Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

best time to photograph off Cocos island using submersible


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 les11222

les11222

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bondi Junction, Sydney

Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:40 PM

I am a photographer but only a novice diver, so I want to photograph hammerhead shark schools and rays, and cleaning stations off the Cocos Islands on the Agro using the Deepsee  submersible, for one dive a day. I would  like to know what is the best time of year for such a venture. There is an opening this October 3-12. Is this a good time?  Need some detailed advice, as this can end up being very expensive.  



#2 John Bantin

John Bantin

    Sperm Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1857 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Teddington/Twickenham UK
  • Interests:former Technical Editor of
    Diver Magazine (UK) and www.divernet.com
    occasional contributor
    SportDiver (Aus)
    Undercurrent
    Author of Amazing Diving Stories (Wiley Nautical)

Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

It's very difficult to get good photographs from inside the dome of a submersible, thanks to the refraction. Are you mounting your camera on the outside?

Attached Images

  • _FFF2539.jpg

Edited by John Bantin, 22 March 2013 - 11:03 AM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#3 matt215

matt215

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 204 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Franklin, TN

Posted 22 March 2013 - 10:54 AM

June - September is the best time for hammerheads. Even better in La Nina conditions, and you may strike out in  el Nino conditions. A dive a day in the submersible is gonna get expensive. Quickly. I'd take that submersible to the deep deep and photograph stuff most people have never seen.


Canon 5D mk2, Ikelite housing, Ikelite 125 strobes, 17-40 mm 4.0 L, 100 mm, 24-150 mm L, 100-400 mm 5.6 L
Visit My Website
Visit My Website

#4 les11222

les11222

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bondi Junction, Sydney

Posted 22 March 2013 - 09:44 PM

Thanks Matt215 and Giant squid. What facilities are there for outside mounting and control. I am  taking  only still images. Have a 5D mkIII and 1DX with various lenses. Have a housing for the 5D, Can you get up close to the dome and what focal length would not be too compromised but still useful.  Do you have any images taken inside or with camera mounted outside. Am I right in surmising early October may be quite good, with the neutral La Nina /El Nino predictions at present?



#5 John Bantin

John Bantin

    Sperm Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1857 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Teddington/Twickenham UK
  • Interests:former Technical Editor of
    Diver Magazine (UK) and www.divernet.com
    occasional contributor
    SportDiver (Aus)
    Undercurrent
    Author of Amazing Diving Stories (Wiley Nautical)

Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:39 PM

I thought that the trip in the DeepSee was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, the only successful pictures I got with the camera dry inside the sub with me was of my fellow passengers! You need to position the camera lens node at the correct spot inside the dome to get good images and as anyone with an underwater camera will tell you on looking at the dome of the sub, that will leave the camera looking directly upwards. You would need to contact Avi or Schmolic at understatement.com about the possibility of mounting your camera in its own housing on the outside of the sub.


I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#6 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10644 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:56 AM

I think you'll want at least 2 dives with the DeepSee.  I believe they only do 2 sites now, Everest and Wall, both with different life and seascapes.

As John says, you'll have to apply dome dynamics dynamically.  I used a 70-200, 16-35 and 24-70 on my dives.  I put a 12/25mm extension tube on the 70-200 so it could focus closer on the virtual image.  Just don't go higher than f13 since the diffraction is mush detail  A diopter can be used as well.  I never recorded exactly what strength diopter I used for the telephoto  but you'll want that to shoot the smaller fish like the jello nose  which are usually more downward between your legs through the dome. I can't remember the dome specs now but if you ask Schmulik, Nico or Avi, they'll tell you.

You may also have to do some yoga poses to shoot wide angle and feel free to get into the center space.  Use the 5D3 since the extra resolution will help when you have to shrink down.  Use the 1Dx with the 70-200 to catch the smaller fish and the 5D3 with the 24-70.  The Pricklies I had weren't so shy but subsequent dives, they stayed a bit further away, so the 16-35 was a bit too wide. 

