On my last Maldives workshop, the weather was very changeable, it is the tropics after all and all those palm trees won’t water themselves.
It was the last day and i’d been struck down with the lurgy so no diving for me, and I made my excuses over breakfast when I realised I wasn’t up to a day on the boat.

 

So off to bed I went, only to wake again an hour or so later.
And so, finding myself unable to take a giant stride back down into the land of nod. I decided to have a good look around the resort, paying particular attention to Casa Mia’s lovely pool side area. Just betwixt ( I prefer that word to between) the open plan breakfast lounge redolent with the smell of fresh coffee, and the  fine white sandy beach bordering the classic blue green sea,encircling most of the Maldivian islands.
Just like in the brochures.

 

I thought “why not? go on, spoil yourself and have a few hours of me time?”  I grabbed a coffee and a Danish Pastry, they make their own fresh at Casa Mia which are very nice, and I thought I’d go watch the gentle azure waves lapping the white sands, read a book and imagine I’m in a Bounty advert.

 

As I mentioned earlier the weather had been changeable all week but typically this particular morning was classic Maldives. All the relevant colours were checked off, but more importantly the sun was shining sporadically through fluffy clouds, and because Casa Mia resort is mostly south facing the sun is shining on you and not behind you.

Uh oh, the photo geek in me was starting an internal battle with the feeling sorry for myself me, that just wanted to lounge about.
Photo me realised that,unfolding before me was an ideal, perfect storm ,sort of scenario to take some split shots with the sun on my back (and mum if you’re listening carefully I covered up with a T-Shirt, I’m not a total lunatic)

 

It’s not always possible to take split shots where the subject matter that you’d like to shoot is as evenly illuminated as it is with the sun behind you.

I had clocked this possibility earlier in the week, but the weather hadn’t played ball.
And typically now that I wanted a little sit down and feel sorry for myself over a coffee, I had before me the best conditions for the split shots I like.
If you aren’t sure what a split shot is check here.

There was only one thing to do, and this is not because I’m an overly industrious sort, it was more because I would feel terrible if I didn’t go grab my kit and shoot it.

 

Here's a shot where the background and the exposure were all lined up but unfortunately the foreground was plain. If you have a buddy with snorkelling kit on hand though its maybe worth getting them to duck under and pose for you.

Here’s a shot where the background and the exposure were all lined up but unfortunately the foreground was plain. If you have a buddy with snorkelling kit to hand though its maybe worth getting them to duck under and pose for you.

 

You see, this is the curse of the photo geek, it is invariably all about the light and as you start to look more for the best illumination and times of day when things are going to look at their best you’ll find yourself doing all sorts of odd things like telling the love of your life, “pull over, pull over” whilst driving to Tescos ” because the clouds and sun are looking cool”
This was one of those times, but I was alone so there were no others around to exasperate.

 

I went the fifty metres or so back to my room, past my kit drying.
Checked batts and pressure sensor on my Nauticam housing my Panasonic GX7.
Returned and waded out, great the sun was mostly still out.

Because the contrast is between the top and bottom halves of the shot is much less than when the sun is facing you, exposure can be slightly easier, so I set my aperture to around f8, which should give me enough depth of field with my fisheye lens in these circumstances,and which is perfect for splits in my humble opinion.
My shutter speed was reflective of the lighting conditions, and fluctuated between ****this and ***  on manual.Try and  keep the shutter speed and apertures suitable to cope with the subject i.e. how much am I or the water moving about, and how close am I, so I’ll need to pick faster speeds, or pick even smaller apertures to suit.

I’ve found that this Panasonic as with most modern micro 4/3 cameras can cope with a tiny bit of over exposure when shooting RAW, so rather than use the time old tip of under exposing I tend to find my files exhibit less noise if exposed slightly over, but only slightly.
Each camera brand and even individual cameras within a brand differ slightly in this regard, so you’ll have to get your geek on and get some googling done.
See I told you I was a geek.

 

I wanted to get a fairly straightforward shot with the resort in the background and hopefully a bit of coral in the waist deep water to provide interest in the lower half of the shot.

 

Here I took a vertical shot, its worth taking both landscape and vertical to give you more options especially if you're going to use it on a blogpost or website, or Social Media Here at f16 and 1/500 second.

Here I took a vertical shot, its worth taking both landscape and vertical to give you more options especially if you’re going to use it on a blogpost or website, or Social Media
Here at f16 and 1/500 second.

 

 

I got loads of shots alongside the one above, as I waded around the resort.

So much that after half an hour I’d filled up the space left on my card.

 

 

I've shot a horizontal or landscape picture as another option. Exposure same as before.

I’ve shot a horizontal or landscape picture as another option. Exposure same as before.

I'd moved around to find some different foreground material, and this stag horn coral bush provided it. Exposure as before.

I’d moved around to find some different foreground material, and this stag horn coral bush provided it. Exposure as before.

 

For everything to work best in the picture, I tend to shoot from the hip when doing split shots.
And a good tip with this is focus the camera at around a metre or two away and then switch your auto focus off. This will speed things along, but you will inevitably get less keepers, but also less water up your nose trying to frame things perfectly with the viewfinder and without your mask.
I’ve done another post about shooting like this here.
Ok so next time all you want to do is lie in bed  (the first dive of the day often has the best light)  or would prefer to have a loaf about, there are some times when its almost a crime to not get your camera ready and get in and take picture.

 

Sunrise and sunset dives are very popular on my photo workshops, as they often give very interesting available light on their own or provide interesting backgrounds for your strobe shots.

I’ve got a busy year in 2015 travelling to all corners of the globe carrying out photo workshops, why not check my itinerary here and see if you can fit one in, beginner or expert there’s something for all.