121 with pietro cremone

This week 121 is with Pietro Cremone who is a long standing photographer and also runs the Fotosub Shop who is the distributor of most key brands of underwater imaging and Nauticam importer for Italy.

Pietro is a people person everybody knows him in the Italian underwater photography scene and during this lock down he has made series of live shows on facebook that have been both informative and entertaining. Pietro is very active on the web and social media and I invite you to connect with him.

Personal Website

Facebook

Instagram

Bio

I was born in 1964 in Castellammare di Stabia, and from an early age I was fascinated by the sea.

Pietro with his current Rig

As a child I enjoyed exploring the tide pools with mask and fins, and later I started spear fishing with my small spring-speargun, with which fortunately I could not catch almost anything.

Growing up, I replaced the speargun with the camera.

Over the years, my passion for underwater photography has grown a lot, and I decided to turn it into a profession
Since 2009 I am the owner of  Fotosub Shop, an underwater photography shop that has become the Italian reference point for underwater images in just a few years.

I occasionally participate photographic contests, and I have had many satisfactions, with some of my photos exhibited in museums and even at the United Nations on the occasion of World Oceans’ Day.

With my colleagues Marcello Di Francesco and Massimo Zannini we won the World Shootout national championship in 2018, and this year we were again in the final 5. 

My latest awards are an Honorable Mention for the Slideshow section in Ocean Geographics contest, another HM in the Memorial Maria Luisa and a first place in macro section for the Dive Into Pink contest. 

Questions

When did you start underwater photography and why?

I started very early, around 1989 after my first tropical trip in Thailand. What I saw while snorkelling in Phi Phi island was so exciting that I decided to start with UW photo.  I was not yet a diver but I enjoyed a lot trying to shoot on the surface and skin diving.

Interesting shots can be taken snorkelling or skin diving

How much diving experience did you have when you started?

None! I took the camera underwater just after my OWD license. I was already photographing in snorkelling with a digital compact. 

Compact cameras can get you started in underwater photography – This shot is NOT with a compact…!

Were you a land photographer before starting? 

Yes, I loved photography since when I was 20.

What were you shooting and do you still shoot land photography? 

I love shooting landscapes and portraits, and often I shoot my cats 😊 

The eye of a landscape photographer translate well in underwater wide angle
Mushroom

What was your first underwater camera and housing?

I started with a Nikon FG SLR in a NIMAR housing, but my first serious shoots underwater were with a CANON A90 compact with the small Canon housing.

Pietro Started with a Canon Powershot compact

What is your current camera rig and why did you choose it?

Actually I shoot with an NIKON D850 housed in Nauticam. Since 2010 my housing choice is Nauticam, not only because I’m the Italian distributor for this brand, but because I always loved the perfect ergonomy and usability of these housings, along with the impressive choice of ports and accessories that I can achieve.

The NA-850 for Nikon D850 and a set of Retra Strobes

What is your favourite discipline (wide angle, macro, portraits, blackwater, etc)?

I love wide-angle photography very much, although I don’t mind small subjects, that I always try to portray with a small artistic and personal touch. Some times ago I discovered the wonders of blackwater in Anilao and it has become one of my favourites!

Sea Lion and baitball
Red and green
Bull Shark Portrait
Anilao blackwater diving
More blackwater
Rhinopia bubbling up
Abstract

What has been to date your best trip from a photography viewpoint? 

I have 2 places in my heart: Raja Ampat and Baja California. They can offer all that an underwater photographer can dream!

Raja Ampat and piers
Flowers in the sky
Rampant Flabella

How many trips have you done in the last 3 years and where?

I’m very lucky because I can travel a lot thanks to my work (I run workshops and guided trips for my customers). 

My last trips took me often in Indonesia (Raja Ampat, Wakatobi, Maratua), Philippines (Anilao, Puerto Galera), Maldives, Red Sea, Baja California.

Oslob Whale Sharks
Classic cayman
Manta Madness
Back to back Pygmy
Jellyfish burst
Manta on carpet
Goby life

Has there been a defining moment where you think your photography improved significantly?

