Capt Chad, you will have no trouble with a standard tokina 10-17 lens with the D7000, which I use as well. The D7000 is a DX camera and the lens is designed for such a camera. You can also use domes in the 4 inch sizing with that setup. There are several mfg companies with small domes for that lens and camera setup. Its quite compact for travel and very nice for close focus wide angle. The lens will focus all the way down to the dome.
Buy The Underwater Photographer by Martin Edge, 4th ed. Then read it. As you practice/learn more, read more or read again.
Get in 20-30 dives with no photo gear before considering taking it. Then start using it on dives with easy dive conditions and reasonable visibility.
Consider practicing diving with photo taking in a pool. You can learn quite a bit about your system this way and it usually costs little. You can learn about your lights and how much light they offer you in perfect conditions in the pool.
I like fiber optic triggered strobes and those work with your housing.
People in the UK can likely provide better insight for lighting local diving.
Keep most of your old camera equipment and be very disorganized. She will never notice as more parts are added to the 'pile'. Never let her see the money handling. Never explain what individual parts are for, she likely does not care anyway. Make a big deal of it when you sell old stuff on ebay, not mentioning that you are getting about 30% back from what you paid.
I remember when my wife let me buy my first DSLR setup. She said, "I am glad to do this for you so we do not have to buy any more camera equipment." They are so cute when they say things like that.
Lana Turner said it best
A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.
If you give her a lifestyle she is happy with, she is less likely to be unhappy with yours.
While presented in humor, you might find useful facts in there somewhere.
Not certain what she learned? She learned it can be a lot of fun! Seems like a good start.
When I add something new to my rig, I learn some about it and practice with it in a pool setting with objects such as the toys you mention. Non-floating toys can be connected to floats with string to provide objects 'floating' in the water column and can be used quite shallow, which matches her non-strobe setup.
I would think learning 3 things is a lot for one session with a 12 yr old. Heck, its a lot for an adult. I would try going for one topic only for one session. For example, shooting up vs. down for one session. Then expand that to shooting up and down from varying distances for the next session, which provides a reminder of the first session and brings something new to the next one.
Learning can be compared with building a brick tower. Each new brick rests on the foundation from the brick of the previous session. Trying too many bricks at once, before the motar cures, brings down all the days efforts into a confused mess. Math classes tend to start with Algebra, then Geometry, then to Trig., then to Calculus over a series of yrs. Try teaching a bit of all of them at once and its just a confused mess.
Staying on the east end of Grand Cayman works well for us. The diving is nice and the crowds are missing. The wife likes to read in the shade on the beach with a nice breeze. The west end has little breeze, is much hotter and the roads are crowded. The east has a nice breeze all day.
Diving with Ocean Frontiers sets the bar for customer service. Setup your gear the first time and for the rest of your time, never touch it again unless you dive elsewhere. They break it down, rinse it, hang it. On your next scheduled dive, its on the boat, setup and ready when you arrive. Just add the weights and you are ready to go. If you ever need it, just let them know and they bring it to your car and load it in the trunk for heading west to the silver sides.
The Ocean Frontiers boat diving is also nicely arranged. If you want to go with a guide on a ‘tour’, one is offered. If you want to go elsewhere with your buddy just let them know. You are then responsible for yourself and finding the boat’s mooring – go wherever you want. The only time limits are your air supply and your nitrogen loading. Once the ‘tour’ is complete (if you take it), the dive guide shows you the boat and leaves you to stay as long as your air and N2 loading permit. I found most people on the boat headed up after 50-60 minutes. No one complained at all when I stayed down for 70-80 minutes. I found that after most people were in the boat, a considerable number of fish would appear. Likely they were in the area when we started jumping in and left with all the activity.
I find the walls on the east end to be so beautiful to dive but I find no reasonable way to photograph the feeling. The top at 40-50 ft, the bottom dropping vertically far beyond sight, cruising along at 90-100 ft. I thought it might be like an eagle gliding along the face of Teton’s. I find very few mountain photographs that give you the feel of being there, just as with the walls at Cayman.
I did two shore dives with Eden Rock and they were quite pleasant to work with. I hired a private guide for seeing/photoing the silver sides and tarpon. Wanting to go out early, have no one stir the bottom and no one to get in my way or me be in theirs. My first guide was Chris and he was perfect. Fine with an 80 min dive at 40-50 ft, great at suggestions for how to arrange shots in advance, good as a model for diver/fish shots. Went back for more and had someone else guide me as Chris had left for vacation. They were pleasant enough but insisted it was to be a 60 min dive since she needed to be back to lead scheduled dives later. But still satisfactory. One downside to Eden Rock is the lack of fresh water. They have NO drinking water except what is for sale in bottles. They do have water + tanks for rinsing gear and you are on your own for that service buts its easy enough as its all outside and lots of space.
Did the morning stingray snorkel with Ocean Frontier but it was not early enough for sunrise lighting with stingrays. I was hoping for over/under shots with sunrise and rays. We arrived too late for that lighting and too late to avoid wave chop for good o/u shots. But still fun. The wave action was too high for good video as even with 10 lbs of weight I could not stay stable enough but it was adequate for stills in natural lighting.
Diving the silver sides was the highlight of the trip. The first dive I focused on flash related shots mostly then the second dive went for more natural lighting and also some video work with natural lighting.
Pictures and a bit of video at the link below. I will be adding photos over time so check back over the next week or two for more pics. Comments welcomed.
The photo's of your model make me say, 'nice' or 'very nice'. The photo of your daughter made me smile. So the model touched my sense of appreciation but your daughter touched me deeper. No matter how much we try the artistic, the joy of a child is hard to beat.
Quite some yrs ago, my family vacationed at a resort that had a play performed. Those waiting our tables stopped long enough to perform the play as we ate. My young daughter was impressed by the play and told me she wanted to be an actress. I told her to look carefully at what she saw. Their jobs were waiting the tables, their passion and hobby was the play. I told her to never confuse her hobby with her income. Be an actress for a hobby all you want, but have a job that pays the bills.
That speech seems to fit here as well.
For Cenote diving at Playa, I would contact WP member NCmermaid. She and hubby run a dive shop at Playa that I used. They were great. They can also arrange a tour of Tulum. Cannot speak about other Mayan site tours with them.
Some type of index for positive dive shop feedback and negative shop feedback might be useful for this site. Rather turns it into a diveadvisor type of arrangement. Many of us have had great trips...many terrible service. So far, search and read is the only way I know of to sort it out.
Thanks for adding your comments regarding places to avoid. Considering diving that area later in the yr and will use your advice.