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light through water!!

kris brady

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Hey guys, so I have a shoot that requires a shot at the bottom of the ocean. I wont have access to a tank but I may have access to an aquarium (a very big one lol) I can easily make it pass for ocean. however! ive never shot similar and im wondering what lighting ill need to replicate a bit of sun coming through the water in the lower angle shots. the aquarium is 11m deep. Is there a rule for falloff in water?


thanks !



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Hi Kris,


Will you be submerging the camera in water?


Light falls off more quickly in water. There really isn't a hard rule because it's dependent on the clarity of the water. In a perfect world, yes there is an equation. In an aquarium where fish live, it's just a best guess. This PDF may be of some use: http://www.deepsea.com/wp-content/uploads/201305_Understading_Basics_Underwater_Lighting_ONT.pdf


An important thing to note about which light to use: water absorbs the warmer (or colder Kelvin temp) colors like red, hence why water typically looks blue. So, you'll want to use HMI or daylight balanced sources to maximize the amount of illumination penetrating to the lower surfaces. Tungsten light will be, no pun intended, swallowed up by the water and will offer little illumination.


This blog post does an excellent job of giving advice for shooting underwater: http://www.diyphotography.net/natural-light-underwater-photography-tips/

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