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watboy

Leaving the camera at home

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I try to do 2-3 trips and log 60-80 dives a year. I live in SEA, and I've been able to do liveaboard trips to Philippines, Micronesia, Indonesia, Maldives... great diving within a few flights from home. Five years ago i decided to combine photography with diving into one mega money sink of a hobby. Started off with a point and shoot, added a strobe, upgraded to an EM1 in a Nauticam housing, added another strobe... added ports... lights...diopters. Its become a monstrous beast, taking more and more of my time. It may not have the full bulk of a DSLR, but its got the same level of complexity. It takes a full day to maintain, test and pack my camera before a trip. And then a full day to unpack, clean, and store in such a way that I can find all the parts again 6 months later. During the dive trips, I'd spend much of my free time in the camera room, changing batteries, swapping lenses/ports, downloading RAW files while my girlfriend would be relaxing / reading her book (i.e., taking a nap).

 

For my next dive trip, i'm thinking of leaving the camera at home and just enjoying the diving and the sun deck. It would be a tremendous load off my mind (and back). Anyone ever try leaving their camera at home? Will I re-discover the freedom to dive without my camera, or will i just be taunted by endless streams of hairy pygmy false whale sharks holding perfect poses 2 meters from my mask.

 

Oh yeah, and i've been into drones for the last few years. I'll keep bringing that. DYI drones are far more demanding than UW photography. I guess I could get a DJI, but where is the fun in that?

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I feel what you mean:) I have normally 2 trips a year, a serious one alone and a light one with my family: on the latter I definitely don't bring my full setup. Also on the "serious" trip I do the first few diving days without any camera to enjoy the ride. I don't have any obligations to deliver, it is a hobby and it is 100% my decision how much time I assign for it. Pro's don't always dive with the camera, they often check the site first.

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I find the obsession with breaking down housing and camera into component parts for travel really weird. I travel with my DSLR in the housing with the wide angle lens and dome port in situ and strobes attached, ready to dive. Fits in a backpack with a jumper for padding as I casually wander onto the plane pretending it doesn't weigh much. I put fresh eneloops in the strobes at home and setting up consists of:

 

Step 1. Remove Housing From Backpack

Step 2. Go Diving

 

I can see why spending the first day of the trip fiddling nervously with o-rings and puffing minuscule bits of dust off the lens/port/lens again would detract from the excitement.

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I now it is a litle out of topic, but... Liz can you share some photos of how you fit the rig on the backpack for travel?

 

Thanks

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Well, if the gear is getting in the way of your enjoyment, than by all means leave it behind and join your girlfriend for more "naps" :-)

 

I couldn't do it. Even if I knew in advance that I would take the camera on some but not all dives, I would still want it there in case I felt inspired. It would be absolute agony to get somewhere, find great opportunities and sufficient time for organization, and not be able to take photos.

 

By the way, I can't imagine how it could take "a full day to maintain, test and pack my camera". I need about an hour before and after a trip, and less than an hour a day while on the trip, to do all that. I download files and review them together with my dive buddies at happy hour and we all enjoy that aspect. It's not a burden its a feature.

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I think the obsession comes from only doing this 2x a year, you feel a need to be re-acquianted to what spent your money on instead of saving for retirement. As in many activities, its amusing to see the difference between pro's and hobbyists with disposable income.

 

A complete random aside...

 

When I was a kid, I had a doctor neighbor who would go on a grand adventure every couple of years. At first, he'd have stacks of magazines studying for an adventure, then gradually he would accumulate the various items he needed for seeing polar bears or climbing mountains. Over the course of many months, his garage would transform from library to expedition workshop. After his trip, he would have thousands of slides, and he'd spend the next few months sorting through the slides and creating a slide show. Finally, he would have a dinner party showing his grand adventure. He had dual projectors to have seamless transitions between slides. He'd have the actual tools of his trip to show off (too this day, I know when and where i learned the word "crampon"). I think I was the only kid who enjoyed it, I don't know if it was more adventurous before GPS and travelocity, but it felt to me like listening to a great explorer.

 

I find myself doing a similar thing. When I'm bored of spreadsheets, I look at dive blogs on where I'd rather be. Then of course, I see some new gizmo I must have (UV Snoots!). But I have to force my subordinates at work to watch my trip photos. "Why don't you just post it on Instagram?" they say.

 

end random thoughts

 

I find the obsession with breaking down housing and camera into component parts for travel really weird. I travel with my DSLR in the housing with the wide angle lens and dome port in situ and strobes attached, ready to dive. Fits in a backpack with a jumper for padding as I casually wander onto the plane pretending it doesn't weigh much. I put fresh eneloops in the strobes at home and setting up consists of:

 

Step 1. Remove Housing From Backpack

Step 2. Go Diving

 

I can see why spending the first day of the trip fiddling nervously with o-rings and puffing minuscule bits of dust off the lens/port/lens again would detract from the excitement.

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Get an Olympus TG-4 and a single strobe.. small, easy to handle, no lenses to change, great macro.. Just charge the batteries

 

Piece of mind and you won't miss the photos while underwater, if i don't have a camera in my hand underwater i don't know what to do with my hands!

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I hear ya! What I do is make sure I do a few dives with the camera on a dive trip. This (for me) is the best of all worlds.

 

I like the suggestion to pack the camera setup all ready to dive. Bring less, think through maximizing your time UW and don't stress if you're only shooting Wide Angle or Just Macro while away.. For me the trick is to simplify and dive once in a while without it to keep it fresh and loose...

 

Cheers!

 

Scoobz

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Maybe you are doing to much on your trip and need to push some work till after the trip. Outside of the 1st day set up and last day clean up. I mostly leave my kit in 1 piece for the trip. I have 2 sets of all batteries and sd cards, so when I get to the room, I swap out the battery and sd cards and close the camera/strobes back in a minute for the next day. Then though the sd in the computer for upload. And maybe a quick look at some pictures to check if what needs to be changing. We do not sit around and analyze every picture. That is what a winter/snowy day is for. What are you wasting your time on?

Edited by marcw

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