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ornate_wrasse

Best lens to use for Southern California Diving

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I'll be on the boat The Great Escape and we'll be doing three dives. I've never been diving in SoCalifornia before and would like to use the best choice of lens for those three dives. I'll probably have a better idea of which lens to use after I've been in the water, but want guidance for the first dive of the day. I've heard that the 16mm can be a great lens to photograph sea lions. On the other hand, I've seen some great images of nudis and I do have both the 60 and the 105 lenses for macro. I just bought a 1.4x teleconverter, too. I was thinking the 10.5 is great for places like Cozumel but may be too wide for Catalina.

 

I'd appreciate your opinions on the lenses that work well for So California diving.

 

Thanks.

 

Ellen

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Hi Ellen, In my experience there can be a very wide range of conditions in So Cal. It really is a huge area with a lot of variation. It would help to know where your trip is headed. Catalina, Anacapa, Clemente, etc. even which side of the island can make a big difference. Since it's your first trip out there you might want to think about what kind of image you have always wanted to capture there. Kelp with a macro, the classic garibaldi shot, long strands of kelp leading up to the sun, the little catalina goby, etc. You might want to approach it that way and take the lens needed. Just an idea. Be careful though, there are some very special dives there, you have to work for them, but you might get hooked. ;) It can be a spectacular place.

 

Steve

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Since it's your first trip out there you might want to think about what kind of image you have always wanted to capture there. Kelp with a macro, the classic garibaldi shot, long strands of kelp leading up to the sun, the little catalina goby, etc. You might want to approach it that way and take the lens needed. Just an idea.

 

Be careful though, there are some very special dives there, you have to work for them, but you might get hooked. :D It can be a spectacular place.

 

I like your idea, Steve, of going down there with an idea in mind of what I want to capture. At this point it's a toss up between the nudibranch image and the garibaldi image.

 

I will tell you one thing....the water may be "cold" in Southern California but it'll seem like bath water compared to Puget Sound ;)

 

Thanks for your input.

 

All the best,

 

Ellen

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hey ellen, that's great that you are diving at catalina, it's a beautiful place.

 

I shoot all over the place there, from 10.5 to 105mm...it really depends on what you want to capture, like steve said...

 

take a look at some of my catalina galleries to get an idea of what you will see there...

 

http://www.scottpenny.smugmug.com/Underwater/316222

 

It's very rare to see sea lions at catalina. they are more common at santa barbara and anacapa. you might see a harbor seal if you're real lucky. Nudibranchs are also far and few between at catalina, unless you go to special nudibranch spots, which you most likely won't go to.

 

here's your options:

 

10.5mm - beautiful kelp shots, get really shallow for these; Garibaldi shots, schools of fish

 

16mm - bat rays or giant sea bass if your lucky, giant kelpfish, harbor seal if your lucky, garibaldi shots, schools of fish, horn sharks

 

60mm - nudibranchs, morays

 

105mm - baby garibaldis, blue-banded gobies, nudibranch close-ups, moray teeth

 

if I were you I'd do one dive with the 10.5mm for kelp shots when the sun is out, stay shallow... do one dive with the 16mm, cover lots of ground looking for the subjects listed above... last dive take out the 105mm...

 

hope this helps

 

let me know if you have more questions

 

ps - vis and water temps in june are quite variable, in case you were wondering

 

Scott

Edited by sgietler

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Sounds like maybe the 60mm or the 105mm would be good choices to start with. Have a great trip and enjoy the "warm" water. ;)

 

Steve

Edited by williamshs

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Sounds like maybe the 60mm or the 105mm would be good choices to start with. Have a great trip and enjoy the "warm" water. ;)

 

Tanks! :D

 

Ellen

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Ellen,

 

I'm planning on taking my 14-54 zoom. More than likely, it will be overcast and gloomy in June. Visibility in the shallows isn't going to be crystal clear, either. No opportunities for sealions on the front side of Catalina. Maybe Bonnie will be able to influence where we dive on the GE - ask her where she thinks they will take us and then we can fine tune the lenses we will need.

 

kelpsnail640.jpg

Edited by jlyle

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I have only had one chance to do what you are doing - so that might give a different perspective?

 

I dived in San Diego a few years back. I did one day macro and one day wide angle (18-35 on full frame - ie film), six dives in all. It was July and baking summer heat topside and freezing cold water.

 

Looking back, its the green water shots of the white anemones of the Yukon, the orange-pink jewel anemone encrusted bow of the Ruby-E and, especially, the long eerie stands of kelp that are the images that say the most to me. They are the things that made an impact when compared to all the other places I've been and critters I've shot... and the photos I still dig out to show people :D

 

so my vote is for wide angle :)

 

;)

Leander

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If you look at the photos that are show on the Great Escape's website, www.greatescape.com I personally took most of the underwater photos shown on the site there. The ones with divers in them, were taken with a Nikonos III and 15mm lens, which has a 95 degree coverage for wide angle. The macro shots are taken with a 55mm Nikkor. I'd go with the 105 for macro shots, or as wide as you'd like for non macro.

I'm a firm beliver of using the widest possible lens for wide angles, that gets you closer to your subject, and reduces the amoutn of stuff in the water between you and your subject. And your flash "colors" are more vivid too.

Have fun on your trip. Its a nice boat, run by my old diveing buddy Tim, so he knows how to take divers to the good spots.

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