Having taken steps to improve your diving skills and equipment, it's time to focus on shooting basics. A good place to start is to understand essential facts about all underwater video systems, regardless of the model you may own. If you have ever heard the expression ''wider is better,'' this adage is particularly true when it comes to shooting underwater. As a general rule, you always want to shoot underwater scenes with the camera zoomed to the widest possible position. Additionally, if you have a wide-angle adapter or special wide-angle lens or attachment, you'll want to use it for almost everything you shoot.The goal is to improve the ''apparent clarity'' of your video image. A wide-angle lens allows you to get closer to your subject whether it's a huge whale or a small coral. The closer you can get to an object, the less water you have to look through to capture that image. Many people have come to me over the years perplexed that their brand-new, high-end camera doesn't ''appear'' to shoot as nice a picture as their buddy's 10-year-old video system. The answer is clearly in the optics. Whatever you can do to get the widest possible image from your system will be rewarded tenfold in the clarity and sharpness of your finished product. A hint that your system may not be shooting a wide enough image will be a milky or thin-appearing image. When your camera has to look through more water to see an object, it is both losing color and having to look through additional sediment in the water.Wes Skiles' work has been seen on the Discovery Channel, Learning Channel, CBS and TBS.
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