Sunday, December 13, 2009

Inside Disney's The Seas With Nemo and Friends

I was in Orlando recently to shoot an underwater portrait of Barry Olson, an administrator at the The Seas with Nemo and Friends (formerly the Living Seas aquarium) at Epcot Center. Barry is a strong supporter of the Divers Alert Network, and we are featuring an article about him in the next issue of Alert Diver.

People don't generally realize how very dark it is inside aquariums, when lit only by artificial light. Our eyes adjust better than most light meters and cameras, but, trust me, they are dark. Years ago I had a semi-failed assignment in the Monterrey Aquarium because my backgrounds were so dark. Of course, that was film and my first year as a pro shooter. I would hope I'd learned something by now, at least how to open up a dark background in a wide angle shot.

For this I used a Canon 5DMKII in a Seacam housing, Seaflash 150 with diffuser for foreground light (typically at 8% power. My shutter speed was 1/20th second and typically between F-5.6 and F-8. The ISO was 1,000. I used an Ikelite DS160 with a remote slave sensor for the background light. I hid the strobe behind a rock and snaked the slave sensor around to face my strobe, essentially relaying the light towards the back of the tank.

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