Feb 172015
The camera on the course

The careful reader will have noted by now that I take my camera with me on nearly every dive. There are a limited number of exceptions each year, usually where the camera would seriously impede further cave exploration. From a practical perspective this means I can do almost everything I need to do on an average dive with one hand or with the camera propped between my forearms. It also means that anywhere between half and all of my available brainpower is devoted to f-stops and strobe positioning rather than deco, navigation and gas consumption. The key to success is knowing when to forget about art and concentrate on diving. This is a balance I’ve managed well so far. The [read more…]

Jan 132015
MOD3 and 100m on the rEvo

Once we had progressed through the skills and drills dives discussed in the last post, it was on to the deeper stuff. This meant many of the same flashcards seen previously with the added pressure of extra depth. Rather than swimming out from shore we also added some very small boats to the fun. The second photo here is me fully geared up in my rEvo as we chugged towards the dive site. On arrival in the right location it was a sideways manoeuvre to get fins on and slip over the side of the boat. The driver then passed in my three stages and we did a floating S drill as a team. It’s the rainy season in Bali at [read more…]

Jan 062015
MOD2 course - taking the rEvo to 60m

I have just returned from ten days in Bali, and nearly 20 hours of time underwater. After doing the MOD1 course on my rEvo in warm Indonesian waters back in 2013, it seemed like time to repeat the experience with a little more depth. I’ve done enough rEvo diving over the intervening period that I was comfortable with the combined MOD2 and MOD3 courses in one trip. The plan was for skills, drills, theory, work up dives and an eventual dive to 100m. First up was the MOD2 for normoxic trimix bailout. Of course, as per the MOD1 course the camera came along for the ride. I installed the deep spring kit in my Aquatica housing prior to the trip [read more…]

Nov 182013
The rEvo and the camera part II

I already talked about my rationale behind taking my camera on my MOD1 rEvo course – I wanted to learn how I was going to handle both camera and rebreather at the same time, all while under supervision. During the course I learnt a few tricks and techniques for stowing the camera while dealing with a rebreather issue. The second part of managing the two together was working out how to take photos while diving closed circuit. I’m sure this is going to be a continual learning curve for the next year or two, so I’ll probably be revisiting this topic a few times. Here’s some initial challenges and thoughts. My first observation is on buoyancy. I know I tend [read more…]

Nov 112013
The rEvo and the camera part I

There’s a varying range of opinions on the compatibility of underwater photography and diving closed circuit. I know photographers who say they’d never dive a rebreather because the camera takes all of their attention. And I know rebreather divers where the last thing they want is another complicated device they have to swim around with. For me I average about 100 dives a year and in the four years since I’ve had my camera rig less than 5% of those dives have involved leaving the camera behind. So the question isn’t whether it’s going to work, it’s more about how I can make it work. The cave diving I do already demands a split focus. Caves require situational awareness, and [read more…]

Sep 132013
Trip packing again

The eagle-eyed will have noticed that I missed my regular Monday posting this week, which must mean life is busy. I’ve spent this week packing before leaving for Bali tonight, to join Marc Crane at Orca Dive Club Bali for six days of rEvo instruction. I’m doing my MOD1 course to begin bubble-free diving. I’m excited about the photographic possibilities…being able to sneak up on critters that don’t like bubbles, and doing ~30m dives on helium so I’m not composing under the influence of (as much) nitrogen. Of course, there’s a learning curve that comes with all that. The move to closed circuit will mean a complete relearn of buoyancy skills with the end of small adjustments by breathing in [read more…]