Image Overlay Feature

Popular SLRs now have a really cool feature called 'Image Overlay'. It's akin to 'in-camera double exposures', which were very popular with underwater photographers in the late 80s early 90s. In those days we used SLR film cameras and marked the position of the ratchet wheel on the film with a white marker pen. When we loaded the film for the second time to record the second exposure we could perfectly align the film in the same place. Well that was the theory, which to my knowledge was devised by legendary UK underwater photographer Peter Scoones. The popularity of this technique diminished in the mid 90s but for a few 'die hard' enthusiasts who were avid uw photo competition players.

Image Overlay works by blending two RAW images together in the camera, via the Menu options, in order to create a single picture that is saved separately from the original files. Note that JEPG files cannot be used for overlays. Refer to your own SLR user guide. On my Nikon D300, overlays are created within the 'Retouch Menu'. This menu is only displayed when a memory card containing photos is inserted in the camera

Note

In figures 3.37—3.40 I attempted an overlay using the Tokina fisheye on the Liberty wreck in Bali and then photographed the process for teaching purposes. This idea (ironic that it was the one I wanted to illustrate) didn't work particularly well because the position of the soft coral foreground did not blend with the background.

Image overlay

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fig. 3.37 (a) Select 'Image overlay' in the menu and press >. (b) The dialog shown will be displayed with three columns. The first column will read 'Image 1'. This column will be highlighted in yellow.

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Nikon fig. 3.38 Press 'OK' to select the thumbnail views (a), to choose a photo move Into the column—'Image 1' (b), ensure it's a Raw file. Repeat the same process for selecting 'Image 2' in the second column.

fig. 3.39 Now move along to your third column entitled 'Preview; press 'OK' to overlay.

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Nikon fig. 3.40 Check the appearance and if it looks good, press 'OK' to save or if it looks wrong then press to go back.

fig. 3.41 I've had good fun playing with this feature with the same lens on the same dive and overlaying them underwater. This figure was taken with a 60 mm macro lens. I took the blenny on whip coral at f 16 at 1/250th sec and the background stark black reef wall with just a chink of sunlight popping through at f22 at 1/500th sec - 20 minutes after the first. Nikon D300.

fig. 3.41 I've had good fun playing with this feature with the same lens on the same dive and overlaying them underwater. This figure was taken with a 60 mm macro lens. I took the blenny on whip coral at f 16 at 1/250th sec and the background stark black reef wall with just a chink of sunlight popping through at f22 at 1/500th sec - 20 minutes after the first. Nikon D300.

fig. 3.42 My first attempt at this technique in the Red Sea on a late afternoon 'dapple dive'. I shot the hard corals with a weak flash power setting at f16, 1/250th sec using a Tokina 10—17 mm to ensure the background water behind was black. Fifty minutes later after the sun had set on the horizon I held my housing at arms length out of the water using 250th sec shutter in Shutter priority mode to capture the last sunlight of the day. I joined them together beneath the dive boat (simply to see if I could). What I did not anticipate was the faint indication of surface detail at the very top of the frame, which was a result of the bottom (hard coral) portion. Whilst it was accidental, I like how it plays with the senses.

fig. 3.42 My first attempt at this technique in the Red Sea on a late afternoon 'dapple dive'. I shot the hard corals with a weak flash power setting at f16, 1/250th sec using a Tokina 10—17 mm to ensure the background water behind was black. Fifty minutes later after the sun had set on the horizon I held my housing at arms length out of the water using 250th sec shutter in Shutter priority mode to capture the last sunlight of the day. I joined them together beneath the dive boat (simply to see if I could). What I did not anticipate was the faint indication of surface detail at the very top of the frame, which was a result of the bottom (hard coral) portion. Whilst it was accidental, I like how it plays with the senses.

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