25 November 2021 (Underwater Photography)

On 25th November 2021, we joined Beeslack Penicuik Camera Club again for another joint session with their guest speaker.  This time we had the pleasure of listening to David Keep describe his experience with underwater photography. Some of David’s work can be seen on his web site:


David’s underwater presentations are divided into 3 lectures, and tonight we had “Underwater Photography 1”. David began by describing how he started in underwater photography. He bought himself an underwater housing for his camera, along with some underwater flash lighting and booked himself a trip on a boat with other diving enthusiasts. On that trip he made a lot of beginner mistakes: trying to photograph everything; trying to freeze his subjects in the dim light by using an over-bright flash, which lit the subject but created a dark background which lacked depth. But the trip taught him a lot of lessons he put into practice on future trips. David showed us how he now carefully lights his subjects from side angles which maintains the appearance of texture in their surface. He keeps his lighting to a minimum so each subject is captured within its environment. David explained that underwater photography can be very difficult. The lighting gets dimmer rapidly with depth, and the red light is absorbed, giving everything a bluish hue. The water currents cause everything to move around. Most camera auto modes don’t work well in the unnatural lighting, so you need to use manual control. You are constantly juggling the controls to get a sharp shot with the right depth of field and right colour balance.

David then took us on a tour of some of the projects he has worked on. He described a holiday in Thailand where he captured underwater shots of mangrove swamps. He described what is was like to swim with sharks without a protective cage, and he showed us the dramatic images he had captured. Finally, he described some underwater modelling projects made in a swimming pool. In one project he captured unusual underwater views of swimmers, and in another project entitled “serenity” he captured the flowing shapes created when fabric is swept up by the water.

Overall it was a fascinating lecture, and highly recommended. Our own underwater photographer (Mike Clark) will be describing his experiences on 20th January 2022.