One of my favorite days during the MSDT program was the Digital Underwater Photography Specialty. I come from a media background and found this course to provide great information about underwater photography. We looked at shooting techniques and camera settings as well as post production of our photos.
This is my favorite shot from my photography muck dive at Mango Bay.
MSDT Photography Specialty
We started by talking about proper procedures on how to care for the camera and its housing. We also learned about additional gear and all the checks we need to do before we take it on a dive. Because the underwater housings and cameras vary so greatly, we covered broad techniques that apply to most systems.
Then we focused on diving techniques that are specific when taking an underwater camera on a dive. We discussed proper entries and exits, checking the o-ring seal before descending and perfecting buoyancy while taking images. This is invaluable in order to protect your new camera and take great photos with it. We also learned more about diving with a buddy when taking a camera.
Later Paddy focused on actual underwater shooting techniques, such as white balance, camera angles and action moments. He spoke about choosing and learning more about your subject and how important it is to observe their behavior. Furthermore, we talked about using single and dual strobe setups. How to set the strobe angles in order to capture the ideal image.
My favorite part of the muck dive at Mango Bay was to really observe my subject before taking the photo. The Shrimp Goby above has a symbiotic relationship with the Pistol Shrimp for example. I spent several minutes observing their interaction on the camera screen. I felt like I really got to know a little of this Goby’s character before I took the shot.
Post Production of Underwater Images
Paddy introduced us to software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. He went over the basics of editing shots stored in the JPG format as well as the camera RAW format. We learned basic operations of Adobe Lightroom and what each of the sliders do. We also got some very useful tips on how much to use certain settings, and the order in which to do things.
If you have just bought or own a camera with underwater housing, I really recommend taking the PADI Digital Underwater Photography Specialty. It greatly improves the quality of underwater pictures you take while diving Koh Tao!
Diving in Koh Tao provides some fantastic opportunities to learn how to take wonderful underwater photos. There are many shallow and easy dive sites where divers can completely focus on taking pictures.
I’m glad this specialty was part of my MSDT. Read more about doing your IDC (Instructor Development Course) at Sairee Cottage Diving
You can learn more about the MSDT program at Sairee Cottage Diving here