NAS Underwater Archaeology Photography Course

Nautical Archaeological Societies Underwater Archaeology Photography Course

Over the last couple of years I had completed both the Nautical Archaeological Societies Intro and Part I courses. The next level, the Part 2, is a self run project using the skills learned during the Intro and Part 1 courses. The Nautical Archaeological Societies Underwater Archaeology Photography Course is a Part 3 course, to complete Part 3 you need to undertake several courses to build your points. These can be completed at any time after the Intro course. After seeing the Underwater Archaeology Photography Course would be running, I decided it would be a useful course and would also start my Part 3 points collection.

Held in Plymouth on March 2/3 2013, the course covered artefact photography both on land and underwater (in a swimming pool). It also covered camera usage above any basic underwater photography course and using Photoshop for ‘tweaking’ the results. I was more interested in the artefact photography.

The introduction to camera usage was the next step from a basic underwater photography course. It was quite interesting and covered aperture/shutter priority and film speed. Other areas covered were adapting to the underwater environment (a photographers perspective), equipment selection for tasks, underwater lighting, as well as lighting and lenses.

In the afternoon we had a briefing and talked about equipment selection for the pool practical, also travel arrangements to the pool. We then spent nearly two hours doing the Pool Practical Session. We were set tasks including taking shots of artefacts as well as each other.

On the second day we started with a Discussion of results from the Pool session. We reviewed our pictures and talked about the good and bad points. The next section we covered applied techniques including photo-mosaics, project photography, video and logs. We took some photos of a car and stitched them into a photo-mosaic. We then started covering artefact photography, first an introduction then a practical session .

After lunch we started talking about using Photoshop for image processing, then a practical session with some set photos. A debrief of the weekend followed and the course was over.

Summary: I rarely alter my camera settings, force of habit, so I made some changes to my cameras settings and went through a large series of shots. Some were very marginally better, some weren’t, I’ll go back to my old habit. Taking artefact photos out of water, in a controlled environment, was trickier than I thought. Getting everything in focus and with the correct lighting wasn’t easy. I have taken a lot away from the weekend and will put it into use when I can. Personally, I don’t use Photoshop, I know it is an industry ‘norm’ but I will carry on as normal with Paint Shop Pro. Well worth doing for anyone interested in underwater photography, from beginner to competent amateur.