Written by Yusuf Hashim
During our PhotoSafaris, we always share with our participants, tips which we learned the hard way during our lifetime photography journey. Today I want to talk about a few of these tips.
A secret of compelling photos not often realised is that, a photo is usually more compelling if it is shot from a perspective that is not often seen. For example, the lazy way of shooting children is from a standing position, pointing your camera downwards to them. This is what every unknowing adult do, so their pictures are usually very ordinary, because that’s how we normally see children. We are taller than them and we always look at them from a higher vantage point. That viewpoint is nothing extraordinary to us. When shooting photos of children, try to squat or kneel, so that your camera is at the same height as the kids. That will result in a much better photo.
If you still insist on shooting kids from a camera high perspective, try to shoot something like the photo below, which was shot by Linda Danker during one of our photosafaris to Cambodia a few years ago.
On our PhotoSafaris, Maxby and I will always try and share with you, all that we know, without holding anything back. For example we tell and show everyone that when you are shooting silhouettes against the setting sun, the most striking perspective will be to shoot upwards from ground level…preferably with your camera position lower than your subject, achieved by lying flat on the ground and on your stomach in lower ground, like in a ditch, for instance. This will give you an uncluttered sky as your background.
The photos to the right and below show our PhotoSafari participants shooting from a low perspective, which will always give your photos a slightly stronger punch. The photo on the left was in 2010 on a PhotoSafari to Bangladesh. The intent was to get a photo that was a little more dramatic. The photo on the right was on a PhotoSafari in Cambodia in 2009. Those guys and gals in the photo were shooting silhouettes against the setting sun in a paddy field. Every one of them is on their stomachs.
And below is the actual photo shot by PhotoSafari participant, Tan Lip Heong, the gentleman third from right in the photo on the right above. The low angle results in a clear and uncluttered background with minimal overlapping of elements in the frame. That starburst effect around the sun is achieved by using a small aperture. A set of GNDs in front of your lens will enhance the warm colours of the sun, which will better handle the wide exposure latitude in sunset scenes.
By the way, if you want to see a slide show of the amazing photos shot by our participants at the Cambodia PhotoSafari in 2010, simply click on the silhouette photo below for a you-tube slideshow of about 100 beautiful images shot by PhotoSafari participants. One of them won the first prize of a Leica camera donated by Schmidt. Can you guess which one won the Leica Camera Prize. Incidentally the winning photo was shot by Khair Mahfar.
So a tip we pass on to our PhotoSafari participants is ….always carry a few large bin liners in your camera bag. They are useful to keep your clothes clean and dry when you want a more striking perspective and you have to shoot from a low perspective. The bin liners are also great for use as emergency raincoats when you are caught out in the open and a thunderstorm suddenly pours.
In addition, we also tell PhotoSafari participants to carry a few smaller plastic bags, which are useful in helping to protect your camera from water and mud splashes. This is how you waterproof your camera using a plastic bag and a rubber band. Its always good to also fit a skylight or UV filter at the front of your lens. It gives additional protection to the front element on your lens, and helps to improve the waterproofing as well.
By the way, it only works if you use a red rubber band. The red rubber band has a technical propensity to amplify the well known attributes of the red band on all Canon white lenses. Any other rubber band colour will degrade the leak prevention capabilities.
All these were fine, until I saw THIS SERIES of PHOTOS by Eddie Keogh on the Canon Professional Network newsletter. Here’s one of Eddie’s pics and how he shot it. Click on the photo to go to the Canon-Europe website to see all of Eddie Keogh’s amazing sports photos:
Eddie Keogh used a special waterproof bag to protect his equipment when he shot that series of magnificent sports images for Canon. He was flat on his stomach to get those dramatic perspectives, and he was wearing a full raincoatt with his camera in a waterproof bag . Below Here are a couple of photos of Eddie Keogh with the waterproof bag:
When I saw the waterproof bag I was quite excited. Here was something that I’ve always wanted. Something compact for travelling purposes, and something that does the job it was supposed to do without being bulky or heavy. I went into a frenzied acquisition mode and searched all over the web to find what eddie had used.
Then I discovered that you can purchase similar waterproof camera bags directly from www.shashinki.com. I believe they are made by a Korean Company called DiCAPac. Here’s the LINK on Shashinki for a range of similar waterproof camera bags not only for all makes of DSLRs, but also for Point and shoots as well. In fact they also carry waterproof bags for all models of handphones, iPads, iPhones, Camcorders, tablets, etc as well.
