It sounded very promising, £10 for a session learning the basics of underwater photography with all the expensive photographic kit provided…
The event itself was organised by the Newcastle Dive Centre, who deal with Inon and Fuji photographic products. Steve Warren from Ocean Optics made the long journey North with all sorts of goodies to make the evening more interesting.
On arrival at the Fenham baths we were divided up into groups of four. Each member of the group was then issued with a camera system consisting of a Fuji F50 in housing, complete with Inon flashgun, tray and arm, plus fisheye and macro lenses
Steve began an introductory brief to this equipment before going on to each of the participants with a ‘buddy’ wireless receiver which we then dutifully clipped to the straps of our masks. Whilst these briefs were going on, the dive masters started setting up the artificial reef along with some of its ‘rubber’ inhabitants in the depths of the pool.
Donning our equipment we ventured forth into the deep end of the pool. Steve then joined us complete with his full facemask with built in voice transmitter. Underwater the earpieces crackled into life, we were in business.
Steve then guided us through the basics of using the Fuji camera system. Soon the pool exploded with flashes of light from the Inon strobes. Pictures were reviewed, and before long we were introduced to the art of macro and super macro underwater photography. Macro photography involved the use of one Inon macro lens; super macro the use of two macro lens stacked upon each other. The results however, were quite impressive. Guidance was also offered in respect of the best way of avoiding backscatter via the careful positioning of the flashgun.
The challenge of close up photography mastered, we moved onto exploring the wonders of wide-angle photography, with the small macro lenses being replaced by the more bulky optics of the Inon fisheye lens. This optical marvel allows the camera to view a 165-degree view of the world, allowing the image of a whole diver to be captured from several inches from the port of the housing rather than several feet away. This lens results in sharper and more colourful images (the flash from the strobe has little distance to travel to light up the diver) and is a must for UK waters with its less than perfect under water visibility.
The session ended with a very brief introduction to the wonders of close up wide angle photography. All too soon it was time to exit the water and hand the kit over to the next group of patiently waiting divers.
Many thanks to Steve Warren from Ocean Optics, and Alan Robinson and his colleagues from the Newcastle Dive Centre for organising the event.