This year when we were packing for our summer holiday to Cyprus I had the tough choice of choosing between my diving gear and my DSLRs. Alas the diving gear won! However, I was not going to leave home without a camera, at least. So I decided to pack my trusted Canon Ixus 960IS and its Canon Underwater Housing.
I was introduced to underwater photography by the underwater compact camera guru himself, Paul Duxfield from Cameras Underwater. I subscribe to Dive Magazone and a couple of years ago he was the guest photographer providing tuition in underwater photography using compact cameras.
The beauty of underwater photography using a compact is that you don’t required loads of space to carry your equipment, you don’t require huge strobes, and the results are awesome.
Here are the instructions to get started with underwater photography –
The first thing that is needed is to get the housing prepared. Take the O ring and lube it with silicone gel to ensure that there are no leaks.
Carefully place the O ring into its groove making sure that there are no hairs, or other foreign objects that would allow water to leak in and damage the camera.
Prior to placing the camera into its housing ensure that the battery is fully charged and your memory card is formatted.
Place the camera inside the housing and close the door and lock it shut.
It is important to note the camera settings at this point. The camera has to be set to manual, flash off, and the white balance needs to be set to manual, too. I cannot speak for other cameras, but on the Canon you can assign the printer button on the rear of the camera to ‘set’ the white balance which is key to getting the right colour temperature. It is also important to remember that you should be in possession of a white divers’ slate when diving in order to use when setting the white balance.
Prior to taking the photograph, set the white balance by pointing the camera to the white slate. The white balance will now be set for the depth you are at. Compose the image, depress the shutter half way and when ready take the picture.
After your dive, don’t be tempted to open the housing straight away. You must remember camera aftercare and this involves rinsing the camera housing in fresh water, and then leaving it to soak and giving it another rinse prior to drying and then opening. Carefully remove the O ring, clean it with a cloth that will not leave any fibres on it. When complete rub silicone gel on it and replace.
I hope that this has been useful? It is a really simple guide but the quality of the pictures are amazine. If you do not have a compact camera I would recommend that you get one and a housing if you want to take it underwater. Go to CamerasUnderwater and you will not be dissapointed!
All the pictures in the slideshow were taken on a Canon Ixus 960IS, wide angle lens, manual setting, no flash, manual white balance, evaluative metering, and use of exposure compensation where required.
If you have any questions, or would like to give some feedback get in touch!
- Don’t hold your breath when taking underwater photographs
- Always monitor your depth and how much air you have left in your tank
Thanks and see you soon!