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rbailey

Deep Diving - Camera Handling

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Hi,

 

We've got a very nice wreck deep wreck (74m-60m) that I want to take some wide angle black and white on.

 

This is a Trimix dive so will be twin sets and two side mounts :D so adding in the camera makes it a lot of gear.

I've dived the wreck a lot and know the site but never with a Camera, I've also dived the full trimix rig with my Camera in shallows and found okay.

 

My questions is how to handle the camera on the ascent and deco stops my thoughts are :-

 

Option 1)

Send it up on a bag from 15m and then have the boat collect.

Plus = Completly out of my way.

Minus = Rapid Asscent and pressure change for the Camera

 

Option 2)

Let it sink below me and trail on a long leash (1-2m ?)

Plus = No pressure change and camera under my control.

Minus = Tangle hazard

 

 

Also plan to run 18/45 for MOD 66m END 26m with 50 & 80 deco for a 15minute bottom and 56 minute total run time. I'm normally happy with a END of up to 35mbut any thoughts for END for camera use ?

 

 

Any thoughts / comments / advice apprecaited.

 

Many Thanks,

Richard B.

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Option 1)

Send it up on a bag from 15m and then have the boat collect.

Plus = Completly out of my way.

Minus = Rapid Asscent and pressure change for the Camera

 

Option 2)

Let it sink below me and trail on a long leash (1-2m ?)

Plus = No pressure change and camera under my control.

Minus = Tangle hazard

 

Neither option is good. On a bag it will be lost probably. big time entanglement hazard on a line behind you.

 

I've dove to 185 feet with a 2 strobe system, but I have it folded up and tucked under my arm on a coled lanyard. I was not wearing all the tanks you are.

 

My advice, leave the camera on the boat if there's ANY feeling that you will be task loaded or it in the way.

 

Jack

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Just make sure your camera housing is rated for 75 meters.

 

Cor

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I don't like either option. Option 1, you could lose your camera. Option 2 is a definite hazard. I've had a housed camera dangling from me on occassion. It's not comfortable. It's like a free anchor.

 

Fold strobe arms in and clip the unit off. If both deco bottles are on one side, clip to waist D d-ring on opposite side. If you are of the school that has a deco bottle on each side, clip off to one of those bottles. No danglies.

 

Edit:

 

I've never done a dive with gas switches/deco bottles and carried my camera. The above thoughts were just how I would approach it. I have no first hand experience diving this scenario.

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Rich, if you have a crotch strap, clip the camera to the scooter ring if u have one with arms folded in (I presume your rig is negative). Helps to keep it out of the way for bottle/deco switches. Best to keep the leash/ lanyard short. If it's too long I'd be worried about it wrapping around your legs or worse in a good current.

 

But then again I've only done this to about 50-55m on the HMS Repulse with a point n shoot + strobe, trimix doubles, single 50% deco bottle, and 100% waiting at a deco bar. Would love to go back now that I have a DSLR and a decent wide angle lens/ dome... The Repulse's main guns are absolutely fabulous...

Edited by pakman

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Option 1.....uhhh....no way!. You paid too much for the camera to have the lift bag possibly dump at the surface. Charter crew should be focused on the team on the line, not chasing cameras shooting to the surface. Next dive will likely be a search and recovery dive :)

 

Maybe a separate line from the boat clipped to the anchor/buoy line with a big carabiner, but even that gives me the willies and might be an entanglement risk. :D

 

I've done a decent number of trimix dives with two or three stage/deco bottles and would agree that a short lanyard (6 inches max) clipped off to the scooter ring on the crotch strap to be the best way to stow the camera (fully folded) for ascent and deco. I can't think of any camera rated for this depth (either still or video) that won't be at least slightly negative. So long as you're maintaining proper horizontal trim on deco, the camera will hang out of the way and the lanyard is short enough that there no entanglement risk with your legs. Most everyone I've seen shooting video on deco dives up here in the Great Lakes do the same. Its best to have the dome cover to avoid any scratches from the p-valve on the drysuit. If you are the type to have a d-ring on your right waist, that might also be a good place for the camera if your bottles are on the left (and maybe you have a scooter hanging from the crotch strap!). Whatever you choose to do, give it a run through with some shallow drills with your mates (shoot a bag, gas switch, etc.), just to make sure you're comfortable.

 

Stefan

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Richard, I haven't had any problems with shooting photos with an END of about 100'. If you have enough thinking ability (since everyone gets narced to a differing degree) to handle a strict profile, ascent rates and gas switching, a camera usually isn't an issue.

 

I clip my camera, with two arms folded, to the left hip. This is at the bottom of the stack. I've had no issues with this clipped off in addition to 2 stages and a scooter. Although I'm not DIR, I do dive similar in many ways, so there's nothing on the right side except the light can. This can leave you listing to port a bit, but roll some gas into the left side of the wing to counteract and all is well.

