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Underwater wide angle - Tips & Tricks

The underwater world is truly beautiful and a wide angle image is, in my opinion, the best way to document it. Below you can read some of my tips and tricks to get better wide angle images during your dives.

Get closer!
The key to get crispy underwater images with great clarity, sharpness and color saturation is to always try to minimize the distance between the camera and the subject. Water is your worst enemy and I often say that less water gives better images. If you think your distance to the subject is enough I usually say that you shall halve it to get it right. I often take photos some few centimeters from the subject. This short distance requires extreme wide angle lenses, for example the M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO lens or the M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0‑5.6 or a wide angle converter-lens (“wet lens”) if you photograph with a compact camera such as the Tough TG-5.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO • PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • Sea&Sea YS-D2

See beyond the subject
When you photograph macro there is no problem to aim all your focus on the subject and you normally don’t pay any attention to the surroundings. But then put on a wide angle lens and your thoughts shall be completely opposite. The subject is just one piece of the puzzle. I always try to see beyond the subject and I find great composition in the surrounding landscapes and diagonals that suited for my main subject.

Adjust ambient light
A good mix of ambient light and flashlight is usually the key to a great exposure and a good wide angle image. Shutter speed helps you to adjust the ambient light without changing the flash exposure. You often need to open the shutter longer to get the water coloration (blue or green). Don't be afraid to photograph with a shutter speed as low as 1/15 of a second if you shoot with Olympus because the image stabilizer does a tremendous work!

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO • PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • Sea&Sea YS-D2

Use the sun
You will get a new dimension and more drama in your image by adding the sunlight to the image. But the bright sunlight can be difficult to handle and it requires faster shutter speeds than usual. Use your aperture to block the strong light by using a high aperture number. The pinhole small aperture opening will also create sun rays like a star.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO • PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • Sea&Sea YS-D2

Add your dive buddy
Your dive buddy is by your side during the whole dive so don't hesitate to let him/her be a model in your image. A diver in the image provides a reference in the landscape. It also helps to create a WOW-factor if you twist the perspective by doing a very close photo on the subject and having the diver in the background. A small torchlight from the diver creates an eye catcher and is truly the icing on the cake.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO • PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • Sea&Sea YS-D2

Boot Expo 2018 - Meet the Visionaries
In January it’s time for the yearly boot expo in Dusseldorf. Olympus will be there and display the products and on Saturday the 20th of January, the Olympus Underwater Visionaries will be there for inspiration, questioning and of course personal tips and tricks to you. Let’s meet!

For more information about the event click here.