Yes, I started diving and photographing in 2006 but around 2010 I met Mimmo Roscigno, one of the greatest Italian photographers, and with his inspiration my photo started to improve a lot. Then in 2012 I had the pleasure to be in a workshop held by Alex Mustard, and that was another important milestone in my career. 

Mimmo Roscigno historical Italian Underwater Photographer

What is your personal favourite shot among all you have taken?

That’s a hard question, because I have so much images that I love! But there is one that is special for me, it depicts a Pilot Whale with its newborn calf shot in Atlantic Ocean.

Pietro own favourite shots of pilot whales mum and calf

I found this shot so sweet and awe inspiring, and remembers me a very special moment spent with these wonderful animals.

It also won the “Coup de coeur” in a Festisub edition. 

Eye level

RED SEA 2021 UNDERWATER IMAGE MAKERS LIVEABOARD

Due to Covid-19 I have decided to postpone the boat to 31 July 2021. I have also had some cancellations due to the same reason so currently have 7 spaces. Prices remain unchanged. What follows is content from the original post.

__________________________

Diving for images or video can be frustrating at times. I find this less so for macro and super macro where you are resort based and you can hire a guide with super sharp eyes that will help you find the right subjects. For wide angle it is a totally different story. Land based may preclude the best access to certain destinations whilst if you are on a liveaboard with divers there is a conflict of interest. The boat will typically run a fixed itinerary cruise and the result is that you will visit many times so more memorable than others and typically just once. The single dive you do may not be at the right time of the day and the ambient light may not be the best for what you trying to do.

I am self taught and I like to read books and experiment myself however some years ago I was invited by Nauticam to a Red Sea workshop with Alex Mustard.

I wrote some articles at the time you can find them all if you click this link https://interceptor121.com/?s=workshop

What I really liked about that workshop was the ability to steer the boat to the right sites, to be able to dive at the right time of the day and also to repeat dives on the best sites and omit the areas that were not promising. For me this had great value on its own.

Of course Dr Alex Mustard tuition was also superb however I have now done this workshop 3 times and I believe that element has become less interesting. I also happened to work in Sharm El Sheikh as resident instructor at the Marriot Hotel so all dive sites were already known to me as a diver at least.

On those workshops I found very useful the fact that you could see the work of others and learn from the group, I also like the fact that there was no competition so everybody was encouraged to share.

Needless to say that after years of diving the same sites I still find the Northern Wreck and reefs of the Red Sea one of the best imaging destination in the world so I thought how do I have the same experience without the workshop part and the related high costs – it costs almost double a standard diving trip to book Alex workshop and they are fully booked almost immediately.

A further issue that has occurred in time is that there are no flights to Sharm El Sheikh from UK and now majority of boats live from Hurghada. This seriously limits the workshop as you have a lot more navigation.

So my ideal requirements for such a trip would be:

  1. Boat to live from Sharm El Sheikh not Hurghada. I rather have indirect flights and burn land time vs consuming cruise time in transfers
  2. Need to be able to have full control of the itinerary
  3. Dive as a photographer with a loose buddy concept
  4. Have a good boat and logistics
  5. Have small number of people in the water – I think 20 is too much so I have set my target to 8 min 12 max

I reconnected with my old network and after looking around I have found a boat and a company that can help with this.

King Snefro is the only liveaboard fleet currently departing from Sharm El Sheikh and the boat of choice is the Snefro Pearl

Cruise Dates: 31 July – 7 August 2020

Price: €1250 per Pax in twin cabin includes:

  • 32% Nitrox
  • Airport transfers
  • 12 Liter tanks
  • 3 meals, snacks and soft drinks, tea and coffee
  • Special imaging orientated dive briefing to make the most of the sites
  • Group image debrief – optional participation
  • Arrival on Saturday 31st July – check in commences at 1800
  • Check out Saturday 7th August – 1200 latest
  • For those whose flight leaves much later possibility of a stop gap in a beach resort before final departure

You need to be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver or equivalent and 30 logged dives are required for this safari. All dives, especially some more demanding wreck dives, are subject to diver’s qualification and experience. 

