Photography for me is a hobby, a passion, a fascination all rolled into one. A very wise soul once told me, ‘Never just take a picture, always make a picture.' Over the years, I have tried to live up to those words whenever I focus my camera on a subject. Whether I am on land or underwater, my camera is my constant companion.
Throughout this website and page, and in the many linked galleries (as to the← left) are examples of my picture making forays. The underwater photography has been an evolutionary learning experience on two fronts. As I have become a better, more experienced scuba diver, my photography has also been elevated. In addition, since my first attempts at underwater shots (Bonaire 2002), I have transitioned to using better equipment.
Here is a chronicle of my equipment and subsequent upgrades:
I started out with a Canon PowerShot S100, the first in the continuing Digital ELPH series. This was a 2.1 megapixel camera, state-of-the-art for its time. The first series of photos can be seen from Bonaire 2002-Bonaire 2003.
As a novice diver, on my 3rd trip to Bonaire in 12 months, and on my second dive of the trip, through inexperience and inattentiveness, my Ikelite housing flooded and ruined the camera. I was able to salvage the memory card and the few images I captured before the flood are shown here (Bonaire2nd 2003).
After the Bonaire flooding, I replaced the S100 with a Canon SD100 at 3.2 megapixels. I made some slight structural modifications to the Ikelite housing port to fit the new model, but lost some of the housing's button functionality.
It became clear to me, through research and understanding, photography in a water medium requires lots of light. The camera's flash and/or ambient lighting was only barely adequate and only in ideal circumstances. To this end, I added an Ikelite DS50 strobe to my inventory.
As I took more frequent dive trips (2004-2006), my picture making opportunities and abilities improved with the upgraded photo equipment.
In those 2 years, digital photography advanced in leaps and bounds, so I decided to upgrade once again. Sometime during the period of 2004-2006, I had abandoned my DS50 strobe for a more powerful DS125 substrobe by Ikelite. This new strobe provided a greater field of coverage. To enhance my photographic capabilities, I added a Canon SD900, 10.0 megapixel Digital ELPH camera (2006-2008). Combined with the DS125 strobe, I began seeing dramatic improvements in my underwater photographs. Colors, details and composition greatly improved, due partly to equipment but mostly to steadily improving diving skills.
I have since added a newer camera, Canon SD950, 12.1 megapixel digital ELPH. To this I have added a ReefNet's SubSee macro lens system adapted to the Ikelite housing. I have also added a Nocturnal Lights Inc., SLX 800 video/focus light to my set up. The entire adaptation carries some heft on land, but works well underwater as the housing's negative buoyancy offsets some of the weight.
In Late 2011, I upgraded to a Canon S95, part of the professional point and shoot series by Canon. Along with this upgrade, the compatible Ikelite Housing and also Ikelite's DS161 Movie strobe were added to my setup. As with any new equipment, there is an adjustment period. So 2011 saw the beginning of possibilities for exciting photos ahead; light and colors for all to see.
2012 saw the expansion into a more dedicated foray of macro photo capabilities when I added 2 Inon UCL-165 M 67 close-up lenses to the Ikelite housing port. Macro requires patience, ideal lighting and real steadiness of the camera. In time, I hope to master all these elements at once to be able make quality images.
Video, like still photography underwater requires proper lighting. Adding a GoPro Hero 2 video camera to the rigging increased the possibilities for capturing quality video images underwater; adding to the fun and excitement of the underwater experience. Recently (4/2014), I had the opportunity to dive the Silfra "crack" of Thingviller National Park, Iceland. The GoPro captured that awesome experience that can be linked from here by clicking the named link or the photo Gallery under Iceland ‘14, Diving Video .
In the never ending quest for improved resources, 2015 saw the upgrade to a Canon G series 7x (G7x). At 20+ megapixel there are endless possibilities to incorporate advance features while make underwater images. As always, new camera requires new housing and this meant going with the Ikelite model. I added video and focus lights from Light & Motion: Sola 800 and Sola 2000. And even though the G7x has been tested to have excellent video capabilities, I also upgraded to the GoPro Hero 4. I also resurrected the previously abandoned DS50 strobe to balance out the gear and further enhance the underwater photography experiences.
Keeping up with the advances in digital photography and digital accessories is a neverending quest. To that end, I have recently (2018) switched from my rugged Ikelites to a pair of Inon Z330 strobes. These strobes offer a great balance in lighting capabilities. Their compact nature and relative weight add to their functionality underwater. I am really pleased with the results thus far and look forward to making more well lit images from beneath the waves
"Getting wet" as divers say, is sheer joy and delight as one descends into the blue. The feeling is sometimes defined in many words or one picture. But like the ocean in its vastness, there is always more to see and describe, so I return as often as I can to visit the vastness and experience the serenity.