Dive

What To Do With My Dry Dive Gear - Part 1: Dive Cameras

By Ingrid on 8/14/20

 A multi-part series from Retail Manager, Kathy Gagliardo.

I’m writing this blog series because my gear is dry and I desperately want to travel to the tropics but I don’t have a trip anytime soon.  Maybe you are in the same boat and can use come additional ideas, tips & tricks. As the buyer for Ocean First for over 20 years, I am constantly finding new products that I think would be fun to carry and benefit our customers.  With the current pandemic in mind, I have had to reimagine our inventory, and I was really excited with what I discovered.  Ocean First has a huge variety of equipment that can be used for many other sports and applications other than diving.  The equipment we sell can be used in advance of your dive trips which allows you to learn your gear and use it more effectively on those 1-2 outings per year when you are actually diving. This blog series will hopefully inspire you to get outdoors, use the gear you already own, or even better, realize that we have equipment that you can use for other sports.  I hope this sparks new wanderlust inspiration!

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Part 1: Dive Cameras

Aside from being the retail buyer for the store, I am also one of our photography instructors.  People are constantly asking how to improve their underwater shots so that they can bring back amazing photographic memories of their ocean adventures.  One thing I tell everyone is to work on your buoyancy…you can’t get a good shot if you are wobbling underwater!  That of course leads to our Perfect Buoyancy class as everyone can improve their skills especially when it relates to buoyancy.  Luckily, we are still able to offer this class and our pool is a great place to practice in!

While being able to maintain a neutral position even in a strong current is important, I would say that knowing your camera is even more important!  Recently, I took my husband’s camera out to photograph the Neowise Comet and realized too late that I had no idea how to set up his camera to get the shot I wanted.  I’m guessing you might have experienced this when going on a dive trip…you have your land camera that you are comfortable with and only bring out your dive camera when you are actually on the dive trip.  Of course this doesn’t lead to the best possible pictures because either you forgot how to get to a specific setting or you never knew how to get there in the first place. Regardless of which dive camera you have (GoPro, SeaLife DC2000, Micro 2.0….etc) each has multiple settings that are good for different scenarios. Knowing how to quickly navigate the menu is key to not missing a shot.

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Landscape, macro, sporting, night, slow shutter….they all have different uses underwater and can change the feel of a photo. A great way to practice macro photography out of the water is to take pictures of flowers or bugs.  They have a lot of depth to them, just like a nudibranch does! A great way to practice getting pictures of fish is by taking pictures of kids or pets who are running about because we all know that fish don’t really like their pictures taken - stay!  If you really want to practice lighting and avoiding backscatter, taking pictures inside a gym that uses chalk (aka a climbing gym) is helpful.  Each camera is different and learning your specific camera is the best practice you can get.  The more you use your camera on land the more comfortable you will be with your settings and the menus when you are on that amazing dive trip!

If you have a housed camera (internal camera in a waterproof case) it is even more important to practice with the complete system when you are not diving.  Even if you use the internal camera on land the button configuration of your housing can be totally different and prevent you from navigating the menu system easily when you are trying to go from macro photography to catching that ocean sunfish that just swam by.  

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While I am sad that I don’t have a dive trip coming up soon, other opportunities have become available.  Because of COVID, my family and I have re-discovered how amazing our outdoor recreation is in the United States.  Last week, we visited 5 National Parks and 2 National Monuments.  When I was in Zion doing the Narrows hike with my family, our GoPro enabled us to get all the wide angle shots that we wanted while having the waterproof camera that we needed in chest deep water.  In Bryce we used the GoPro for wide angle shots and avoided dust and dirt damage to our regular camera.  I have also used my DC2000 camera many times this summer while tubing in Lyons and Longmont. You have a huge advantage if you use your waterproof camera while on your local adventures.  Normal land cameras can get fouled up by dust, water, and snow but your dive camera is protected so can be used on all of your adventures!

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Finally, between trips I always make an effort to jump in the pool to practice.  Not only does this give me practice with my diving in general, but it ensures I have all that I need for my camera system before each trip.  It is a huge bummer to discover that you lost something on the last trip and didn’t know it until you were at your next destination! Just ask and we are happy to throw in our photo props for you when you come in for pool use.

If you love taking pictures as much as I do and are constantly striving for the next great shot you can show off on the boat, a bit of practice before the trip pays off.  While many of us don’t have trips planned, there are many ways to continue learning your system so you can get the most out of it…either while diving or on your own land-locked adventure!

Stay tuned for Part 2:  Exposure Protection

~ Kathy Gagliardo

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