EAN or other Nitrox certification required if not training will be provided on the boat at a charge.

Extra Hotel arrangements if you are coming the day before or leaving the day after

per night per person

*Club El Faraana Reef*​ –  www.faraanareef.com

Halfboard  in Single Room = 50 € per night per person
 Soft All in per in Single room = 60 € per night per person

Halfboard  in Double  Room = 35 € per night per person
Soft All in Double room = 45 € per night per person

Halfboard  in Triple  Room = 30 € per night per person
Soft All in Triple room = 40 € per night per person

Service Charge & taxes included, Transfer Airport to Hotel/ Hotel to Airport is included
(Check in starts from 14:00 H, Check out till 12:00 H,  in combination with safari booking early check in or late check out will be arranged free of charge) 

On to the dive sites:

Wrecks of Abu Nuhas

Giannis D

Gianni's D classic shot
Giannis D Classic Shot

Carnatic

Encircled
Silversides and diver in the Carnatic

Chrisoula K

Chrisoula K Bow
Bow of Chrisoula K

The Tugboat

Stay Away from my Eggs
Tiger cardinal fish with eggs

The Thistlegorm

Motorbike in Hold 2
bike on hold 2

Ras Za’tar (Optional site for sunbursts)

Sunburst
Suburst on Ras Za-tar

Jackfish Alley – Optional site for caves

1st Cave@Jackfish Alley
Cave 2 Jackfish alley

Ras Mohammed where at that time of the year you can have various shoals of fish

Bohar Snappers

Sunburst  Snap
Snapper Sunburst

Barracudas

Arrows
Arrows

Batfish

Schooling Batfish on Reef
Bats

Surgeonfish

Toilet Flush
Toilet flush

Instead of night dives we will do snorkelling session for split shots or sunset dives

Sunset Neat
Sunset on Ras Katy

I will be glad to help with ideas for the sites or the shots to take however this is not for beginners so if you don’t know even how to work out your camera works maybe it is not for you. The trip is open to photographers and videographers I will shoot both and will provide assistance as required. Below little sample of the video opportunity in Shark Reef

Please use the form to book a space. In case the cruise it is sold out I will operate strictly a first come first serve basis at time of writing there are five space left so hurry up. In case of cancellation I will also run a wait list. Please inquiry for any other details as well

121 with Nicholas More

I have met Nick in 2015 and I was immediately impressed by his techniques and shots and we have been on a couple of trips together were I have been able to see the dedication he puts in getting the right image. Nick has the mindset required to take stunning images without a doubt.

So I am very pleased to share this post with you. Nick has also provided me with a set of pictures that I will host here. To stay up to date with his shots follow him on Instagram

If you want technical details on how to take motion blur shots the best path is to get a copy of the 2020 edition of Martin Edge‘s book The Underwater Photographer: a classic in the library of each underwater shooter.

Underwater photographer 2020 Edition

Chapter 9 of the 2020 edition is dedicated to Motion Blur and is authored by Nicholas More in person so you get the low down required by the photographer who has made this style his trademark.

Who is Nicholas (Nick) More?

Nick and his trusted D500 during a workshop with Dr Alex Mustard – use permitted

Dr Nicholas More is a Dental Surgeon from Exmouth, Devon, UK and is married to Rachel and father to their son, Ben. He has been diving since his teenage years and is now a PADI Dive Master, with well over 2000 dives. Nick combined this with photography in 2012. 

Key Achievements

Nick is a multi-award winning Underwater Photographer and the current British Underwater Photographer of the Year. His other notable achievements include numerous commendations in the British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) and the Underwater Photographer of the Year (UPY), back-back wins in the BSoUP Print competition and a Silver medal in the Our World Underwater Photo competition.

Underwater Photographer of the Year:

British Underwater Photographer of the Year – 2020.

