Monday, February 25, 2008 

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Went out on my dive buddy Doc Kay's boat Saturday for a couple of dives across the sound on Blakely Rock. We finally have been getting some nice weather and Saturday was fairly warm and sunny, with calm seas. Of course we Northwesterners break out the shorts and sun-tan oil when it hits the 50's these days...

We knew it was going to be a rough morning as the tide exchange was like 12' with a 3kt current out in the middle of the sound at max. Blakely Rock has several dive sites and I knew that China Wall is quite doable on the ebb as the current runs south from the mouth of Winslow Harbor and is blocked by the rock and wall for the most part. We maneuvered in and set a stern and bow hook, as the last time we tried it the wind veered and we almost swung into the rock.

Denise had to sit this day out having had both drysuit problems and a sinus block the week before on a training dive. So it was good to know she could come get us in the inflatable if we got blown off the wall.

I was diving with Phil and Doc was going to scooter around. Unfortunately the scooter died at 20' (switch issue) and we lost track of him when he went to return it and check the hooks.

I had briefed everyone on the site, cautioning them to go due west at 60' to hit the top of the wall, any shallower and you miss it (which also happened last time). I swam down and over and hit it right on the money thank you very much.

The viz was fairly crappy with the large exchange stirring things up and raining silt down on us from the top. Which suited my purposes as I was bound and determined to figure out lighting for wide angle in these conditions. I had just read an article in the new [i]Scuba Diving[/i] by Steven Frink on various lighting techniques. As I am bound for Bonaire in a month I wanted to get some practice with my Sigma 17-70 macro in a dome port. I feel I pretty much have the 60 macro down, but don't usually shoot with the Sigma much due to conditions.

Most of his advice in reducing backscatter gets boiled down to getting close and wide, having your strobes at 45 degrees (or more oblique) and lighting your subject matter - not the water column. This is one case where shooting up is not always the best idea.

There wasn't a lot of subjects, a few agitated Ling Cod on eggs, so I shot some starfish, as there was a great variety and they were colorful. One of the nice things about this lens is that you can shoot moderate macro and wide angle all on the same dive.

The second dive was at just past slack out on the outside of the rock. Even at slack there was a lot of current. Strangely it slacked as the dive went on, instead of building, leading me to believe that some sort of backeddy sets up an hour past slack.

These were all shot at about 1/60th f/7.1 with the Sigma 17-70 Macro in my Fantasea FD80 housing with 5" dome and ext ring. Two Inon 240z strobes on manual.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

About Jack

  • Adventurer, diver, sailor, photographer, writer and sometimes graphic designer. Proprietor of Optical Ocean Sales, LLC. Enjoy the blog, check back and please leave comments!
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