Subject Selection and Recognisable Features

Wrecks that are virtually intact, in shallower waters, offer the greatest potential. If you are unfamiliar, try to use one dive solely for exploration. You need to consider the most photogenic sections;the existing light levels at your particular depth;locations of the recognisable features of the wreck — winches, masts, the bow, the stern, for example — and the photographic potential of those features. You're looking for the very best potential of that particular wreck. Your next two or three photo-dives will consist of shooting what you consider to be the best bits. By finding and shooting recognisable features of the wreck, you give the viewer something to relate to. The cargo spilling out of broken boxes is recognisable to both divers and non-divers;by including a diver in the scene you can also give the viewer a sense of scale. Be careful not to make the diver too obtrusive, or all the viewer's attention will go that way.

Make the wreck the centre of attention, and use the diver to reinforce it. -►

FIG. 9.46 (Opposite page)

This example of a ship's telegraph is recognisable to divers and non-divers alike. After a thorough search of the excellent Shinkoku Maru in Chuuk lagoon, I located the engine telegraph on the bridge. I took 10 to 12 shots but struggled with lighting angles to achieve a clean and well-exposed shot. My exhaust bubbles disturbed sediment on the decayed ceiling, raining rusted particles throughout the shot. I eventually succeeded in minimising the effects of backscatter by positioning each Inon 220 flashgun out to the side behind the shade construction of my fisheye dome. They were so far behind the housing that the front flash reflectors were level with my own facemask when composing through my viewfinder. I checked my LCD for exposure and composition. It was OK. I had captured what I had envisaged but how could I add an extra dimension to the idea? I left the confines of the Bridge and showed Sylvia my efforts in the LCD. Immediately she pointed to a window of blue water towards the right-hand side of my composition. Good idea! I arranged my camera to re-shoot the same but this time with Sylvia as a distant silhouette directing the eyes of the viewer towards the main focal point — the telegraph. Given the poor visibility and tight confines of the ship's bridge, this was an ambitious shot. Whilst pleased with the outcome I have learnt many lessons over the years that in circumstances such as this you have to take plenty of shots to ensure just one or two are successful. I took an additional 15 shots. Whilst each composition was the same, the trick was directing Sylvia into position through the window.

Nikon D200 camera, Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens, two Inon strobes positioned as described above. Exposure was f8 at 160th sec Auto white balance. 420

FIG. 9.47 The air compressor on the Fujikawa Maru, otherwise known as R2-D2, is the ultimate example of recognisable features. Before you read this caption many of you will have unspoken the words 'R2-D2 in Truk'. 10.5 mm fisheye lens, 12 mm end of my 12—24 mm zoom, f5.6 at 1/250th sec, ISO 200, two Inon flashguns positioned each side of my dome port angled outwards.

FIG. 9.47 The air compressor on the Fujikawa Maru, otherwise known as R2-D2, is the ultimate example of recognisable features. Before you read this caption many of you will have unspoken the words 'R2-D2 in Truk'. 10.5 mm fisheye lens, 12 mm end of my 12—24 mm zoom, f5.6 at 1/250th sec, ISO 200, two Inon flashguns positioned each side of my dome port angled outwards.

FIG. 9.48 I had only one opportunity to dive the Helmet wreck in Palau so my strategy was to ascertain the best features, choose about four or five ideas, and get on with it. On the day visibility was a dreadful 2 m. I easily located the Japanese helmets fused together over time and moved on to a gas mask, which had obviously been positioned for ease of access. Using a 10.5 mm fisheye lens I placed my two Inon flashguns on each side of my fisheye dome port at a distance of about 10 cm. I pointed them outwards to illuminate the masks with the edge of my flash beam. With some trial and error I

continued to move them back behind my housing to reduce the effect of the beam hotspot appearing in the picture. My flashguns resulted in being positioned behind the front of my dive mask. I have since measured this distance and I approximate at least 25 cm behind the rear of my Subal housing. F11 at 1/10th sec, ISO 100, Nikon D200. I used these settings in an attempt to hint at the water colour but clarity was abysmal.

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