Editing the Emerald Sea

At the beginning of last year I started editing some of my underwater pictures using a very basic editing software (ie – the one that came on my non-Apple laptop).  While I still maintain that my camera is awesome and takes very good pictures (despite not shooting in RAW mode), there is a certain amount of ‘user error’ that I feel the need to occasionally adjust.  Usually I either forget to bring a white slate to white balance my camera, or I bring the slate and just don’t white balance my camera at all.

Some days, everything works out – remember my last post: Diving the Aquarium?  But some days, everything decidedly does not work out, and I spend a few minutes, or sometimes even a couple of hours bent over my computer glaring at the screen as I try to adjust brightness, contrast, colour . . . le sigh. I also sometimes crop pictures, to shift/focus attention to my subject, when my floating underwater hands can’t quite capture what I’m intending.

Different waters have different challenges, and the Emerald Sea off the coast of Vancouver presents it’s own set of challenges.  While diving in these stunning green waters makes for a lovely experience, often the pictures can be maddening!

Here are a few editing examples from diving off the coast of British Columbia from February and March 2013:

Giant Pacific Octopus: just needed a bit of brightening and contrast adjustment to bring out the colours and details.

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Juvenile Wolf Eel: cropping, white balance adjustment, brightening, contrast adjustment all bring out the amazing details of this single wolf eel in his den.

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White King Crab: this picture needed a LOT of work, luckily, many programs have an amazing feature that can adjust white balance after the picture is taken.  Choose this feature, click on an area of the picture that you KNOW is white (in this case, the crab) and voila!

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Grunt Scalpin: a particularly (and rare) bad visibility day at Tuwanek made it necessary to use flash for all of the 5 or so pictures I took that day.  Kate and I were happy to find this grunt scalpin, and I was even happier that after some work involving brightness, cropping and resizing I can actually see his cute little face!

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