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Underwater shooting with THETA! An undersea world with a 360° eye in Koh Tao

Interview

Posted date : 2020.08.03

With a housing, THETA allows you to capture your wonderful memories in a 360-degree view even underwater.

We interviewed THETA user Takaharu, who had a great time scuba diving on Koh Tao in Thailand last summer. He photographed underwater with THETA in 360 degrees. Read this article about him with his beautiful photos!

Getting the most out of THETA functions underwater

Why did you go to Koh Tao?

I used to live and work in Thailand and visited Koh Tao many times. Then I won an “unlimited scuba diving trip in Koh Tao” at a party organized by a dive shop in Japan. So I took a vacation last summer and went to Koh Tao for the first time in years.

Taken with THETA: Friends ascending

I heard that was your second time doing underwater photography. What did you keep in mind when shooting in Koh Tao this time?

I bought THETA V last year and tried underwater photography for the first time during a trip to Miyakojima. However, I had just gotten it and didn’t know about plug-ins. In Koh Tao, I installed a plug-in called “Self-timer Locked” which puts THETA straight into self-timer mode when activated, which was very convenient.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Taken with THETA: Lighting up hermit crabs

What’s useful about Self-timer Locked?

It is necessary to use the self-timer function when shooting with a monopod in water. But for that to work, I need to activate the self-timer before putting THETA in the housing. However, the self-timer mode turns off when THETA sleeps, and then I would have to activate it again by going back to the boat every single time.

My solution was to keep THETA always on so that it wouldn’t sleep, but this drained the battery very quickly when I used it in Miyakojima for the first time.

Taken with THETA: Selfie with the monopod stuck to the bottom of the sea

With the Self Timer Locked plug-in I don’t have to keep THETA constantly powered on since it automatically activates in self-timer mode even after it sleeps or turns off. This function really helped the battery last longer.

Did you use a selfie stick with THETA?

I was using a selfie stick to avoid having myself being in frame so much, but I realized it doesn’t change that much compared to just holding THETA directly with my hand. This is because THETA images can be edited later with the THETA+ app, so I can just trim off the unnecessary parts.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Taken with THETA

So, during my visit to Kot Tao, I often shot handheld without a monopod underwater.

How to shoot underwater with THETA

So in what kind of situations did you use a monopod?

I used it when I brought THETA close to turtles, or when I wanted to shoot in a school of fish.

Taken with THETA

The above image was taken with a THETA on a monopod and brought up to a few centimeters from the turtle’s mouth.

Wow, the photo has quite an impact!

Thank you! Actually, the turtle seemed to think THETA was food. I expected the turtle to run away if I put THETA so close to him, but instead he tried to eat THETA, and he bit the housing actually (laughs). Fortunately, THETA and the housing were unharmed.

I also took pictures with THETA on a monopod by sticking it into a school of fish. Koh Tao is famous for its large number of fish and rich wildlife. The fish swam away quickly when I used the same technique as I did on turtles. Even so, I was able to get some shots like the one below.

Taken with THETA: Inside a school of fish

Did you shoot manually?

No, I shot everything in auto. When I first shot THETA underwater in Miyakojima, I manually adjusted the settings via my smartphone before my dive. However, I realized that auto mode is easier because I can’t change the settings anyway when I’m underwater.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Taken with THETA: Sunset in Koh Tao

I edit the colors in Lightroom after shooting.

The most impressive scene

Please share the most impressive scene you saw while shooting with THETA in Koh Tao.

The THETA image of me surrounded by corals that I edited in Little Planet mode got really popular. Actually, the location was quite plain with little color, but I adjusted the color by raising the contrast in Lightroom.

Taken with THETA

But the most impressive shot to me was the image below, which is an edited image taken at a place with submarine blocks. I just shot it without much thought, but when I edited the image in Little Planet mode in THETA+ I was surprised to find that it turned out to look like a surreal painting or as if I was in another dimension.

Taken with THETA

I think the beauty of THETA is that we can enjoy 360-degree images more by editing them with the THETA+ app.

It seems that when it comes to shooting with THETA you like not only fish but also many other kinds of scenes.

I’ve been to Koh Tao many times, but this time the sea conditions were pretty bad. I did 12 scuba dives in 3 days, but the sea was rough every time. Given the circumstances, I tried shooting many different ways with varying results.

Typically, I wouldn’t take pictures of blocks on the seafloor but it happened that conditions were poor and there were few spots where I could take pictures, so I just tried shooting at all kinds of places, and luckily I was able to take interesting shots (laughs)!

Taken with THETA: A wreck on the seabed

Any impressive moments?

In Koh Tao, the sea is beautiful but sunsets are also great. I enjoyed spending some slow times with my diving friends while watching the sun setting to the sea.

Taken with THETA: Hanging out with friends

Is there anything you would like to try in the future?

I was planning a diving trip to Vladivostok, Russia this summer. Due to the Corona crisis, however, I gave up on traveling abroad this year. But I’d like to go diving again in Okinawa instead.

Originally, I was interested in THETA Z1, but bought THETA V because Z1 doesn’t support the housing. Even so, THETA Z1, the flagship model still impresses me a lot with its high quality, so I’m interested in using Z1 for subjects beyond underwater photography.

Well, thank you very much! I hope you’ll try THETA Z1 for subjects beyond your underwater photography!

Model:THETA V

 

For more details, please visit the product page.

Instagram: @takapyon_gram

 

 

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