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Underwater Photography Essentials: Part 5

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Tips, ideas and advice for budding underwater photographers

by Nick Robertson-Brown FRPS

Part 5: Composition – Baseline

When considering how to compose your image, it is important to consider the part of the picture that supports the subject – this is known as the baseline. Unless you are going to black out your background, the baseline will put the subject into perspective and this is particularly important in underwater photography, as many of the subjects are not animals or artefacts that are known to everybody.

Apart from super close-up macro shots, it often pays to present the subject in its environment and it is nearly always the case that the image will work better if you get the whole subject and baseline into the frame. There are times, of course, when this is difficult as you may not have the right lens on your camera, and changing lenses underwater is obviously not an option. You could of course change the angle or distance that you are shooting from to bring the whole subject into frame, but the more water there is between your camera and the subject, the less detail and light will be in your image.

It can sometimes be difficult to get the baseline set correctly and you may often find there is too much negative space either in the foreground or background, or even both. Whilst your subject may create a pleasing image, very often the subject itself can be lost in the environment. It is a case of balancing the subject against its environment, and the best way to do this is to capture several images of the same subject from different angles or by moving closer or further away. Modern cameras, with high ISOs and dynamic range, allow you to crop the image far more so than you would have done just a few years ago. However, less cropping will give better resolution so it is always best to take the image as you would want to present it. In many ways it is like telling a story; if you close in on the image too much, then you may miss out on showing why the subject is doing what it is.

Take a look at these images. The first one shows a diver with a torch, but there is no baseline, and therefore, there is no story. You cannot see what the diver is looking at or shining their torch on.

1-no-baseline

In the second image, the barrel sponge provides a baseline and also begins to tell the story. The diver is not simply hanging in midwater but shining a torch on to a subject.

2-better-with-baseline

The third image gives an even wider view of the reef the diver is exploring. Now it is a matter of personal taste and what story you are trying to tell.

3-wide-shot

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Nick bookDo you want to learn more? You can pick up a copy of Nick’s book “Underwater Photography Art & Techniques” by clicking here. For a signed copy, click here.

Underwater Photography Courses

Contact Nick for information on the Frogfish Photography Complete Underwater Photography Award, designed for 1:1 and small group sessions to improve your underwater photography at your pace.underwater photography

                    www.frogfishphotography.com | frogfishphotos@gmail.com  | +44 (0)161 9177101

Gear News

SCUBAPRO CARES – Step by step for the protection of our oceans

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For over 50 years Scubapro has been committed to diving and marine conservation. From optimising materials and manufacturing techniques to sponsoring conservation organisations and the work of the Deep Elite Ambassadors, Scubapro is committed to helping preserve the oceans.

The goal is to create awareness for the oceans and encourage divers to get involved in environmental protection. Scubapro has partnerships with Mission Blue, Galapagos National Parks, Conservation International, WWF, Antinea Foundation, San Diego Oceans Foundation, REEF, National Marine Life Center, Sharkproject, SOS Sea Turtles, Ozeankind, Yaqu Pacha and many more.

SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTS

Scubapro divewear is the greenest – or bluest – in the industry. In 2012, Scubapro was the first manufacturer to use X-Foam neoprene. In 2017, again as the first manufacturer, the solvent-free Aqua Alpha glue followed in Everflex suits. Today, all Scubapro dry suits, wetsuits, shortys, hoods and gloves thicker than 1.5 mm are made with this solvent-free glue. In addition, the standards for neoprene include the use of only environmentally beneficial doped-dyed yarns, carbon black components from recycled tyres and 100% petroleum-free limestone

“Scubapro was one of the first brands to stop using petroleum-based neoprene and to start using neoprene that was gained from Limestone instead. By developing the Everflex 3/2mm no zip, we have tried to produce a natural-based neoprene suit. We have also used solvent free glue for the fabric production and suit assembly which complies to REACH regulations for pollutant free production processes. Having had the chance to spend time with the workers on the production chain, I can tell that this is a serious milestone for ensuring their health and developing an eco-friendlier level of neoprene.”

– Nicolas Vincent, Scubapro product manager Dive Wear & Bags 

RESPONSIBLE PACKAGING

As part of its Responsible Packaging program, Scubapro is gradually reducing the use of plastic packaging. Some measures that have already been implemented: 

  • Recycled cardboard boxes or protective containers for masks that can be used sustainably for transport and storage of accessories.
  • Boots in fabric bags that can be used for transport and storage as well as a wash or shoe bag.
  • Headbands, neoprene mask straps, gloves and other accessories are delivered on recycled label cards as packaging.
  • Regulators, computers, and regulator maintenance kits are shipped in cardboard packaging without plastic.
  • Fins in recycled cardboard boxes or in mesh bags that can be used for transport and storage or as bags for marine debris when diving.

The complete elimination of plastic and the reduction of total packaging are the goals of the Responsible Packaging program. Innovative packaging solutions for more products will be introduced
in the near future.

Further information: www.scubapro.eu/scubapro-cares

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Marine Life & Conservation

The IMPERFECT Conservationist, Episode #4: Think Like an IMPERFECT Conservationist – Why ‘imperfect’ is important (Watch Video)

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Why does “Imperfect” matter when it comes to conservation? In this video I explain how being imperfect is important especially when it comes to conservation. This is a view into the mindset of being an Imperfect Conservationist.

This is “The IMPERFECT Conservationist” – Episode #4, a between the scenes Special Edition. In this series I take the big concepts of conservation and break them down into easily digestible bite-size pieces that can be applied to everyday busy life. In each video you will get your dose of “Conservation Empowerment” with ways to THINK like an IMPERFECT Conservationist and EASY – AFFORDABLE – IMPACTFUL conservation action that fits into your life. We can’t do it all, or do it perfectly but when it comes to being part of the solution, we can always do something! Be inspired, inspire others, do something good. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button, and the bell so you know when my new videos post! More on my website and social channels too.

Subscribe HERE for weekly episodes of The Imperfect Conservationist!


Find out more at www.mehganheaneygrier.com

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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