Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Back to Basics - Maldives on Film


Our most recent trip for Spring Break was an amazing experience that Elise and I will not soon forget.  From huge Mantas to giant Whale Sharks, the underwater world of the Maldives is a playground for divers seeking large pelagics.

I would like to say that I decided to shoot my diving experience on my film camera (Nikonos V with two SB105s) in order to get back to basics.  The truth is that this camera is the only one that I own.  The price of an underwater housing in addition to the required strobes make it cost prohibitive for me to purchase a housing for my 5D III.

Before we left I reviewed the basics of using strobes underwater.  I went online and took a look at guide numbers of my strobes.  Other resources that I read suggested that in order to calculate the guide number for 2 strobes I would need to multiply the guide number by a factor of 1.4.  I then consulted the Essential Guide to the Nikonos System (portions are available free on Google books).  This provided me with enough information to calculate some starting exposure values.  I laminated this exposure chart and took it with me on dives to help me calculate my camera settings.  If you are interested in this chart, or want to know more about this process, please contact me and I would be happy to share it if you are interested.


I then set corresponding apertures, strobe power settings and distances according to this chart.  My general strategy was to set the camera for a specific type of shot and only shoot those pictures on that specific guide.  Later in the week I broke from this pattern as I started to memorize the chart and was able to adapt on the go.  These adaptations were mostly unsuccessful and I found that the shots that I took that were preplanned were much more successful.


I took about 200 photos.  The images that were most successful are posted below.  You can also see more images on my Facebook page.  The experience of going back to film was a good one.  It took me back to basics and allowed me to apply things that I have learned in the digital world to the film photography.




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