SSI Photography club
Minutes, November 9th 2016
Meeting called to order by Wendy Rosier, President
New members: Judy Brooks, Mark Hall. Welcome to you both! Attending as a guest, and considering membership: Bob MacKie. Ruth Waldick, Pierre Mineau’s wife was also in attendance and she had such a good time chatting with members that she is considering joining as well.
Current shows by club members:
Avril Kirby: Travels with Rennie, at Harbour House till end of November
Jana Zachariou: Booth Bay, at Fernwood
Bernadette Mertens-McAllister: Day of the Dead, at the Library
Wendy Rosier: Country Grocer cafe, till end of November
Larry Citra, Ross McLeod and Colton Prevost, at SSI Roasting Company, till December 15th
Bob Rogers at Salt Spring Gallery, till early December
Upcoming shows for members:
Avril is organizing a show at Harbour House, Starting December 1st, with space for 15 members. She now has a full show but invited members to be on a standby list in case of cancellations.
Annual Artspring Lobby show starts January 1st.
Start Preparing. More information will be sent out Club-wide very soon.
Website updates: Information re the Black and White, and Macro photography groups is posted on the club website .
Upcoming events of interest to the club: November 17th at the Library, 6:30 PM. Photo show and talk on the Caribou/Chilcotin area by wildlife photographer Chris Harris.
Presentation: Underwater Photography, Pierre Mineau
Pierre gave a wonderful presentation of his new foray into the world of underwater photography. Images came primarily from a kayaking trip to Haida Gwaii last summer, as well as two dive trips, the first to Bonaire in the Caribbean, and the second to Indonesia a year ago, where he was on a diving expedition with a small group of experienced underwater photographers. Pierre’s background in Marine Biology drives much of his interest in this challenging area of photography, and resulted in some remarkable images. Following are a few key points from his talk.
Shallow water photography (eg in tidal pools, surface water, shallow snorkelling spots) is relatively easy. Inexpensive waterproof point and shoot cameras are readily available, or the more adventurous among us can fashion their own waterproof housing by using plastic protective coverings for their camera, shooting from inside a small aquarium that is partially submerged in water, etc. BC waters provide a wealth of colourful aquatic life.
Deep water photography poses a number of challenges:
- the high pressures at depth require larger and more expensive housings to protect one’s camera,
- the reds and yellows of the color spectrum disappear at depths below a few meters so what you see is all in the blue/green color spectrum. Underwater lighting is needed to bring out the colors. And even when using a flash what you see underwater is still blue/green. The colors only become apparent when the images are downloaded onto your computer.
- The flash only illuminates what is closest to the camera, leaving the background still a poorly lit blue/green. Strobe lights would be needed to get fuller illumination but that is impractical and beyond the reach of most photographers.
- Rules of diving preclude holding onto the substrate, both for one’s own protection (dangerous critters lurk in the crevices) and for the protection of the reef. This leaves one at the mercy of the currents and your own buoyancy control which can easily move you away from the sea life you are trying to capture. This is especially challenging with Macro photography.
- Diving comes with its own risks, including encountering dangerous creatures, running out of air, getting “the bends”, losing track of ones diving group, etc ... all easy to do when distracted by underwater sea life.
- Bits and pieces of stuff floating in the water show up on your images as “Backscatter” (thousands of tiny dots). It takes a lot of time and effort to erase these in your editing program. This problem can be minimized by positioning your light so that you create a cone of darkness between you and your subject
- Marine subjects are often well camouflaged and difficult to find.
- Macro photography requires a diopter in front of the lens if using a compact camera as Pierre is.
- Refraction underwater changes the apparent angle of your lens from a wide angle to something closer to a 50 mm lens. i.e. there is about a 25% increase in apparent focal length when the lens is placed behind a flat housing port. Thus generally speaking you need to be using a wide angle lens.
Pierre showed some of the wild colours one can get when single images are put through an HDR program.
Night photography is also possible and comes with its own challenges. Both a flashlight or strobe (for focussing) and a flash are needed if photographing at night.
To get a sense of scale you may need another diver in the photograph. Otherwise it is impossible to determine the size of the creatures you are photographing.
Often the best underwater shots are taken with the camera pointing up towards the water surface, where the sun, or the blue of the sky may be visible. A different and also effective angle is with the camera pointing down into the depths where the background will be dark.
Thank you Pierre for an excellent discussion.
Next month’s meeting, December 14th, will be a Potluck Christmas Party. We will also be electing our new officers. The challenge for the slide show will be “Festive” with special Brownie points for images that are “Festively Underwater”