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10, Oct, 2009

Wide Angle Classics: A Closer Inspection

Have you ever seen an underwater image that seems to cover a large area, yet still has an incredible amount of detail? Such shots were almost certainly taken with a wide angle lens – a lens that increases the angle of view, allowing you to get close to a subject, yet still fit it all in the frame.

Wide angle shots can be truly inspirational and are really not so difficult to get right. Here are some examples of great wide angle shots you can take on the dive sites around Ko Lanta

Some examples of different forms of Wide Angle Classics:

Soft Coral & Diver

One classic underwater shot is an image of a beautiful soft coral, with a diver in the background. Using a wide angle lens and a strobe, you can light up the coral to bring out its vibrant colours and patterns. The diver in the background adds a sense of scale. If possible, get below the coral and incorporate a sunburst into the shot for that extra ‘wow’ factor. There are plenty lovely soft corals on the dive sites around Ko Lanta, giving you endless opportunities to perfect this shot.


Cave & Diver Silhouette

The Cathedral Caves at Ko Haa make for a magical wide angle image, especially with a diver, or group of divers silhouetted in the cave entrance. These large entrances let in a lot of light, particularly at low tide, making it possible to capture a stunning & dramatic underwater image.

Turn the flash off & select as slow a shutter speed as possible to allow you to get enough natural light in the shot. Then turn towards the cave entrance and frame a diver as a silhouette against the blue background for a truly atmospheric & other-worldly image.


Atmospheric Wreck Shot

Wide angle lenses are also perfect for shots of wrecks. Shipwrecks are usually very large, often too large to really appreciate using a standard camera lens. A shot with a wide-angle lens allows you to fit much more of the wreck in the frame – which means a more dramatic image. Choose an iconic part of a wreck as your main subject, such as the bow or the wheelhouse and choose an angle that gives a nice composition, making the wreck look as grand & imposing as possible.

For extra interest, try to get a diver or fish in the frame as well. The King Cruiser Wreck, which can be dived from Ko Lanta is a great place to practice your wreck photography skills.


Close Focus, Wide Angle

Wide Angle Classics

Close Focus, Wide Angle means getting very close to a subject using a wide angle lens. This approach allows you to get a huge amount of detail and incredibly vibrant colours, while still easily fitting the whole subject in the frame. Slow moving subjects, or subjects that do not move at all are best, giving you plenty of time to line up the shot. As the subject is so close, you can select a small aperture (a high f-stop number) and let your strobe provide most of the light. This will give you a dramatic result with the whole subject in focus.

The diversity of the Andaman Sea provides plenty of great subjects for this type of shot, keeping you occupied for many happy hours.


Big Animal Shots

Large animals such as Turtles & Leopard Sharks, and giants such as Manta Rays & Whalesharks, which can all be seen on our local dive sites, make for mesmerising wide angle images. A wide angle lens allows you to get close enough to bring out their character and detail, while still fitting them all in the frame. Generally, the very best images are taken from the front, so you can see the animal’s eyes & face, bringing out its character. To do this, the animal needs to be comfortable with your presence, so you will have to be patient and allow them to get used to you. You will also need to stay calm enough to compose your shot well and take the shot at just the right moment – when your subject fills the frame. Silhouettes are also a great way to capture the beauty of larger animals.



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