My latest (and probably final) addition to my camera set up is a UWL-04 28mm underwater conversion lens used for fisheye photography. If you are interested in my complete camera set up, it can be found in the TG-4 post.
We had an amazing week diving at Turneffe Flats in Belize. I used the UWL-04 on 2 out of 6 days of diving. I think it is particularly effective when the water is crystal clear and the sun is shining at the surface. Another trick is to pull the strobes in close and turn the camera to shoot in portrait mode. The portrait mode allows for an up close subject, divers in the background and sun at the surface. This album shows some of the best with the fisheye lens:
My favorite image is this one:
Don on the Reef with the Sun Shining
I included a couple of shots in the album that I forgot to zoom in and they show the edges of the UWL-04. Every new piece of equipment has a learning curve and I definitely learn by making mistakes. These pictures could be cropped. The last picture of our boat captain is taken from the water. I tried to get a combination below and above water shot but so far have not figured that technique out.
On days when the visibility was not as good, I had back scatter in the wide angle shots. I understand that I might be able to fix these shots with photoshop. If I get that accomplished, I will make a post with the results.
I have lots more wonderful pictures from Turneffe Flats, Belize and will post more later.
I started last year with the Olympus TG-4 camera, Olympus PT056 underwater housing, Ultralight tray and arms, and YS-01 strobe. This was a great configuration and I especially liked it for macro photography.
With confidence, I entered the Bluewater SoCal Shootout photography contest and the day I was shooting, wide angle shots of black sea bass ended up being the primary target. My best shot was a portrait shot that I entered in the contest and won a second strobe! Now I have a Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe as well. Of course I had to invest in a tray adaptor and extra arms to put it all together. The result is seen in the attached photo.
The settings on the TG-4 have changed, actually they are a little simpler. I no longer need the slave flash setting. I tried to find out why. They only answer I got was that the electronics of the YS-D2 are different than the YS-01 and it is not necessary. I have the YS-D2 connected to the TG-4 housing with the fiber optic cable. The YS-01 fiber optic cable is attached to the output from the YS-D2. The On Switch on the YS-D2 is set to the first position (lights will be orange/gold). The On Switch on the YS-01 is set to the second position (single lightning bolt).
This configuration works great and both strobes flash reliably.
In case you want to try to put this type system together yourself, here are links to the products on amazon:
So excited to place in the Bluewater Photo SoCal Shootout, underwater photo contest! I got second place in the Open Portrait category with my wide angle shot I call “Black Sea Bass in Flower Garden.” The black sea bass is looking right at me and is framed in a huge structure covered with Corynactis californica. The shot was taken with my Olympus TG-4 in Olympus housing with a Sea & Sea YS-01 strobe. I used the Fish Mode, Wide Angle 1 settings. With this camera, I don’t have to know or understand much about settings, however, if you want to know, the settings were F-stop 2.8, Exposure time 1/60 sec., ISO speed ISO-200. For this contest no cropping was allowed, so what you see is what I took! I spent most of 2 dives shootiing the black sea bass, there was a pair of large ones circling the area. It is really impressive that my compact camera came in 2nd competing with SLR and mirrorless cameras in the same category.
When I put together my camera, housing and strobe, it took a while to figure out the correct camera and strobe settings. Then when I had a repair done on my camera, I had to re-do the settings and decided it was time to write them down for future reference. So here it is, these work perfectly:
Turn on the slave flash on the camera:
Camera Menu 2
This only needs to be done one time and the camera will retain the setting.
2. Now set up the Underwater Fish Mode for Wide Angle shots:
From the picture taking display select Fish mode
Flash – select SLV
Image size select 16M+RAW – do this to save both jpg and raw images
3. Save the Wide Angle Settings to Custom Mode 1
Settings Menu 1
Custom Mode Setup
Custom Mode 1
4. Now set up the Underwater Fish Mode for Macro shots:
From the picture taking display select Fish mode
Flash – select SLV
Image size, check to make sure 16M+RAW is set
5. Save the Macro Settings to Custom Mode 2
Settings Menu 1
Custom Mode Setup
Custom Mode 2
That’s it for the TG-4, On the YS-01 be sure the flash selection is in the middle setting on the knob, the one with the single lightning bolt. Of course you also need to be sure you have a fiber optic cable attached properly.
