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How was this underwater photo taken - no. 1

You come across beautiful underwater photos everywhere. While scrolling through your social media, on your favourite website about diving and in magazines and leaflets.
Ever wondered how those breathtaking underwater photos come about?
What camera was the picture taken with, What camera settings were chosen? What do they do with aperture, shutter speed and ISO anyway?

Find out what factors go into taking the most perfect photo possible and take advantage of them when you dive into the water with your camera!

The underwater photo:

hoe is deze onderwaterfoto gemaakt

About the picture in general:

This photo was taken on 5 October 2022 on Gozo, the smaller island next to Malta. The dive site is called Xlendi Bay.
The tunnel is 80 metres long and about 8-10 metres deep.

Which camera setup was used?

At this time, I was shooting with the Sony a6500 with the 16-50 mm lens.
The camera was in a Fantasea underwater housing with matching port for the lens.
To have more wide angle, I used the UWL-09 Wide Angle Wetlens.
Two iDivesite Symbiosis lights were on the water housing, but were not used.

What were the settings of the camera?

ISO 1000
Aperture 6.3
1/125 sec shutterspeed
Manual settings
Zoomed in at 28 mm

The photo has a lot of contrast, with the dark parts in shadow in the foreground of the tunnel and a very light part towards the exit of the cave. It was an overcast day that day, which helped to keep the highlights low in the water outside the tunnel.

By choosing a lower aperture, I could avoid having to use an even higher iso. With aperture 6.3, I do get some blur in the corners of the photo with the Sony a6500, but since the corners in the photo were going to be dark anyway, I didn't think this was a problem. This allowed me to choose the right camera settings for this photo.

What lighting techniques were used?

The light shining in from outside the tunnel gave the perfect beam of light to put the photo model in the spotlight. Because the light shines on the bottom of the tunnel, there is good separation, so the diver does not disappear into the shadows.

Why was this composition chosen?

I took a number of different shots with different compositions and positions of the diver. My obvious choice was to place the diver in the centre of the light. This did not make the composition more exciting and the diver was rendered too centrally for my taste.
Pointing the camera slightly to the side made the tunnel entrance less central, and letting the diver swim into the sun's rays and creating more distance created this composition.

What post-processing techniques were used?

The photo was further processed in Lightroom. The balance between highlights and shadows have been enhanced by bringing back the highlights and lifting the shadows slightly.
Contrast and brightness have been increased to enhance the details of the tunnel walls.

Meer zien in deze serie:

Hoe is deze onderwaterfoto gemaakt – No. 2