What a great discovery it was, and I felt I have to share this information with everyone who reads our PhotoSafari posts. It’s compact. It’s light. It does what it’s supposed to do. And it’s relatively cheap.
I immediately ordered a DiCAPac waterproof camera bag. The model I bought from Shashinki was Model DiCAPac WP-S10 that was recommended for my 1Dx fitted with my favourite walkabout lens – Canon’s EF24-70 f/2.8L. The photo of the waterproof bag is reproduced below right:
According to the manufacturer, Model DiCAPac WP-S10 fits all SLR Cameras with lenses from 2.0-5.9 inches. All lens and camera controls are accessible via finger glove protrusions into the bag. According to the manual, it’s rated to about 5 meters water depth. According to the manufacturer, the DICAPac WP-S10 Waterproof Case will protect your SLR camera when you are using it at the beach, swimming, kayaking, skiing, fishing, sailing, snorkeling or diving. The housing is made of PVC vinyl with a polycarbonate lens at the front, and the manufacturer claims it meets JIS IPX8 requirements for underwater usage at 0.5 water pressure (underwater 5.0m), which it tested submerged for 30 minutes.
It is a tight fit for my EOS 1Dx and the only way to insert the camera into the case is to take off the lens, slide the DSLR body into the case, then unscrew the front end and fit the lens to the body from the front. It is well built and it looks like it’ll do what its designed to do. As I’m no diver, I will not be using it for diving. Snorkeling maybe, but it’s a brilliant product for generally waterproofing your camera if you have to shoot in pouring rain, or you go white water rafting, you like to shoot the annual Thai Water Festival, shooting at the Pacu Jawi Bull Race, shooting down in the Ijen Volcano crater with caustic sulphur fumes all around you, the tomato squashing festival in Spain, or you like to go under waterfalls to shoot unique views. Generally its perfect when you need to be able to shoot conveniently, but you also need some protection for your DSLR. I see it useful for shooting crashing waves or water sports, when you are waist deep in water and you want a fish view of the scene from the water’s surface, or a photo with the camera half in and half out of the water, or you like to go under waterfalls to shoot unique views through the wall of water.
When I pick up enough courage, I’ll go into my swimming pool and I’ll try and shoot a few photos of my grandkids swimming. In the meantime, you can read a review of this unique rain-proofer DSLR camera bag done by Kevin Murphy HERE.
Here’s a bottom and top view of the water proof case with my 5DM2 and 24-70 lens inside. Sponge paddings are supplied with the kit to raise the camera body off the floor of the case. There are “finger gloves” that lets you turn the zoom ring of the lens and a finger glove also allows you to press the shutter button. Below are a couple of photos I shot of the waterproof case with my 5D inside. Looks great, although it takes a bit of getting used to if you want to operate the controls with the camera inside the bag.
I started off wanting to share a few shooting tips with you. Not sure how this turned into a plug for the DiCAPac WP-S10 digital camera water proof case. I guess I just wanted to share a good thing when I find something worth sharing. The suggested retail price for the unit that fits my EOS 1Dx is RM700, but you can get it online from Shashinki for only RM325. And while I was at the Shashinki online shop, I also bought a DiCAPac for my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. I almost bought a cover for my iPad too, but stopped myself from being carried away. I’m taking the waterproof cases with me for our PhotoSafari in Ethiopia, and when I come back, I’ll write all about it in a follow up report.
Here’s my Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 in the DCP-WPC10S-BLK-01. You can use all functions of the phone, except earphones, while its in the case. Neat huh?
And here’s the proof of the pudding….my grandkids in my swimming pool, shot with my Galaxy Tab 4 in the casing above, completely submerged underwater. Test passed with flying colours. I’ll expect better photos with my 1Dx or 5DM2 in the DiCAPac Casing, but the main thing is, t works. And for me its a godsend. It’ll probably be one of the items I’ll not leave home without.
Go and get yourself a Digital Camera Waterproof case and also a waterproof case for your phone or tab from Shashinki. Only RM89 for the phone case and RM325 for the DSLR case. I think you’ll be as pleased with it as I am. You’ll have to wait for me to test the DiCAPac WP-S10 with my EOS 1Dx Inside. At the moment my 1Dx is with the Canon Service Centre to correct a manufacturing fault as advised by a Canon Advisory recall. When it comes back I’ll do an underwater test with it.