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Kona "Pelagic Magic" black water night dive


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#1 synthetic

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:48 PM

Jack's Diving Locker in Kona, HI runs a dive they call "Pelagic Magic." They take a boat a few miles off shore at night, so that you're floating above 7000' of water in the middle of the ocean. You hang below the boat and watch the odd deep-water pelagic life that comes to the surface to feed at night. I've done the dive three times and finally had some photos come out:

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More here:
http://gallery.laity...ter/200907_kona
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#2 Scubamoose

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:57 PM

Surely a very magical experience!
And some great shots in Your gallery - thanks for sharing!

Karel
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#3 Cal

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 09:20 PM

This is one of my MUST do dives.

Great photos!
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#4 Canuck

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 07:29 AM

Love the gallery Jeff. Well done. It brought back many memories. Great catch on the Juvi fish.

I posted some info on what I learned on the dives in my earlier Wetpixel post. What did you find was the best way to capture photos on the Blackwater dive? I would appreciate any and all tips and techniques you are able to share. I plan to go back! Thanks.

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#5 synthetic

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 10:52 AM

Thank you. It's a very frustrating photo challenge. Focusing on tiny transparent jellys at night is hard! This was my second attempt with a camera. I had two UK light cannons as focus lights (one handheld) and it was still difficult to focus. I usually set my camera focus to center only, this time I set it to "anything and everything." A lot of things would float by as the camera (5D2) would hunt and hunt for focus... and then it was gone.

I shot the photos at f8 1/200. When I was at f18, my preview image was black and I couldn't tell if I was getting anything. At f8 I could at least see that something was there. So the DOF is not great but I'll call it an artistic choice. :) Next time I will try a tighter aperture.

I wish I could do that dive every week -- it's amazing. After about 500 dives, most of what I see underwater is something I recognize. This is one of the few dives where I can say, "what the f- is that!?" several times on a dive. I highly recommend it if you make it to the Big Island. The Jack's website has some video of the dive, I think. My wife shot video, but I don't know if she's looked at it yet.

Edited by synthetic, 10 August 2009 - 10:52 AM.

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#6 Deep6

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 11:03 AM

Thank you. It's a very frustrating photo challenge. Focusing on tiny transparent jellys at night is hard! This was my second attempt with a camera. I had two UK light cannons as focus lights (one handheld) and it was still difficult to focus. I usually set my camera focus to center only, this time I set it to "anything and everything." A lot of things would float by as the camera (5D2) would hunt and hunt for focus... and then it was gone.

I shot the photos at f8 1/200. When I was at f18, my preview image was black and I couldn't tell if I was getting anything. At f8 I could at least see that something was there. So the DOF is not great but I'll call it an artistic choice. :) Next time I will try a tighter aperture.

I wish I could do that dive every week -- it's amazing. After about 500 dives, most of what I see underwater is something I recognize. This is one of the few dives where I can say, "what the f- is that!?" several times on a dive. I highly recommend it if you make it to the Big Island. The Jack's website has some video of the dive, I think. My wife shot video, but I don't know if she's looked at it yet.


Whoa Jeff,
Way cool. You didn't say what lens (diopter?) you were using. I'm heading for the big island late June of 2010. I would appreciate any tips on the diving or dive operations. Private PM if you like.
TIA,
Bob

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#7 Mike L

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 05:44 PM

Very nice shots. I hope to do that dive one day. Ive heard about it and hear its an amazing experience.
Mike Luzansky
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#8 Seriola

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 05:53 PM

I love these shots, this has also become a must dive for me. Next trip to Hawaii...
Cheers,
Wyatt
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#9 synthetic

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 02:38 PM

I used a Canon 100mm lens with a Woody's 2x diopter. It was actually easier to focus with the diopter than without, perhaps because I was trying to focus too close without it.
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#10 greedo5678

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:56 PM

Sorry guys and gals, i may be late onto this band wagon, but i love the idea of this dive!!

The shots look real challenging, but the results are really cool, and not your standard subjects seen over again. Think would make great prints for even non-divers.

My question is, does the boat go to the same spot each time, or is there really no need? A random placement would turn up the same migration of organisms, or is thre some greater topography at play that brings these creatures up? Surely not in 7000ft of water.

So my 2nd question is why does it have to be HI and Kona? Can this be attempted anywhere? Not suggesting i pop into my local dive shop and persuade them to drive me out 3 miles to jump into the black, but in the process of setting up a dive resort and wondered if it would be do-able here in the Philippines. The bay outside my front door is 600+ fathoms on the charts so should be deep enough? We get a fair few of the Ctenophores (comb jellies) here on standard night dives ... worth it, or a waste of time, effort, money and sleep?

Any thoughts?
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