Angle of Attack

Anyone who has taken still pictures by available light underwater will almost certainly have been disappointed Wrecks are the perfect subject for underwater photographers. Not only do you have the structure itself, but there is also the marine life which these artificial reefs attract. You can dive with almost any lens and have enough subjects to keep you occupied for many a roll of film.

I'm going to concentrate on photographing wreck structures. Because they are usually large you will need a wide-angle lens. For land cameras in housings, there are various wide-angle lenses available from around 24mm covering 84 degrees diagonally right through to 16 or 15mm (depending on the manufacturer) full-frame fisheyes covering up to 180 degrees. For Nikonos V and Sea & Sea MotorMarine cameras there are three choices – 20mm covering 84 degrees, 15/16mm covering 90 degrees and, for the Nikonos only, a 12mm full-frame fisheye from Sea & Sea.

The wider the angle, the closer you get to your subject, and keep it all in frame with the bonus of improved clarity and contrast. That points to the full-frame fisheye as being the best choice. However, it doesn’t correct geometric distortion, so any straight lines towards the edge of the frame will be curved. This can be noticeable when there are lots of bulkheads. But most of the time, as you can see in this shot, there is little evidence of curvature. It was taken with a Nikon 16mm lens on an F801 camera in a Subal housing with available light, with Ektachrome 100 slide film. The camera was set to aperture priority at F5.6. All other lenses provide geometric correction (ie they are rectilinear), so straight lines are recorded as such. But the maximum angle these lenses can achieve is just over 100 degrees. That's perfectly good for most wreck photography, but my preference is still for the 180 degrees.

It would be pointless to use flash for this photograph as it would not have lit any of the subject. So you have a simple, easy to handle camera system which provides automatic exposures.

© COPYRIGHT Dive International Publishing Ltd, for personal use only
About us | Disclaimer & terms of use | Contact us | Site News | Suggestions | Link to us | Advertising Info