Highly Commended UPY – Wide Angle – 2020.

Commended UPY – Portraits – 2020.

Highly Commended UPY – Black & White – 2019.

Highly Commended UPY – British Wide Angle – 2019.

Commended UPY – Portraits – 2019

Runner Up: British Wide Angle UPY – 2018.

Highly Commended UPY – Portraits – 2018

The shot that awarded Nick the British UPY 2020 and Highly Commended UPY – Wide Angle – 2020

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UPY 2020 Highly Commended Portraits
Highly Commended UPY – British Wide Angle – 2019.
Commended UPY – Portraits – 2019
Runner Up: British Wide Angle UPY – 2018

Ocean Art:

1st Place – Wide Angle – 2019

Runner-Up – Reef-scapes – 2019

Honourable Mention – Reef-scapes – 2019

Wide angle Ocean art 2019 Winner

Ocean Art 2019 Reefscape runner up

British Wildlife Photography Awards:

2 x Highly Commended BWPA – 2019.

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus

Our World Underwater.

Silver medal, Macro Unrestricted – 2017.

Lembeh / Gulen Shootout:

Grand Prize Winner – 2018

Think Pink Photo Contest:

Winner – 2017.

BSoUP / Diver Print Competition:

BSoUP:

Grand Prize Winner – 2016 / 2017.

Judges Vote: 

Highly commended – 2014 / 2015 / 2017 / 2019.

Public Vote: 

Overseas Winner – 2013.

Advanced Overseas Runner-Up – 2014 / 2016.

Advanced British & Irish Runner-Up – 2016 / 2017.

Questions and Answers

When did you start underwater photography and why?

I have been diving since the 1990s. I started UW photography in 2012 as digital compact cameras became common place. I caught the bug very quickly and never looked back.

How much diving experience did you have when you started?

LOTS! I had approx. 1500 dives when i started UW photography. Im a PADI DM.

Were you a land photographer before starting?

NO! The only land photography I do is with an iPhone. I did go on safari in 2018 to Botswana, I borrowed a telephoto lens and got some pretty nice shots of the wildlife. The only subject I shoot on land is my son, Ben!

What was your first underwater camera and housing?

My 1st UW camera system was a Canon S95 in Canon polycarbonate housing. No strobes, just 1 touch custom WB, i did have an Inon Wide Angle wet lens that made a big difference. 

Amazon.com : Canon WP-DC38 Waterproof Housing for Canon S95 ...
Nick first camera was a Canon S95 in a classic polycarbonate housing

I then moved to micro 4/3rds with an Olympus OM-D before moving to a Nikon7100/7200.

What is your current camera rig and why did you choose it?

I shoot with a Nikon D500 in a Nauticam housing. I use Inon Z240 & Z330 strobes depending whether I’m shooting Wide or Macro. It has been very successful for me & I know the housing like the back of my hand. 

The Nikon D500 is a popular choice among underwater photographer and is the camera Nick shoots in a Nauticam housing

The D500 has super fast AF and great IQ. Im considering full frame but I wouldn’t trade my D500 rig. It would be used alongside.

What is your favourite discipline (wide angle, macro, portraits, blackwater, etc)?

I enjoy shooting Wide angle & macro. My preference is shooting animal portraits big & small. I like to shoot using motion blur. 

Im not a fan of wrecks or divers in my shots. Im more interested in the animals.

What has been to date your best trip from a photography viewpoint?

Raja Ampat without doubt. My last trip has produced numerous competition winners including some i can’t talk about yet! Raja has it all. The biodiversity is off the scale. 

striated frogfish or hairy frogfish Antennarius striatus Retra LSD Snoot

How many trips have you done in the last 3 years and where?

Ive had around 10 trips in the past 3 years. Trips include Lembeh / Raja Ampat & Bali. The Egyptian Red Sea and the Bahamas & Cuba for sharks and other big animals. I decide on which trips I go on depending on location, subjects and I have a preference for attending workshops with Alex Mustard & Wetpixel.  

