Greetings from Bowen Island (Vancouver), British Columbia
New to this site and relatively new to Underwater Photography. Looking forward to learning more through observation, comments and feedback.
For 3-4 years I had a little point and click Olympus but after the housing sprung a leak I went cameraless for a few years. Having spent a fair amount of time in the water over the years with videographers playing 'critter spotter' it was time to get a decent underwater camera of my own...
What made me take the plunge (pardon the pun) was finally booking a long term dream trip to Kenya for Safari and diving. This trip prompted me to research cameras and purchase something to do the trip justice and that I could build my skills with. I ended up purchasing an Olympus OMD with 12-50 lens + Nauticam Housing along with a Sola 800 and one Sea & Sea YS DS1. The cheat sheet for basic camera settings I found on this forum was a great help for a newbie. Prior to my trip I managed 2 quick cold water dives to play with my new system.
A Borrowed 75-300mm telephoto did wonders for wildlife photos on land while the 12-50 lens in the Nauticam provided great flexibility underwater. Ocean conditions on the coast of Kenya are challenging for a beginner photographer; current, large surge, sand and sediment in the water column combined with lack of manual focus while in the housing made for a VERY steep learning curve. Regardless it was an amazing experience and would highly recommend it to anybody.
I have been diving for 20 years and am fortunate to live within an hour of many decent dive sites and within a day's travel of cold water sites that are famous around the world. I am active with the Underwater Council of British Columbia and Marine Life Sanctuary Society of BC. We advocate for marine conservation efforts, placement of divers mooring buoys, continued access to shore dive sites, diver safety and perform community outreach programs such as underwater cleanups and Beach Interpretation days where we collect specimens while diving for viewing shoreside by local schools and Nature Clubs, the critters are then returned unharmed to the water.
My first few months of taking Underwater Photography seriously has been both challenging and very rewarding. It has brought a whole new appreciation not only for photographers, but the fun local critters which I had begun to take for granted after so many years diving.
In hindsight adding photography to my love of diving and the marine environment was the next logical step which I should have taken years ago. Being able to capture images underwater allows me to share these passions with my non-diving friends, family and neighbours.