 

I should point out that shooting for me on this kind of a dive is very regimented. I will unclip the camera and shoot when there is a gap in the profile (meaning there's no diving tasks to be done), then positively stow the camera and turn my attention away from it, thence to work on ascent rate, or countdown to next depth, or what have you.

 

All I use is a boltsnap attached to the bottom of the left handle, attached with some wreck line (cave line was a bit too flimsy for me). This has been easy to attach and keeps the camera far enough down to keep it from being beat up.

 

Use aluminum stages and deco bottles and you'll be fine - they float just enough, as you know, that they snug up in the armpit, so there's some extra clearance for the camera. I do put on a drawstring port cover whenever I stow it.

 

I tried the butt ring as a stow point and didn't like it. I can't stand a reel there, let alone a huge housing. And it dangled in the propwash and twirled. Yuck.

 

Have fun! A last point...I dive with the thought firmly in the front of my mind that the housing is disposable, and am willing to drop it in an instant. Nothing is worth busting deco for.

 

All the best, James

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While no expert on deep diving I do enjoy the option to "clip off" my camera just in case I need my hands free.

I went the the local climbing store and prchased some tubular climbing webbing

(http://www.rei.com/product/610111)

 

Sewed this onto two bolt snaps and it makes for a nice relatively tangle free setup that hangs below my fins.

I guess i don't have much concern over the tangle hazard as my scissors can solve most any problem like that.

 

Given the chioce between my camera and my life the answer is clear :D

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Thanks Folks, will give the scooter ring a try shallow.

 

Cheers,

Richard B.

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Good luck, be interested to learn what you come up with, can I suggest Leigh Bishop well known for deep photography, he obviously has a working method. Just a suggestion.

 

Deep Image

 

 

I'm more interested in learning how Leigh stows the tripod for swims and deco. Much of his deep wreck photography is long exposure/natural light stuff. Very cool and something I'd love to emulate, but one more thing to lug around.

 

Stefan

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I'm more interested in learning how Leigh stows the tripod for swims and deco. Much of his deep wreck photography is long exposure/natural light stuff. Very cool and something I'd love to emulate, but one more thing to lug around.

 

Stefan

Maybe he has sherpas? Wouldnt be the first :D

 

Cor

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I'm more interested in learning how Leigh stows the tripod for swims and deco. Much of his deep wreck photography is long exposure/natural light stuff. Very cool and something I'd love to emulate, but one more thing to lug around.

 

Stefan

Although I'm not Leigh Bishop, I do have about 150-ish dives with a tripod, maybe a quarter of those overhead-restricted.

 

I've tried slinging the whole works, housing from the left chest and legs on the left hip. Nope. Too shoulder heavy, your trim really suffers.

 

Since I have a quick release plate on the tripod, I've sling the tripod like a stage and the camera from the left hip. This travels really well, but consumes about a minute when re-assembling and breaking down, and 2 minuuutes is a big hit on bottom time.

 

On occasion, I just clipped off the camera, with the tripod (collapsed) kind of laying behind my thighs. This swims kind of clumsily but is quick.

 

Oddly, all I do now is the latter, mostly because it scooters superbly.

 

As an addendum, the scooter ring would be one of my last choices; it is definitely in the propwash when scootering, and way too dangly when swimming.

 

Hope this helps.

 

All the best, James

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Hi,

 

I have the same situtation just with video (18 kg on the surface with lamps). I have tested it for longer staying down under (around 60-70 m), because I need some time for shooting the sequence. The only working solution is to have one or two more buddies who helps you with the gear which you do not need any more. Run out the first stage? Give it to your buddy. And do so with the next stage. For the end you will have your reserve on your back and the camera in your hand. The buddies should be able to deal with 3-4-5 stages, I guess this not cause any problem for them.

 

regards,

Jules

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I have used the scooter strap when shooting without strobes. When shooting strobes I'll moove the stages to one side and have the camera collapsed and clipped to the other. If I use a large tripod, I have used a buoy to send it to the surface. I usually go in with the tripod expanded and only collaps it on the way back if it is not a big one.. I find that when working with big tripods and/or big camerasystems you need an assistant to help you. Especially on the deeper 60+ dives.

 

Remeber safety first!

 

Espen :D

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The "sherpa" approach is certainly a very viable option. Especially since we've made a habit of only having one cameraman (either still or video) per buddy team on trimix dives. Of course, this option will cost you........ :D:):):(

 

Now I just need to pick up a solid, yet cheap tripod to dive with (I'll have to revisit those Wetpixel threads). Luckily, fresh water is a little less destructive than salt water.

