Went down to Cabo for a few days and then out on the Solmar V to the Soccoros for a week in mid-January. It can always be a crap shoot, and the last trip I made (this is my third) was in January and was spectacular. This time we had wind a cool weather in Cabo for most of the 5 days.
The islands really got beat up with hard rain and wind the week before we went. Fortunately it had improved as we left. Unfortunately the seas were choppy and the wind was still bad for the first couple of days. The viz was pretty bad, worst I've seen. Normally it's 80-100', but we had more like 20' horizontal and 40' vertical. We couldn't see our fins at Cabo Pearce. Frustratingly, there was pretty decent animal interactions, with lots of hammerheads and even a small (10-12') Tiger at Canyons, but pretty much impossible to shoot!
Roca Partida had better viz, still not what I've seen there, but lumpy seas and strong currents. There was a small school of Galapagos sharks, but the group scared them away. Whales were in and a couple of lucky guys dropped in and go a few shots, of course they were gone went I went in...
Finally, we got back to San Benedicto and El Boiler was ok, although very hazy, and pretty bad by the afternoon. But the mantas were playing, and over the course of 8 dives I managed to get some images I liked, by getting within a few feet. Several dives we had 2-3 even 4 circling us and enjoying our bubbles. Over the years, I've learned to just stay motionless and verical with my hand raised as if asking a question. They'll zoom by, stop, and circle right over me. They love the attention. Amazing for an animal thats 18-22' in width!
Oh well, that's blue water diving for you. The next couple of week's trip reports had the viz back and conditions excellent. The crew on the Solmar V is fantastic, the old boat still works out quite well, great food, huge camera table and everyone had fun.
We do have a charter in 2014 at the end of May concentrating on shooting bait balls and the huge schools of silky sharks that seem to congregate around Roca Partida that time of year. I'll have an announcement up soon.
Here's a few shots. They were taken with a Nikon D800, Sigma 15mmFE, in a Nauticam NA-D800 housing and Zen 230mm dome port with 2x Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes. This system is very easy to use underwater as it is neutral and fairly compact for it's capabilities.
Ha, glad to read this. I was contacted while I was in the Phillipines on a dive trip by an Asian Diver editorial assistant to write a story.
We have a section entitled How It Works, which basically covers a different kind of dive gear/accessory every issue. As it happens, we're dealing with underwater strobes in our upcoming issue, and we would really love to have you, an expert in strobes, to contribute an article.
The story will just be a brief 500 words or so, and focuses on the technical aspects of different strobes, their design perhaps, what to look out for in using particular strobes, and also the newest technology employed to create the most advanced products. I understand that you write for a blog as well, and thus have the confidence that you are definitely suitable to come in. For your contribution as well as a 30 word (max) bio of yourself, we can offer a token sum of SGD160.
The only thing is, we only managed to get your contact this morning, but would need the story by the end of today (US time).
I told her no, an article like that a) can't be written in 500 word or in 2 hours, b) I'm not really an engineer and c) I'm diving from 6am-4pm. She wrote again asking for an outline, that they would "write it for me". I wasn't wild about that, but maybe if I, or my staff could review the article for facts. She declined.
I just went on a 12 day trip to visit Atlantis resorts in Puerto Galera and Dumaguete as well as their Azores liveaboard, spending 3 days diving at each for a total of 30 dives. Most of it was macro, but I got bored and managed a few wide angle shots as well.
All were shot with a Nikon D7000 in a Nauticam NA-D7000 housing and 60mm AF or 105VR AFS macro lens and a +5 diopter -- or a Tokina 10-17 behind a Zen 100mm dome. I thought I'd shoot with the Tokina + Kenko 1.4TC more, but just found it wasn't wide enough, or well-suited for the subjects. I also found the 60mm + diopter was the sharpest and best solution, as it allowed me to get very close to the small critters. I really liked the new Nauticam flip-out diopter lens holder, as it made switching to a more moderate length lens very fast and easy.
The diving and hospitality from Atlantis was great and I highly recommend their operations to all.