Perhaps it reflects the diving I'm doing at the moment, but I find that I'm shooting to tell the story of the dive trip. Which means not just the underwater pretty shots, but also the getting in/getting out images, and getting prepared images, and all the bits that go with it. The shots of sea lions playing underwater that I took on the weekend are nice, but having the shot of the boat we got there on, and going snorkelling to get the shot of the sea lions hauling out when they got bored, and the shot of them harassing divers underwater for fun - all those images are part of communicating the experience of diving with sea lions.
I'm definitely driven by sharing what I'm taken. As well as showing what we saw when we got there, I want to show how we did the dives, the effort that went in, and the fun that was had between times. To tell the story to those who may not have the chance to experience the same.
Thanks for the explanation of the components Alex - I studied the housing photos you posted earlier but wasn't able to spot the difference. I am very interested in something similar with my rig based on those results you are posting. I currently shoot the Canon 14mm full frame in the caves behind an 8" dome and rarely dip below f8 because the rocks go all fuzzy around the edges. Even at f8 or f9, close up rocks give an irritatingly fuzzy foreground. A bigger dome is not feasible as it may not fit through the restrictions. Your setup would solve that problem very nicely.
The 14mm lens doesn't however take a filter as the front element is not flat - would it still work? Maybe with a little duct tape on top of the blu-tac...
I agree with the lighting comments - spend your cash on the strobes (I use inon Z240s because they are small) and the triggers for them (Hedwig can help you out with triggerfish). One on camera and one off camera is a good start, two on and two off is even better. More than that takes a bit of practice to co-ordinate.
For the camera, go as wide angle as you can for caves. I use a dSLR and know nothing about m4/3 so can't help you out there. Good luck with your shopping!
I was out in the Nullarbor caves over Easter, shooting for a client. Once we were done with work my buddy and I headed off to a different cave to get a few dives in. The video from one dive is below. It was half shot with my Canon 5DII, half with my buddy's GoPro. He's the diver in black, I'm the diver in yellow. If I'm in the shot without the camera, my buddy is getting to grips with his first go at a dSLR. He had a good crack at keeping it steady!
Olwolgin Cave is characterised by stunning rock formations and haloclines in the water, so I needed to shoot through water that hadn't been swum through yet. Most of the shots are pushing the camera forward slightly to prevent the fuzzy water from enveloping the dome port.
Here are a couple of shots taken of the same cave system, both on the breathers and on the subsequent dive in sidemounts. You can see the stirred-up halocline water under my knees in the first shot.
Clip it to yourself, not your camera. Mine lives on my right hip D-ring. If the cave is small and it's dragging against the roof I put it in the drysuit pocket instead. Alternatively clip to a hip D-ring and then tuck under your waist band - works well for me in the tropics with no pockets.
We have done 10 trips into this mostly "dry" passage cave this year, and I discovered the way out of a sump and 130m of passage in the sump beyond. I also dragged my Aquatica housed 5DII 2kms to the end and 2kms back back again on 7 of the 10 trips. This shot is my favourite - these early sumps are just 15m long and you only get one chance before it all silts out!
And this shot is from caves in Indonesia, one of the best dives I've done. Nearly 1km in I certainly wasn't expected stalactites. These decorations were awesome and topped off a brilliant dive. 2013 has been a great year of cave diving...here's to 2014!
When I dive in freshwater, which is most of the time, I don't rinse. Although if I've managed to coat the thing in mud as well it's more of a spray rinse then soak to try and get it all off. When diving in salt water I like to dunk at the end of the day and usually work the buttons a bit too.
I don't leave my housing unattended in rinse tanks if there are other people around. And if I want to leave it in for an extended soak I usually remove the camera first, which means I'm already home and the soaking is happening in my bathtub.
In rough seas around here I much prefer to giant stride with my DSLR. Trying to get close enough to grab a camera from a large boat that's slamming back into the water with every wave is not safe. I wear a drysuit and stiff fins and find I can control my jump....by the time the water's up to my chin, I'm not moving very fast so my camera rig hits the water gently. No disasters as yet.
I have backward rolled too, that takes a bit more practise with an 8" dome. Most fun of all is an abseil down into water with the camera swinging under you. I love cave diving! I also take my neoprene dome cover with me on every dive.
I use one for wide angle long exposures sometimes. The issue is not so much the tripod, but carrying around the extra block of lead that I attach to it to keep everything steady when I let go of the camera. A bit of string on each end and some clips make them easier to carry when not being used.
Mine is all aluminium (even the rivets and leg fastenings) and 30 years old with repeated dunkings and no rust.
My standard procedure is to go online, do my research and print out a few prices from stores I would be prepared to buy from. I then take those print outs into the local shop and see what they have to say. If they are nice (i.e. polite, cheerful) and can price match down to online price + 10% then I will buy in store. If the price is more than 10% more, or if they are rude and I get a lecture about "supporting local businesses and the evils of the internet" I leave and buy online.
I think it's fair and reasonable to give the locals a chance. If they're offering similar prices I'll cheerfully pay for local service. If the service is rubbish, or the prices are too high.....I too am a local business, and I'd rather spend the difference in pricing on supporting myself.
It's worth noting that the current price of our 5DIII body only in the major camera shops in Australia is $3,800. For my last lens purchase, the lowest the local shop could do was $1200 (RRP $1300), whereas I landed the lens for $880. The distribution model is antiquated and ridiculous. Customers can buy online for cheaper than the store can get stock from the Australian distributor, and it's going to kill off our locals.