Getting Comfortable on the Bottom of Bahia De Todos Os Santos

by John Downey

I’m a late bloomer when it comes to diving and even more recent, underwater photography.  My wife and I were certified in the worst conditions off of Venezuela’s coast but the upshot was that everything went uphill after those first silty dives.

The last thing anyone needs is to feel the need for more gear if unsure you’ll really use or need it.  I resisted the urge for a long time, renting some cheap, underwater point-and-shoot cameras and finally discovered the Canon G12 and underwater housing combination; more than great setup for a beginner.  The housing is solid and all of the controls are accessible via buttons and knobs.  Nice addition – a plastic flash diffuser which provides great, soft light.  Also rated to 300ft for piece of mind unless you’re going for the lost gold of the Titanic.  And compared to SLR setups, it’s cheap!

I’ve used this setup for only two or three dives.  Photographing underwater can be very frustrating compared to terra firma.  Everything moves, complicating focus and the right shutter speed to freeze movement vis-a-vis too high of an ISO that introduces noise.  So I cheated. This (rock?)fish didn’t budge when I approached within six inches and buried my elbows in the sand for stability.  One frame with the flash on medium and there you have it, the magical bottle of sunlight burst at 26m and splashed color into an otherwise monochromatic scene.  Sadly, it’s about as beautiful as this guy is going to get.

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