Been meaning to post this for a while, but it explains a lot of what my settings were on my Manta Ray Night Diving Images and the problems I was having with low light, backscatter, and many smaller ambient lights. On the video Ill show you the first test shot which was terrible.

One thing I have definitely learned about photography is this: If something isn’t working, systematically start making changes until you find something that works. It is maddening to watch photographers do the same thing over and over again and expect different results!

This situation was tricky because it was low light, my first thought was the strobes, which didn’t work. My second thought was to open up my lens to f2.8, which was also wrong because I wasn’t getting enough DOF, but f4.0 looked good, still not getting enough light.

My next response was to use a slower shutter speed to get more light, but even 1/30 was too slow, as the rays were blurring. It HAD to be 1/60 or faster (such a great rule of thumb for portraits).

My last tweak was to bump it up to 800, which seemed to be good for video. While this may not seem to be a big deal on the surface, thinking /troubleshooting through this 40 feet down, surrounded by chaos of people and 18+ Manta rays breathing off a scuba rig, in a slight current takes some focus. I have almost a solid hour of awesome footage, and many, many stills. I was pretty happy with the results.

Again, for the record, I was shooting with Canon 5DII & Canon 20mm f2.8 Lens in an Ikelite Water Housing, with 2 Ikelite 161 Underwater Strobe / Movie Lights .

Exposure settings were: 1/60, f4.0 ISO 800 for most of the shoot. Many more great still images of the night here: Manta Ray Night Diving