Well, in the end, I went to Belize without an external strobe. Thank you to Simon and SharpDiver for offering your suggestions and advice.
In the end, I had a ball with the camera, even without the strobe. I just went in knowing that I was limited to close-up and macro (and I remembered to press the macro button . I also got some tips from the photo and video guys on the Aggressor.
I am convinced that the Canon S45 is awesome! Or maybe it is the diving in Belize? Each day, after diving, I plugged the camera in to the TV in the Aggressor salon, and reviewed the photos of the day with friends and who-ever else happened to be in the room. After the first few dives, it was quite clear that I am a natural at photographing fish buts and tails, and have a soft spot for abstract art. But as the week continued, these themes grew less and less. I've posted a link to the best 24 in the photo critique forum.
Perhaps for next year, I will get a strobe (I did sometimes get backscatter in my close ups when there was water in the background, and on occasion being close up wasn't that feasible), but I am very satisfied with my first adventure with the underwater camera. It was a lot of fun.
Some items of note are:
- Since I do not have a laptop, I took 2 256mb CF cards, a spare battery, the TV connection cord and the battery charger (and of course the underwater housing).
- When I heavily used the camera during a a dive, I had to change the battery before the next dive.
- The camera fogged-up a few times. I brought the defogger liquid with me, but forget a lens cloth or tissue (borrowed some from the photo guy). Using this liquid only seemed to guarantee no fogging for one dive. It was a bit of a hassle to change the battery and defog the lens before each dive.
- I initially had the photo preview turned on (this is the default). But because of this 2 seconds between photos, I missed a few good photo opprotunities, so I eventually turned it off.
- At the advice of the one of the Agressor crew, I used aperture F8 for most of the trip. I guess that was good? I didn't play with it too much. I was too busy chasing fish.
- I never figured out how to change the white balance between cloudy and daylight underwater. This was a little annoying since almost all our dives started deep and then ended in the shallow water. So I just left it on cloudy the whole time, never tried the daylight setting.
- The Belize diving was great!
- The Belize Aggressor crew were superb.