Viewfinder Discussion

The Seacam housing with an angled viewfinder is preferred by some professionals, also the Inon 45 degree rotatable viewfinder, which can also be custom fitted to a wide range of different SLR housings.

I appreciate that you rarely choose a housing based on one particular technique but these angled finders will benefit the underwater photographer in so many other ways, including macro techniques and other forms of wide angle as they allow the user to shoot lying prone on sand or rubble whilst still being able to easily view and compose. I have used an angled finder, albeit briefly and was very impressed with the flexibility of viewing and composing. I had a natural tendency to place the camera up to my eye and look straight ahead;of course it doesn't happen in this way and you have to get used to looking for a macro subject (that you may have found already by eye) and relocating it in the angled finder.

Furthermore, when you rotate the housing to shoot a vertical composition, you also need to rotate the finder by 90 degrees as well.

Despite this initial learning curve, the large majority have adjusted to them quite well, but a further word of warning and I speak for many when I say there is a definite learning curve to using one and it may take more than a few photo-dives. The advice I have sought from others on this issue, and from their experience in the field, talk of the need to practice thoroughly for a number of days as opposed to a number of dives.

A Google Internet search on '45 degree viewfinder underwater' will highlight a number of companies who are producing these angled finders for other housings.

Go to: http://www.wetpixel.com/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t29727.html for detailed discussion on these viewfinders.

FIG. 9.39. An example of my 'layers of interest' theory. Let's count them:

1. The strong rectangle shaped rock in the foreground.

2. The layer of green water between the rock and the surface line.

3. The slick effect of the water surface.

4. The white strip of sand on the right side at middle.

5. The row of palm trees behind the beach.

7. The wispy white cloud at left.

Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens, f 11 at 1/125th sec, ISO 200, natural light. 414

FIG. 9.40 A typical example of nothing to place in the top half however choppy wave action can improve the dynamic and action of the surface line. Nikon D300,10 mm end of my 10—17 mm Tokina, f6.7 at 1/320th sec, ISO 200, one flashgun with low power fill on the foreground shallow coral reef. This image was taken at the end of the day: 7.30am in the northern Red Sea in the month of June.

FIG. 9.40 A typical example of nothing to place in the top half however choppy wave action can improve the dynamic and action of the surface line. Nikon D300,10 mm end of my 10—17 mm Tokina, f6.7 at 1/320th sec, ISO 200, one flashgun with low power fill on the foreground shallow coral reef. This image was taken at the end of the day: 7.30am in the northern Red Sea in the month of June.

FIG. 9.41 I've turned my attention to shooting splits at 'magic hour': one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise. When you are moored to a reef miles from anywhere, surface interest is limited to say the least but the last hour of daylight can make an alternative option. Nikon D300,10 mm end of my Tokina fisheye zoom, f9.5 at 1/90th sec, ISO 200, one flashgun on low medium power to spill some light on the shallow hard corals.

FIG. 9.41 I've turned my attention to shooting splits at 'magic hour': one hour before sunset and one hour after sunrise. When you are moored to a reef miles from anywhere, surface interest is limited to say the least but the last hour of daylight can make an alternative option. Nikon D300,10 mm end of my Tokina fisheye zoom, f9.5 at 1/90th sec, ISO 200, one flashgun on low medium power to spill some light on the shallow hard corals.

FIG. 9.43 By Martyn Guess. It's hard to find a better subject than a crocodile. In this example Martyn has used the croc across both the under and over portions of the split and made a conscious decision to shoot away from the direction of the sun towards the blue sky for maximum contrast. Subal housing, Nikon D200, Tokina 10—17 mm lens at the 10 mm end, f8 at 1/250th sec, ISO 100. Taken at Walindi, PNG.

FIG. 9.43 By Martyn Guess. It's hard to find a better subject than a crocodile. In this example Martyn has used the croc across both the under and over portions of the split and made a conscious decision to shoot away from the direction of the sun towards the blue sky for maximum contrast. Subal housing, Nikon D200, Tokina 10—17 mm lens at the 10 mm end, f8 at 1/250th sec, ISO 100. Taken at Walindi, PNG.

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