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Meetings & Speakers - Ian Kennedy 10/12/10
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Images Deep Down - Photography in the Ocean

Presented by Ian Kennedy

October 12, 2010 in the Sequoia Room of the Hallmark Inn


Ian Kennedy presented a overview of underwater photography at the October meeting of the Photography Club of Davis. He discussed the important role that light plays in capturing images under the water, in particular with regard to the absorption of light as it passes through water. About 12.5% of light survives down to 100 feet in the ocean. More importantly, red wavelengths are attenuated within the first 10 or 20 feet of the ocean. To the naked eye, the underwater world appears mostly shades of blue and green. Illumination with a strobe light reveals the spectacular array of colors that nature offers.

In addition, he described the equipment and the skills that are necessary for successful underwater photography. They include, good diving skills, particularly the ability to maintain neutral buoyancy so that photography becomes feasible in a difficult environment. The underwater gear includes camera, housing, and external strobe or strobes. The latter item is particularly necessary to avoid the problems of backscatter from particles in the water that are typical of the use of internal flashes on cameras.

Ian presented images from around the world to illustrate the diversity of environments that the underwater photographer can enjoy. Images were shown from Cozumel in Mexico, Thailand, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Key Largo in Florida, and Curacao. The array of images included both macro photography and ambient light photography making use of underwater red filters to adjust the color balance.

See Ian's Underwater Gallery.