Has there been a defining moment where you think your photography improved significantly?

Most definitely. Paul Duxfield taught me the basics and encouraged experimentation. Alex Mustard and his workshop participants then inspired  me to improve….quickly. Im competitive my nature so challenged myself to be the best I can be. I won the overseas category of the Diver / BSoUP Print Competition in 2013 at my 1st attempt. This meant I had to enter advanced / pro categories from then on – I had to improve! Long way to go….. 

What is your personal favourite shot among all you have taken?

My favourite shot, is a unique image of a porcelain crab, backlit through its host anemone. It was awarded Highly Commended in the Black & White category in UPY 2019. Its difficult to be original in UW photography and I feel this image is,  as its not been done before or since!

Nick personal favourite is the unique shot of a porcelain crab Highly Commended UPY – Black & White – 2019.
Periclimenes colemani Snooted Colemans Shrimp Portrait Retra LSD Snoot
Motion blur also works with schooling fish
Fast moving Stingray of the Red Sea

Announcing 121 with Nick More

Nick More will be answering my Q&A on a post next to be published on my blog.

Nick, is the British Underwater photographer of the year 2020 and has become a trademark of motion blur

Nick has recently authored a chapter on the latest edition of Martin Edge Underwater Photography and has provided me with some of his most exciting image including some that he consider special

Check his images on http://instagram.com/nicholasmoreuw and stay tuned the post will go up this Saturday June 13 2020

ProRes Raw Status as of May 2020

I have been spending some time looking at ProRes RAW in the last weeks and I have come to some conclusions that I wanted to share with you.

First of all ProRes RAW together with the unsupported CinemaDNG is the only RAW video codec that is not camera manufacturer specific this is a benefit of course as it makes your workflow camera independent.

ProRes RAW partners currently only include Atomos and DJI see full list here https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT200321

Atomos implementation is based on HDMI data transfer and capture of raw signal on disk. This is limited by HDMI bandwidth.

  1. HDMI 2.0 imposes a limit of 12 bits depth
  2. HDMI 2.1 will remove this limit and allow 14+ bit depth however this is not supported mainstream right now

So if you have a camera with an APSC (Super35) or Full Frame sensor with a 14 bits RAW image capability you will be limited by two things:

  1. Sensor Readout: in video mode most full frame camera can’t output the full frame at video recording speed. Super35 being smaller are better in that respect
  2. Bandwidth of HDMI: your camera will not have more than HDMI 2.0

So in short right now the only camera on the market that can fully benefit from ProRes RAW is the ZCAM E2 see here link

This camera needs an external monitor and you need a Ninja V anyway to record ProRes RAW but it does have a Nauticam housing.

So right now your only option to full exploit ProRes RAW underwater is to use a ZCAM E2 with Nauticam housing and HDMI 2.0 connection.

Super35

Super35 cameras remain professional domain, Varicam EVA1 has ProRes RAW support still limited to 12 bits.

Nauticam makes a housing for it. It is of course expensive and this is really prograde.

Full Frame

Due to readout and scaling limitations there are no full frame cameras that can output 4K. However the S1H can offer a cropped Super35 (APSC) output to ProRes RAW this also has a Nauticam housing supporting HDMI 2.0. Am not considering the Nikon Z series total fail in this review.

Sharpness and lens correction

MFT format lenses are autocorrected other formats aren’t we don’t know what ProRes does.

Furthermore we have no details of which demoisaicing procedure is embedded in ProRes. Camera without an antialiasing filter appear to work badly indicating the algorithm favours speed to precision.

It is therefore possible that the IQ in ProRes RAW may be worse than log out of camera. This has been discussed in a workshop on Raw, gamma and log I have attended this week.

Conclusion

At Prosumer level the only options currently for ProRes RAW is the ZCAM E2 as the Panasonic S1H firmware has been delayed.

It is likely that ProRes RAW current readiness produces an outcome that may be equal or less satisfying that standard video processing.

I will keep following on the subject and keep you updated for now the advice is don’t rush it.