By Robert Currer
Blue. Blue, blue, and more blue. I scowled at my screen as I clicked through the images from my most recent dive trip. I didn’t understand. There had been so much color! Great big hunks of golden coral-crusted rock crowned with swaying purple fans had been occupied by a pulsing city of fish, crabs, and eels every color of the rainbow and some colors I would have sworn never existed before. I saw it, saw it with my own eyes. Yet, only varying shades of marine blue stuck in the lens of my camera.
If you can relate to the above, the PADI Digital Underwater Photography course might be for you. The course is designed to take students, divers and non-divers alike, with no experience in underwater photography and arm them with all the knowledge and skills they will need to start taking satisfying photos.
Underwater Photography: Where Art and Science Meet
Light behaves differently, but predictably underwater. Water absorbs white light, breaking it into its constituent colors. Reds and yellows disappear first, and blues fade last. Light bounces off suspended particulate creating spots of white, and everything appears a little closer than it actually is. Your brain is a far more sophisticated computer than the one in your camera. It accounts for these changes without you even having to think about it.
However, your camera can only report what it senses with a limited ability to adjust for the dynamics of the situation without your input. The Digital Underwater Photography course teaches you how light interacts with your camera and simple techniques to take advantage of these scientific principles in your photography.
These techniques help you find favorable shooting conditions to make the most of the light that reaches your camera. You’ll also learn simple guidelines, like the rule of thirds, to help you compose photos that are more appealing to the eye.
Lights, Camera, Action
Of course, having a quality camera, strobes, and various other equipment can allow you to make more out of the light you do have. The Digital Underwater Photography course teaches you how to use shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to craft topnotch photos under a multitude of conditions.
You’ll also learn how to use strobes (an underwater version of a flash) to add light and color back into your photos while minimizing the white spots you may have seen in past shots. Using these simple techniques any photographer can begin crafting beautiful images that capture the vibrancy of the underwater world as you see it.
Underwater Photography Done Your Way
Best of all, the Digital Underwater Photography course is flexible. There are two levels of the program. Level One can be taken either on scuba or on snorkel, allowing even non-divers to benefit from course information. It can even be completed in the pool, an option that is especially useful for students who want time to learn their camera without the variability of currents and weather.
Level Two dives deeper into the subject by taking divers to the open water where they put their new skills into real life application. There, they make full use of their camera to compose photos to be proud of. At the end of the course, these photos are edited using computer software to touch up color, clarity, and composition until they are Instagram ready.
So, if you have ever wanted to take better photos underwater or even to try your hand at it for the first time, the PADI Digital Underwater Photography course may be right for you!