Anilao Photography Workshop

I recently took a two week vacation to philippines for diving and the first half was also a photography workshop organized by Blue Water Photo/Underwater Photography Guide.

I want to describe the trip in another blog post but this is dedicated to what i personally learned about underwater photography from this trip. If after reading this post you think that the things i learn’t very basic then all i have to say is “better late than never” 🙂

Its been only about a year since i have started shooting with DSLR and i love my Canon T1i even though its ancient. I use tokina 10-17mm fisheye for wide angle and have Tamron 60mm with 1.4x tele-convertor for macro.

Here are some thing that got out of this workshop and i apologize if i am not using the right terms.

– Using ISO to shoot at a higher f stops.

I usually never play around with my ISO but i found that by increasing the ISO i could shoot at higher f stop and control the lighting much better.

I normally set my camera to 100 ISO and forget about it but i took some pics with ISO 200 and was happy with them when i took them at a higher f stop. so i have started to mess around with my ISO little bit more than usual.

This has specially helped me while taking sunball shots.

I wouldn’t have thought about shooting this at 200 ISO before the workshop.

– Strobe Position

This was very important specially while shooting wide angle, there have been so many times that my shots would have backscatter around the edges and i found that by just moving my strobes backwards i could remove that backscatter.

If i had known this during my north carolina trip last year, i would have been little less frustrated while taking pics.

Wish i had a before and after comparison but this pic was saved by moving my strobes back, there is still some backscatter on the right but as i mention below, patience is something i am working on.

– Using Servo Focus Mode

I have always shot using the focus lock where i press the shutter half way and wait for camera to focus and then take the picture but with a 1.4x tele on the camera takes lot more time to focus and even though i can see that the subject is in focus it wants to focus again.

This got really frustrating and i would just give up on the shot. I found that with the AF focus mode i don’t have to wait for the camera to lock focus and then take the shot. I can still press the shutter half way so that the camera can focus but if i press it completely it will take the pic regardless whether the camera thinks its in focus or not.

I wish i had known about this before the mandarin fish dive where i couldn’t get a picture of them mating because the camera couldn’t focus fast enough in the red light.

– Composition

Most of my compositions have been without any specific theme or method in mind but it was good to know the different ways to compose the picture and how to make it better for different subjects.

Of course it is very subjective but still it was good to know the “standard” ways.

– Post Processing (White Balance)

When i used the red light on my sola the camera shoots little warm and i never touched white balance in lightroom, i always thought the the red was still present in picture.

It was helpful to know and finally figure out that adjusting the white balance i could make my pics appear as i wanted them to be.

– Taking Multiple Shots

I have read about this and seen people just shoot, shoot and shoot but i tend to get lazy and usually take couple of pictures of the subject and move on. I have to force myself to spend more time with a particular subject and take more shots.

One of the reasons is being courteous to other photographers too but still you can let them have their time with the subject and i can return when no one is waiting. Something i really need to work on.

I did take a few shots of this tree worm before getting this one, though i could have lingered longer and played more with different settings.

– Patience

This again ties to the point above, i do not wait and hang around a particular subject for long. i have learn’t that once you find something interesting do not let it go, of course you have to be mindful of other photographers , and keep on following if possible.

These are some of the things i learn’t on this trip through the different workshops, slideshows and just talking with Mike and Scott.

It was a really awesome experience and would love to do it again. Life is always a learning experience and i look forward to many more trips like these.

My albums on facebook from this trip,

Philippines Dive trip pics part 1: Anilao, Batangas.

Philippines Dive trip pics part 2: Anilao, Batangas

Philippines Dive trip pics part 3: Puerto Gallera

Philippines Dive trip pics part 4: Verde Island, Puerto Galera

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