|Print This Article|
|Easy Shooter--Best Gear for the Photographer
What the best-dressed--and most often published--underwater photographer is wearing these days.
Text and photography by Stephen Frink
Although some elements of underwater photography will always be a challenge--from skittish marine life to turbid water and corrosive salt--there is one element that is controllable: quality dive gear whose design makes your job easier, not harder.
After over 20 years of earning a living by taking underwater images, I think I've finally got it down: the gear that works best for me, ergonomically and photographically. My selection process has been some trial and much error. Maybe these tips can shorten your learning curve by a decade or two.
Black silicone: essential to block unwanted light from striking the viewfinder.
Low-profile goggle-type: to put your eye closer to viewfinder and facilitate corner-to-corner vision.
Magnifying lens: even under-40 eyes may have trouble with Nikonos
frame counters, instrument readings and small sea life--especially
at night. Alternatively, custom precription corrective lenses.
Dry breathing: in any posture, including upside down.
Allows close view: through the camera's viewfinder.
Exhaust bubbles: do not interfere when you are motionless in upright position, the most common pose for photographers.
Dependable, requires minimum maintenance: photographers tend to dive a lot and need surface time to maintain photo gear, not dive gear.
High performance: photographers also tend to dive more aggressively.
Consult RSD ScubaLab equipment reviews.
Light and streamlined: look for real performance enhancements rather than gimmicks.
Do not attach to mask while shooting: unless you want your hair pulled and viewfinder obstructed.
Strap to inflator hose: or some other place in line with your gear
and body when swimming to minimize drag.
4. Power Inflator
Easy to find and use: with one hand that is probably holding a piece of camera equipment.
Integrated octopus: to eliminate one more hose and second stage to
snag and drag.
Redundant air source: especially if you're shooting deep, inside a wreck or other overhead environment. Same for your model.
Wrist-mounted: to avoid having to fumble with hands full.
Air-integrated back-up: for additional safety.
Batteries: more reliable than those in a dive computer, or better yet, self-winding.
Should streamline gear: next to your body to protect the reef.
9. Buoyancy Compensator
Compact and light: for travel.
Pockets: large, accessible and secure for diffusers, light meters, etc.
Weight-integrated: for balance and elimination of another piece of gear.
D-rings: that can accommodate clips for a camera or two.
10. Exposure Protection
Keeps you warm: even with extended bottom times and long periods of motionlessness.
Layers: more efficient and less buoyant than thicker neoprene.
Layers: allow you to customize according to what gets coldest the soonest
Small and flexible: to allow maneuvering in tight spaces, without stirring up silt.
Enough power: to handle currents or pursue a whale shark.
Full pocket or open heel: your choice, but booties are most comfortable
for multiple dives.
12. Light Meter
Monitors multiple sources: strobe, reflected ambient light and incident light.
Ikelite's digital: my preference for accurate readings with large LED readout that is easy to read at a glance.
|© 2012 Stephen Frink Photographic, site by bits|