Seaspace 2002 Report – Truly Unsinkable
This year’s Seaspace dive show was held June eighth and ninth at Houston’s Astrohall. As some of you may remember – last year at this time, the Astrohall was under about 10 feet of water from Tropical Storm Allison. Needless to say the show was “drowned” last year. But this year Seaspace was back and the best ever – truly earning it’s motto “Unsinkable.”
Seaspace is a dive, photo, and travel show put on every year in June. It is in its 35th year and has grown every year. There is truly something for everyone at Seaspace. For more information about the show visit their website at www.seaspace.org - they are a non-profit organization and proceeds from the show are used for scholarships, etc. The show consists of a film festival, exhibit hall, seminars, and educational activities. I volunteered to work at the Houston Underwater Photographic Society (www.HUPS.org) booth so I didn’t get to attend all of the sessions, but I got to cover most of the sessions about underwater photography.
This year there were literally dozens of good seminars at Seaspace. Of particular interest to UW photographers were:
Barry Guimbellot - Underwater Digital Photography: The Exciting New Medium
I didn’t get to attend this one but Barry covered, storing, transferring and printing your images, equipment selection, and most importantly, how to minimize “frustration.”
Fred Dion & Frank Fennell - Nikon School of Underwater Photography
I attended this presentation which had an exciting section thrown in called “What comes after the NikonosV??” The instructor talked about housed systems and most importantly, housing a Nikon DSLR. I also finally got to learn the location of the light meter in my NikV, as well as how the camera meters for TTL flash exposure.
Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock - Art and the Animal
This pair are the creators of The Secret Seas a book which won the highest award in this type of publishing. I consider this 3 hour seminar to be far and away the most rewarding of the weekend. The goal of the presentation was to minimize discussion of equipment and focus on making a beautiful image – finding the “Art in the Animal.” Burt Jones discussed techniques for shooting Macro – his specialty, while Maureen Shimlock concentrated on Wideangle – especially metering and lighting for those beautifully composed wideangle shots. I can’t wait to try some of the things I learned on my next dive!
There were four booths which I was drawn to during the show. I guess shiny equipment and gadgets must have a strong gravitational field that just pulled me in.
Reps from Ikelite were on hand to explain their line of products.
New products such as the CP5000 Housing, and the DS-125 were on display
Ikelite reps were on hand with a great display. Of course they had the new Coolpix 5000 housing and their new DS125 digital strobe. This was my first chance to handle this strobe and I was very impressed. The recycle time is phenomenal – Ike calls it “one second,” well – that is the maximum recycle time. I’m sure this strobe will be ready to fire before your camera is finished writing to your memory card.
Light and Motion
Reps from Light and Motion “clown around” at their booth.
The new Titan for the Olympus E-20 and the Titan Wideangle lens.
This photo shows the ergonomics of the Titan housing.
A photo of the Tetra and the “controversial” wideangle lens.
I also finally got a chance to put my hands on the Titan – for the Olymups E-20 DSLR. This housing utilized an electronic connection to the camera so all of the control buttons are on the handles – NICE! The LMI reps had brought the Titan Wideangle and Macro lenses and it was obvious that these have been specially designed for the Titan. They are not threaded like other ad-on lenses – instead using a bayonet mount. The wideangle lens is pretty substantial, but LMI added a nice feature – the dome shade is made out of buoyant foam, minimizing the lenses weight underwater. The Tetra was also on hand and I got a chance to “pump” Paul Barnett from LMI for information about the Tetra5000. Apparently, the prototype housings are in the hands of the LMI testers now, so hopefully we will see some of these new housings for the Nikon camera soon. The Tetra5000 will feature the “ROC” or Remote Optical Strobe controller – providing for fine control of strobe power on the housing.
Woody Mahew from Nexus America had a booth to display his products and some of his wonderful photos from his recent trip to Indonesia. I was particularly pleased to find that Woody had brought along a supply of his Ansmann chargers to sell. Yep – I couldn’t resist buying one. This charger is a one-of-a-kind, and while it is pricey, I feel it’s worth it. The energy16 is capable of charging 12 AA batteries on independent solid-state controlled circuits. That means you can simultaneously charge batteries for your camera, and two strobes without fussing with all sorts of cords. The charger is also universal voltage – with a “smart” transformer inside. I’ll need that since I fried my last charger in Fiji.
The Ansmann charger can do 12 AA’s at a time or 6 C cells!
These folks had a display to show off some of the UW cameras they have repaired. They also had some nice equipment, including the Sea and Sea F100 housing. This housing is truly the “top of the line” for UW film shooters.
A special thank you is in order for the volunteers that made Seaspace possible this year. Also a special thanks goes out to Ken Knezick of Island Dreams travel for heading up the effort and to the Dallas Underwater Photographic Society for their great slideshow and print presentation.