which means more noise, smaller dynamic range, increased shutter delay, and focus delay optics are a lesser quality. There are also fewer choices in good quality lenses. Only a couple models can shoot in RAW format or use a true fisheye lens. There is also less control over depth of field.
2. D/SLR (Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sony, Fuji) - Waterproof housing is available for most cameras. Advantages of D/SLR cameras include: the ability to shoot in RAW format, as well as the availability of more camera features including aperture settings, shutter speed settings, and depth of field.
Disadvantages include: the need for two handed operation for accessing most camera features which makes it more difficult to use underwater. Housing and lighting set up is very bulky which adds to drag, making it difficult to capture fleeting moments.
3. Underwater “Ready” Cameras - systems with underwater housing made specifically for underwater photography. Advantages of this type of camera include the availability of full manual mode, good quality underwater housing, availability of “wet” lenses for macro, wide angle, and fisheye, and the ability to shoot in RAW format. They also have a longer battery life, low shutter lag, good auto focus capability, ability to fire strobes via a sync cord, and ease of adjustment of the aperture and shutter speeds. There are several underwater camera choices depending on how deep you will be diving as well as how much you are willing to spend. Prices range from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Lighting is another issue when shooting underwater. Water absorbs light and so light levels drop at lower depths. Also, the color red is absorbed faster than blue causing loss of color, especially at lower depths. In addition, water reduces contrast and sharpness making it necessary to get close to subjects. There are four sources for light:
- Strobes are best and bring color back in. Dual strobes give you more options with angles of the light and avoiding shadows on your subject.
- Dive lights work well for video.
- Focus lights, which are used more for macro photography
- Sunlight, which works on a bright day in the top 25 feet
Light penetration also depends on surface conditions. Choppy water reflects more light. Sunlight from the horizon reflects more than sunlight from above. The brightest conditions are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a sunny day. Early morning and later afternoon light has a soft, diffused quality. Other things to consider are the color and the direction of the light.
Another issue when shooting underwater is backscatter caused by strobes or internal flash lighting up particles in the water. To avoid backscatter point strobes away from your subject, take photos away from other divers in areas where the water is not stirred up, and use proper fins and frog-kick to achieve perfect buoyancy in order to avoid stirring up particles any more than necessary. Shooting macro where you are only inches away from your subject also reduces the amount of backscatter in your photo. For a better composition, find an interesting background such as the reef, rather than shooting against a background of open water.
There are additional challenges when it comes to “deep” diving. Deep dives involve more equipment, both scuba and photographic. Equipment with a greater depth rating is also more costly. Safety must be a priority when deep diving and so there are greater training requirements. Site access may be an issue and the deeper you go the more need there is for additional lighting equipment.
Using a rebreather has advantages over using a tank. With a rebreather there are no bubbles to scare the underwater life and you also have longer bottom times, thus more time for photography! This is especially important when deep diving, since it takes additional time to get both to and from the site. The disadvantages of using a rebreather are that it is both equipment intensive and training intensive.
A slide presentation was given by Sharon Shifflett.
Submissions for the July photo assignment were submitted by Sandy Carr, Jim Rogers, Brenda Schillaci, and Rick MacQuade.
The photo assignment for August is: H2O.
Official meet up time was 8 a.m., but some members arrived earlier to see the falls, canals, and locks before the area got too crowded.
There are several locks within a short stretch of the canal, each with their own look and beauty.
The Great Falls Overlook is so noisy you can barely speak to each other, with pretty views of the water, rapids, rocks, and sometimes kayakers upstream and downstream. It was fun to watch kayakers maneuver through the rushing water and drops through the rapids.
The Charles F. Mercer packet boat and the visitor center itself are great photo subjects with their reflections in the water of the canal.
We chose to do the mule drawn boat ride on the Charles F. Mercer to experience a small part of travel up the canal as it was done in the past. People in period dress crew the boat and locks. They are the “human mules” to get the boat into the lock. Then, once through the lock, the actual mules are hooked up to pull the boat a little way up the canal before turning around to return to the starting point. It is a pretty fun experience to rise up in the lock from low enough that the ground is about at your head level, then slowly come even with the second story of the visitor center!
After the boat ride, we grabbed some lunch at the picnic area, where geese with their fuzzy yellow goslings weren’t the least bit shy about begging lunch. We enjoyed getting some close up shots of these natives of the area.
Some of us then watched the next tour of the Charles F. Mercer, getting the experience from canal-side, this time. It was a very warm day, so we didn’t envy the crew in their long dresses or long shirtsleeves and boots and stockings.
All in all, this is a lovely spot with great photo opportunities. I’m looking forward to going again someday just to see how far down the canal I can hike and what other picturesque areas I can find.
The June meeting was called to order by our President, T.O. Galloway.
Our guest speaker for the June 2015 meeting was club member Mike McWilliams who spoke to us on the topic Sharing Your Images Via Social Media.
Basic tips for sharing photos on social media:
- Upload low resolution only to avoid having your images stolen
- Use watermarks
- Remember, once on the Internet, always there!
- Remember privacy settings – make it public for mass viewing, or private for friends and family only.
- If you want your photo to get more views, engage people. Share on pages of public figures or groups.
- Pre-size image for wallpaper or other intended uses.
- Add links to your website for reference.
- Run contests or offer tips for more shares
- Use “tagging” and “#hashtags” for more visibility – this is a good way to draw attention to a certain subject.
This is a website which allows you to both display your photos and have discussions with those viewing your work. You have your own page on which to post your work, but you can also post your photos to various groups, both public and private, for more visibility. It allows you to connect with groups based on different interests, as well as with other individual photographers whose work you wish to follow. By following other photographers, or just clicking on the Explore button, you can get all sorts of ideas! Further features include mapping the location of photos, tagging photos for increased visibility, and setting the copyright for your photos.
This is a great way to promote a business. The business version of Facebook includes ways to track and research who and how many people are seeing your photographs as well as when the most people are viewing your page. You can view the breakdown of sex, age, location, and language of your viewers. You can also follow other people, businesses, or groups. You can send an invitation to people to “like” your page and can set up the page in a format that works best to promote your business. And you can post albums of pictures of a particular event. You can also schedule posts to appear at different times of the day or week depending on when the most followers are online. The more people “like,” comment on, and share your photos, the more it will show up on their homepages and the more views it will get. It is also a good idea to share your business page to your personal page. In addition, you can pay Facebook to have your page shared more. Tagging people also increases views. There are numerous options to manage pages including a profanity filter, how comments are displayed, and age restrictions.
This is a great website for saving ideas and using as a business tool to show your ideas to clients. It is basically a virtual bulletin board that allows you to “pin” ideas found on the Internet, or you can upload your own photos. You can have “boards” on any number of subjects for which you wish to collect ideas. Each time someone “pins” something from your webpage it links back to your website for easy reference. You can search for a specific subject and also follow other people’s pins. Your boards can be either public or private.
This is a website/mobile app which is used mostly for pictures. Basically, it is all about photography! You can hashtag when uploading photos so that they can be searched and therefore gain more visibility. You can “like” or comment on photos and follow other people’s posts as well. When uploading from your smartphone there is an option to add different effects and filters, as well as other editing features.
This is a website that is mostly for quick messaging using a limited number of character; however, pictures can also be posted. Hashtags can be used and topics can be searched, as well. You can also find out what is trending.
Sandy Carr presented a slide show on the Lonaconing Silk Mill.
The June photo assignment was “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”. Photos were submitted by Nick Iascone, Sharon Shifflett, Debbie McIntosh, and Tammi Gorsak.
Photo Assignment for July