My camera is in the water … Deliberately!

The Plan.

The day didn’t start with a swim as part of the plan, however when an update arrived from the Wild Seas Centre (my ‘seaside office) advising of amazing condition, calm and clear, it slipped in as a good way to wind up a scorching day. Batteries charged, camera housing prepared, camera controls reprised and initial setting input. Tucked into a bag along with a range of snorkelling kit it was off to Kimmeridge in the calm before the rush hour.

The Kit.

The kit used was fairly minimalist, I could have just gone with the Panasonic tough camera, my ‘go to’ wet pursuits camera, but I find it lacks low light capability, and even on a bright sunny day the light levels sub surface soon fall off. So the next step up on the minimalist approach is a better specified compact in an underwater housing. Over the years I have had a number of the Canon ‘G’ series Powershot compacts, only replaced when they die or are killed (oops!). The current one, a G5X is a sound performer, still not a low light lover but for the price good enough. The housing by Ikelight is camera specific, even allowing the Canon eTTL system to control an external strobe.

The Action

The bay was very lightly populated, with the majority of the visitors not bothering to walk beyond a stone’s throw from the beach entrance. That suited my plan well as I dislike leaving my bag on a busy beach and the are I was working from had three other couples, one pair being a photographer on a one to one with Dorset’s landscape guru, Guy Edwardes. It is easy to see why the bay receives a lot of photographic attention.

It is pleasing to say that the water was around 17C! So, for the first time, the first flush of water through the wetsuit didn’t take my breath away. In fact I was over-suited (thanks Howard) but better warm and wet, than shivering. So after around two blissful of marine meandering it was time to leave the water, primarily as the bay shuts to the public at 20:00.

The Outcome

At first glance the images are a little lack lustre

But a quick run through LR with some general dehaze adjustment, and some localised tweaks, delivers the image, and after a final run through Topaz AI to manage the noise inherent to small sensors and high iso (well, high for a compact

Some subjects are almost grab shots such as the crab and fish at best nervous, but often skittish! However other such as seaweeds and slower moving fauna give the opportunity to move the camera around the subject to use the sunlight that provides some fascinating light conditions beyond just front light and backlight. Light rays and refracted rainbows are two of the most obvious

… and there is even an opportunity to get arty … The base image is a fairly mundane shot of light rays through the water, overexposed to reduce any noise issues in the planned editing …

but with  strong use of some of the light room tools this impressionistic image results

These is jus the results of a re-familiarisation swim with the camera, when the next opportunity arises a very different target is waiting in the bay

If you have got this far I hope this has been of some interest. Thanks for reading

Health and Safety note.

Now, perceived wisdom is that you should not snorkel alone, however prior knowledge of the bay meant I knew that the area I was planning on swimming in was never more than a stroke or two from being able to stand up, and that the tide was on the fall with a subsequent 1m further reduction in depth over the next few hours. Also the bay is not subject to rip currents in all but the most extreme circumstances , and those are certainly not conducive to swimming!!

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