My diving diary this year has involved a fair amount of pool based action, with a few dives on the South Coast thrown in for good measure. But in only 12 days I am off on a proper diving holiday (in fact are there any other kind of holidays?). It is time for some warm water and plenty of exotic sounding critters.
This year will see me jet off to the Philippines for the first time. Dumaguete here I come! I have chosen Atlantis Dumaguete for several reasons. Firstly, I think the Philippines can tend to get a bit over looked when it comes to dive holidays, with many photographers heading to Indonesia instead. But it promises a similar range of small subjects and healthy reef dives. And I am curious to see if it delivers. The other big attraction for me at the Atlantis resorts is the sheer amount of diving included in the standard package! A normal day has 5 dives (4 day dives & 1 night dive) on the schedule. In 10 days I can easily rack up a comparative amount of diving as on any liveaboard.
I’ll talk a bit more about the marine life in this part of the world on next week’s blog. But for now, I want to talk kit. As well as a chance to really get down to some hardcore photography, the trip will be a chance for me to try out some of the newest toys on the market. Making it into my kit bag on this trip will be:
1) Light & Motion Sola NightSea UV light vs FIX Neo 1200 DX
I was lucky enough to give fluo diving a go a few years back, but until now, the kit costs have been pretty steep. Both of these options make capturing marine life bio-fluorescence on a night dive far more affordable. And both in a compact set up. I cannot wait to see what kind of results I can get and to see how they compare in performance underwater.
2) Snoot for FIT LED 2500 video light
The basic principle of a snoot is simple. You add a tube to the end of a strobe to focus the light into a restricted circle. The effect is to light only a small section of your picture. The rest remains in shadow. Used properly, it can create a professional, arty effect. But anyone who has tried using a snoot will will agree… aiming it is tricky. The biggest problem is that until you fire the strobe, you cannot see if the light is hitting your subject. It can take a fair few shots until you can position both the light and subject correctly.
The flexible snoot for the FIT LED 2500 video light is a clever solution to this problem and very impressive for the cost. This bit of kit is hot off the press and, having given it a quick try in the pool, going to be fantastic on macro subjects. Cannot wait to give it a whirl in the sea.
3) Nauticam vacuum leak system
Ok so this is not technically a bit of kit per se, but it is a clever system that can be retro fitted to most Nauticam housings. This is the latest in leak prevention. The vacuum pump quite literally sucks some air out of your housing once it is closed, giving you an internal pressure of approx 0.7bar. As long as the pressure inside stays at this level, a small light on the back of the housing is green. If the pressure rises (ie you have a leak), the light goes red. Simple really. And I a hoping an effective way of keeping my camera safe underwater!