Blue Water Photo has an annual underwater photo contest for Southern California. This year it was on September 9th – 11th, 2016. I did two dives on September 9. Because the TG-4 is so good at macro, my intention was to shoot almost entirely macro. However, that intention changed when I got into interaction with black sea bass. There was a point underwater where a pair of large black sea bass would circle the diver, continuously. The diver was me and the sea bass were in the same location on both dives. I took almost 300 pictures, probably 2/3 of them were of the black sea bass. And the shots did keep getting better, some of the best were towards the end of the 2nd dive. I entered four categories in the ShootOut and am waiting to hear the results.
Some of my favorite shots from our trip to Little Cayman were wide angle with creatures in the front and divers in the background. These were all taken in about 25 feet of water with excellent available light. This is necessary to get the diver to show up as the flash is on the close up subject. The first is my sister Peggy behind a turtle. We both spent a lot of time getting shots. I got some nice full body shots of the turtle and an awesome macro shot of it’s head. But my favorite is this shot. This was taken off Little Cayman at Barracuda Bight. We were diving with Pirate’s Point Resort.
Squid with Diver
On the same dive, before we spotted the turtle, we came across two free swimming squid. Again, I took lots of shots, some of them were translucent, in some they changed colors and blended with the reef. Again my favorite shot was a close up with our new found diving friend in the background. This squid is so cool, seems to be looking at us.
Diver on Reef
Earlier that day, we dove Sarah’s Set. My friend Amy was newly certified and enjoying one of her first dives. We were all so proud of her and really wanted to capture the moment in photos. Amy’s pink accents added a lot of color to the photos we got of her. Love this shot and we enlarged it and it came out beautiful as a print. One of the advantages of the TG-4 is that it does capture raw data and this helps for doing corrections or making enlargements.
We love our tropical diving but it is hard to beat the color and sea life we have right here at home diving out of Redondo Beach, CA. This is cold water and low visibility diving. And still the colors are amazing.
I wanted an easy to use underwater camera for pictures and video. I know enough to figure out the basic settings but did not want to deal with advanced settings. The TG-4 is perfect and takes great underwater pictures including amazing macro shots. My set up includes:
Olympus TG-4 Camera, Underwater Housing, Strobe and Video Light
The Olympus TG-4 is waterproof to depths of 50 feet on it’s own. Also shockproof to 7 feet and crushproof to 220 lb. It’s Tough. I like that. I once dropped a camera and it was a complete loss. And I have flooded housings before by being careless. This camera should survive those kinds of mishaps as well.
The Olympus PT-056 Underwater Housing is tough too. Small, lightweight, and easy to use. From the first time, no problems locating and using the camera buttons. It is easy to insert the camera and securely lock the cover. It comes with a optical fiber cable adapter for attaching to the strobe. It also comes with an antireflective ring to go on the camera. The anti-reflecting ring blocks the writing on the front element of the lens from being reflected in the front interior of the housing’s lens port.
The Sea & Sea YS-01 is a compact type slave strobe which can be used for both wide angle and macro photography. It is powered by 4 AA batteries. The batteries last all day for me with 2 or 3 dives. They would probably last longer but I switch them out at night with fresh batteries. The strobe comes with a diffuser which I leave on all the time. I get great shots as long as I am fairly close to the subject about 3 feet away.
I use the Light & Motion Sola light when I shoot video. It has both white and red lighting and 3 powers of each.
This equipment gives me a lot of flexibility between wide angle and macro, stills and video. I get some great shots and I would say that the macro is outstanding for this type of camera. Olympus has a winner here.
Everything in my set up except the Sola light was purchased at Blue Water Photo. If you need a little extra help, they are there for you. If you want to do it yourself, the links above show the products on amazon. After seeing how many different pieces there are to building the system, I appreciate the expertise from Blue Water Photo in putting it together.
Our friend Amy accompanied us to the Cayman Islands and Pirate’s Point Resort. She got certified at Pirate’s Point. She took her classroom training at Pacific Wilderness in San Pedro. She had a blast and we had a blast watching her learn to dive! Here are the highlights of Amy’s Big Adventure: