Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Happy As a Clam

I recently came back from a trip to Bali where I finally got a chance to play with my new toys - a Canon G11 and a Fisheye Fix underwater housing. Hilariously, I found out that my new housing is quite the guy magnet! This is ironic since I'm happily off the market now, but seriously, I had guys coming up to me saying stuff like, "That's a beautiful housing you have there" and "Excuse me, I'm a photographer and I couldn't help but notice...".  Single ladies pay attention. You might want to invest in a nice piece of photographic equipment. I'm just sayin'.

Behold my power combo:

I was very nervous about taking my setup underwater for the first time. It's the single most expensive gear purchase I've made so far for my new hobby and I had nightmares about flooding the camera on my first dive. So I made sure to get some DAN equipment insurance beforehand and then I took down just the housing without the camera on my first dive to test the seal at depth.

The good news is that the camera works wonderfully underwater and did not flood at all. The housing is super easy to use and I just can't get over how much easier it is to press the shutter button on this housing compared to the Canon plastic housings. The ISO and exposure settings are all adjustable from the housing itself which really reduces the amount of time you have to spend fiddling with the menu settings.

The bad news is that I didn't get very many good pictures this trip. I like taking macro pictures and staying in one place for a long time to get that perfect shot by playing with the settings. But we were diving off Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida, areas known for their strong currents and surge. It's not really possible to stay in one place for long. At one point I was finning against the current trying to take some reefscape shots of some photogenic angelfish in a crevice. I snapped four shots and when I looked up I realized that I had lost my dive group! Fortunately the others weren't far away, but it drove home the lesson that I really can't take repeat shots in current. I also learned that photographers swimming against the current use up their air much faster than everyone else.

Of course, I knew that Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida were not ideal for beginner photographers since I had dived there before. But the islands are gorgeous and since I was in charge of showing the new ELFs a good time on Bali, I wanted to take them to this beautiful spot a little off the beaten path. I had also hoped that I would get a chance to practice my manual white balance skills with some of the big fish that come with the current and surge, namely manta rays, mola molas and sharks. To my great disappointment though I didn't see any of those things.

So, here's a sampling of a few shots I did manage to get while finning against the current, swaying in surge, struggling to keep up with my dive group and trying not to crash into the coral or my dive buddies:

Saddleback anenomefish

Sand perch
Swimmer crab
Freckled hawkfish
Despite the frustrations of shooting in these conditions, I LOVE my new camera and housing and can't wait for my next dive trip. Hopefully, I'll be able to take a few long weekend trips to Lembeh and Gorontalo in the next couple of months. If so, I really will be as happy as a clam.


  1. The photos seem very impressive to me. Sounds like you were fighting very difficult conditions, so under the circumstances I'd say you should be more than satisfied!