 

James is correct. For scootering or extended swims (if not shooting), I also generally clip the camera off to the rear of the crotch strap so it sits in the slipstream of the tanks or I put a d-ring on the right hip behind the light canister (uh oh, I think the DIR alarm just went off in Florida) :o All stage/deco bottles (aluminum 40s and 80s....uh....I don't do metric) are on the left side. Up here, generally speaking, I would only use one bottom stage at most. The water is too bloody cold in the Great Lakes for me to want to do extended hangs :D So, to clarify, I would only use the scooter ring to hang the camera for deco, not swims or scootering.

 

I guess if I had to summarize the advice here.....situational awareness and keen familiarity with all the gear you take in the water with you.

 

Stefan

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(uh oh, I think the DIR alarm just went off in Florida) :)

Stefan

 

lol GI3 and his SWAT team should be descending on your home shortly... :D

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lol GI3 and his SWAT team should be descending on your home shortly... :P

 

Its 5degF (-15degC) in Chicago today. Bring those Florida wussies on! :P

 

I will say that those guys have done a lot to bring the technical diving community (mostly kicking and screaming) to a better (and safer) place. Anyone remember the staunch resistance to trimix?..."voodoo gas?" GI3 was an early adopter in using the internet (well listserv, anyway) to influence people (and piss many off :lol: )

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hehehe... well thank god DIR hasn't expanded its training to a photography specialty course... otherwise we'd all be told we're doing it wrong and gonna die! lol well anyways, I've seen and read enough of those muppets rant on the other diving forums... Last thing I want is to see that carryover into wetpixel... :lol:

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<snip>

(uh oh, I think the DIR alarm just went off in Florida) :lol:

<snip>

...I will probably be getting an email, then, about my Highland Mills Drop Dees...OMG...

 

I am truly saddened that Highland Mills is going out of business, BTW, and bought up some hardware before it dissappeared from dealers.

 

<snip>Last thing I want is to see that carryover into wetpixel... :P
I whole-heartedly agree with this! Fortunately we all seem to be agnostic in this regard. Although a lot of photographers would do well to take a fundies course just for the trim, bouyancy and fin kicks.

 

All the best, James

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...I will probably be getting an email, then, about my Highland Mills Drop Dees...OMG...

 

:lol: stroke :P

 

Sorry, couldn't help it. ;)

 

One should never discuss politics or gear configuration at a party or on a first date!

 

My first deco training with one of the ex-WKPP guys was a truly humbling experience. To watch your instructor shoot a bag, switch gases and maintain PERFECT trim and buoyance while keeping a video camera trained on us (his students) was pretty awe inspiring.

 

As for me.........If you want to take my Weezil, you'll have to kill me for it :P

 

Stefan

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If you are going to have a descent/ascent rope you could tie your camera to it on your way up and just pick it up when pull it out...

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If you are going to have a descent/ascent rope you could tie your camera to it on your way up and just pick it up when pull it out...

 

I guess if you're going to hook a wreck, or anchor over a spot for one dive and then disconnect prior to ascent, this could be an option. However:

 

- many wrecks have semi-permanent mooring buoys and ascent lines on them that aren't pulled up....so this isn't an option......which leads us to......

- mooring/anchor lines break........often.......and in random spots. Now we're back to a search and recovery dive the next day :P

- mooring/anchor lines bounce, even in relatively calm seas. The camera, tether and clip could be subjected to some serious jarring. Every now and then we leave a contingency bottle of O2 or 50% on the line if the boat doesn't have a hookah line. Twice, it wasn't there when we returned. Back to a search and recovery. :lol:

 

With a scooter and a reel you can cover a lot of ground in a search (that's how we found the deco bottles), but its a waste of a dive (and helium) at 200+ feet. I love scootering as much as the next guy, but mud and silt gets monotonous after a while.

 

No thanks.

 

The camera gear costs too much to abandon to the whims of mother nature and rope manufacturers. If there's an emergency and I have to abandon the camera, that's a choice I'm ready and willing to make. I just don't want to have that choice made for me through pure chance.

 

In the end, as with any change in equipment configuration, invest some shallow dive time practicing with the doubles, stages and camera. It should become a very natural part of your routine. I plan to try some ambient light tripod shots on some wrecks between 180ft and 250 ft this summer. You can bet that I'm going to spend several weekends in April/May freezing my butt off at 30 feet in a quarry practicing with this new and unfamiliar piece of gear that I would like to take deeper. I anticipate taking lots of photos of abandoned mining equipment before I'm comfortable :P

 

Stefan

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How do you mount your stages? Ie. both on the left, or left and right?

 

I done several dives with only the one stage (on left), and the camera well folded up on the right.

 

You could always wear your two stages on the left and camera on the right, though if they're steel it might leave you lopsided.

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