After nearly two years prototyping, my final design for a remote control system went to friend and colleague Pete Ladell who built it to engineering standards I could not match. I’m still shaking down the system, but here’s what it can do.
I wanted to use a Nikon Speedlight instead of the traditional underwater strobes. Why? Lots of reasons, but foremost is the ability to use a high speed synch and achieve shutter speeds well in excess of the normal. With subjects close to the camera and often moving at high speed, I have long wanted that capability. Too many images looked soft. But I can also now more easily build creative lighting systems using the Speedlight master and slave system. There’s lots I want to try from subtle backlighting to softer fills.
I’m already using the Speedlight above water with a white umbrella as a diffuser. It’s giving a more even soft and natural light to what has always been a dark world. Despite the shallow water, the sun is often blocked by bankside vegetation and good lighting has always been a problem.
The embedded images give you an idea of what the system looks like in and out of water. I control the camera with a Macbook Pro through the custom USB port and with Nikon propriety software. It gives a very high degree of control.
I’ve not had the right combination of natural light, water conditions, fish behaviour and technical set up to nail a good shot yet. But the system is starting to work and those images will come. Time to get a bit excited!
Happy New Year dear friends.