 

John, I think Schmulik and Avi will be glad to hear you think they are understated. :) You may wish to turn off autocorrect next time. ;)


Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#7 les11222

les11222

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bondi Junction, Sydney

Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:56 AM

Thanks for that detail. Would the canon liveview using an external video screen or laptop be useful in positioning the camera in the confined space?

sorry for the slowness in reply.

Have just flown from Sydney to Mont St Michel in France to catch the spring tides.


Edited by les11222, 29 March 2013 - 02:52 AM.


#8 John Bantin

John Bantin

    Sperm Whale

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1857 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Teddington/Twickenham UK
  • Interests:former Technical Editor of
    Diver Magazine (UK) and www.divernet.com
    occasional contributor
    SportDiver (Aus)
    Undercurrent
    Author of Amazing Diving Stories (Wiley Nautical)

Posted 29 March 2013 - 05:59 AM

I thought that the trip in the DeepSee was a great once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, the only successful pictures I got with the camera dry inside the sub with me was of my fellow passengers! You need to position the camera lens node at the correct spot inside the dome to get good images and as anyone with an underwater camera will tell you on looking at the dome of the sub, that will leave the camera looking directly upwards. You would need to contact Avi or Schmolic at understatement.com about the possibility of mounting your camera in its own housing on the outside of the sub.

Oops! That should have read underseahunter.com!


I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#9 les11222

les11222

    Starfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bondi Junction, Sydney

Posted 17 November 2013 - 05:07 PM

Thought I would provide an answer to my initial question since I now have dived on the submersible DeepSee  seven times in October.

1) In regard to the best time of year to go.
Clearly, I only went for one week and not throughout the year, but I did put that question to the Deepsee operators. Generally the hammerhead schools are larger and more accessible during the wet season (May through October). However this depends on the position of the thermocline, a sharp boundary between the cold deep water and the warm upper layer, set by local tides and conditions.  The position generally rises in the wet season to ~40m and descends in the dry to ~100m. As the hammerheads schools stay above and near the thermocline, its position is a critical factor for scuba diving limited to 43m, but not for the submersible. However the available light for photography rapidly falls with depth, making it difficult to get good exposure much below 50m as flash is not possible through the acrylic dome. In addition, water visibility is a factor being around 18m during the wet rising to 25m in the dry. (see webpage below for graph).  So the answer is not that easy, but this October there were hundreds of hammerheads per school, whale and tiger sharks, manta rays .......

2) Normally the submersible is hired by scuba divers wanting to experience a single descend to the deep at 300m, or a single shallow dive (~100m) at Everest, a rock pinnacle with a profusion of different fish, which provides fantastic  panoramic photos of the passengers and a storm of small fish. But as I requested a wider experience with the sharks we followed the hammerhead schools being completely enveloped  on a number of times by hundred of individuals. So the operators are thinking to expand  the use of the  submersible to more adventurous projects. Clearly it has the advantage of a wide range of depths, no air bubbles, extended dive times and walk on walk off and is accessible for non divers and novices, with the major downside of expense. But this is the beginning  of a new era, opening a new branch of travel and exploration.  As more operators come online, the expense may fall. I have noted there is another submersible (Stanleysubmarines) available to the public in Honduras, with dives to 1000ft, 1500ft and 2000ft, but I don't know more than that. I have requested details but have not yet had a reply.

3) Photographing from the submersible.
 It is not possible to get to the optical centre of the acrylic dome as it is blocked by the control panel. This problem can be ameliorated by using: a small camera, a right angle viewfinder, a remote video screen with live view. Still reasonably sharp images were obtained with a full frame zoom lens up to 70mm , although the images  were not as sharp as from the  normal underwater housings. A +1 dioptre correcting lens did not improve the image quality. I could not find a sweet spot  photographing from an arbitrary location, due to local variations in the acrylic refractive index, probably caused by stress and age.
The DeepSee has external arm, which can be used as a normal underwater housing with flash, but this is at the passenger's expense.  At present only affordable by the likes of the BBC or National Geographic.
 But it will come.

 

For those who want some additional information on what to expect, I have an illustrated article  at http://www.artphototravel.net/sth-america/hammerheads-cocos-island-costa-rica/ including maps, images and short videos.

 

 

Attached Images

  • cocos--hammehead-school.jpg