A few months ago we attended the Introduction to Underwater Photography course run my INON UK at the club. It was a completely free session that gave you a taste of what could be achieved when taking pictures underwater. Lisa Collins gave a great introduction to composition and Steve Warren gave hints and tips on lighting. It was only a short course but enough to whet the appetite so I immediately signed up for the 2 day Level 1 course when it was advertised!
The training weekend was now here and so was my new strobe! Perfect timing!
We were very lucky to be taught by Lisa Collins who’s pictures and articles are regularly published in various Diving magazines.
Excellent – taught by a celebrity!
The two days were to be divided up between classroom based theory and practical exercises in the pool. Lisa started by taking us through Contrast and Camera Basics which gave a good grounding and highlighted how little I knew about my camera and what all the buttons did…….. I must find the instruction booklet…….
We progressed on to scary things like F Stops/Aperture, ISO and shutter speed – sooo much to remember but perfectly explained with plenty of high quality images displayed on OVs fabulous new LCD screen to illustrate the effect of adjusting these settings.
As we progressed through the topics there was healthy rivalry on who could score the most on the knowledge tests at the end of each section!
White Balance, filters, lighting, avoiding backscatter, lenses were all covered finishing with some hints and tips on different shooting techniques that can be used to get great images. We finished the tuition with a really important section on Camera Preparation and how to avoid the dreaded flood – this would come in very useful for one of the course attendees!!
We had time in the classroom to try out what we had learned and we practiced taking pictures of some very compliant sea life which made fiddling with camera buttons, taking notes and asking questions very easy.
Brains ready to explode we finished for the day to go home and recharge our batteries – literally!
Sunday was a practical pool session with lots of exercises designed to get you trying out different settings and getting to know how your camera behaves in different situations. We progressed on to the dreaded manual settings and even scarier manual white balance with reasonable success so next we tackled macro!
I have had my macro lens for nearly a year but have had zero success so we focused on this for a while. Lisa had brought along her collection of very easy going marine life that didn’t mind being photographed and sat still while I fiddled, clicked, tweaked and clicked again.
After nearly 2 ½ hrs in the pool my battery finally ran out so we dried off ready for the debrief. In total over 150 underwater shots were taken and some of them are actually not bad.
Lisa reviewed ALL of my images and giving guidance and advice on how I could improve the image and didn’t once laugh at my blurred attempts – as we went through the images you could gradually see the improvement that her skilled instruction and encouragement had managed to achieve.
This has been a valuable and enjoyable course and I can hardly wait for the 18 sleeps until I am off on the OV Club live aboard trip to Egypt to get stuck in. I’m just hoping the marine life is as easy going as those on the OV House Reef!
Thanks Lisa Collins, INON UK and Oceanview!