When we went back to the states we purchased a new SeaLife Micro 2.0 with light kit. On land, the pictures and video were similar to the GoPro. Now that we are back on the boat, I am trying to learn underwater photography with it. The camera is awesome underwater with built-in filters for snorkeling, diving, or diving with the light kit. So far I have only tried snorkeling with it and this blog is about my learning experiences so far.
First, don’t blame the camera for sketchy pictures or video. There are many challenges to overcome with underwater photography. These include current that keeps everything moving, poor water clarity/visibility, non-stationary and skittish subjects, inability of the photographer to free dive, bubbles, light distortion/too much light/not enough light… The list could go on and on. It’s a challenging environment and I applaud those who do it well. I only hope my skills improve as we go along. The water in Grenada is not very clear, so my chances of getting great shots are nominal. But wait until we get to Bonaire!!! I am so excited. That adventure is less than a month away.
We tried out the camera first at the Underwater Sculpture Park near Dragon Bay in Grenada. Dave checked the mooring line — a good idea anytime you use a mooring ball — and saw this little boxfish.
There were actually a lot of boxfish around.
And the closer you get, the better the picture. I think the best one is at the top of the page. Being close is key, especially when the water is not very clear.
This was fairly close, but there was no light. The sun went behind the clouds and obscured the color and sharpness.
Here’s the difference when the sun comes back out.
The sculptures are a little too deep for good pictures while snorkeling. Dave dove and got closer, but I think the dive with light setup was needed. Something about this statue makes me think cyborg, Haha!
This is a circle of people holding hands. When we tried taking pictures of the entire circle, we were too far away to get a clear picture. The water was murkier than usual. Disappointing. But I love the sea urchin on her head.
This mermaid looks a bit pig-faced to me. But apparently the guys don’t care. Her breasts are really smooth even though the rest of her is rough with growth. Why? How do I know?
I don’t think Dave was the first guy to grope the mermaid. By the way, I was not close to him and I couldn’t hold a position while free diving.
I spotted a some bright blue fish, which I can’t identify. Anyone know what they are? They just glow in the sunlight.
Here are more blue fish I can’t identify. These shimmer in the sunlight, but are much darker in color. Se how murky the water is? I couldn’t get close enough for a clear shot. As I swam toward them, they swam away from me.
I swam toward the rocks and shallower water to have a better chance at getting close. I found these triggerfish who weren’t bothered by me in the slightest. I took this picture less than five feet away. There were still a lot of particles in the water so I couldn’t get a crisp picture, but the colors are spot on.
I always see squid at the sculpture park. However, they are very shy and skittish and difficult to photograph. I can’t dive quick enough, but Dave managed to snap a few shots. They were brownish when we first saw them. As Dave neared, they started to go transparent.
Dave was still quite a distance and I have cropped the picture down, which emphasizes any fuzziness. But the squid are just so cool.
Dave was swimming behind them. Maybe he was irritating them because they started to turn red. We let them be in peace. I so miss having zoom on the camera. I use my zoom lens constantly on land, but working parts like those don’t work well underwater. I thought about trying a waterproof case or bag for my good camera, but I would just die if it leaked!
Not a closeup, but the sun was shining and the colors are correct.
This moray was in motion and so was I. Not a good combination, but again the colors are correct.
One more example of good color. These sergeant majors by the coral are correct in spite of the lack of clarity.
Swimming back to the boat, I noticed a few things. This may look like a boring picture, but there’s a lot going on here. Skip it if you are not interested in boat stuff. First, you can see how murky the water is; I am just at the back of the boat looking forward and up. Our rudder, which steers the boat is behind our prop, which is folded. We really like having folding props. They are quieter when sailing, have less drag, and save on wear and tear because they are not spinning. Some say having the rudder behind the prop gives you better steerage. I’ve also heard people claim the contrary, so not sure if anything is proven. In front of the prop is our sacrificial keel. Our draft is five feet, which is deep for a catamaran. The keel is 2 1/2 feet or so deep. The job is to protect the prop and rudder if we go aground. We did go aground in the Bahamas, hard aground on rocks and mostly dead coral. As the tide dropped, our boat was slammed down repeatedly, making an awful banging and grinding sound. These keels took the beating and saved our hulls from being holed, our props from being smashed, and our rudder from being broken off. The last thing I’d like to point out is that our bottom is still really clean. All those white dots are the feet of barnacles that remain after the barnacles are scraped off. When the boat sits still, they attach like crazy even onto our anti-fouling paint– and we were gone for six weeks.
Livin’ Life and Mowzer sailed to Ronde Island, which is at the north end of Grenada. We’d passed it many times without stopping. BIG MISTAKE! What a fantastic location.
The sail there was fantastic, too. We came from Carriacou after the regatta. Catherine got a great shot of us as we mosied along with only our jib out. We found great holding in sand on the south end of the anchorage and could see the bottom 25 or so feet below us. We grabbed our snorkel gear and jumped off the back of the boat. We checked our anchor and it was about 1/2 dug in, but we backed on it hard so it wasn’t going anywhere. Right next to our anchor I noticed a hole surrounded by an assortment of shells. As I watched, a little fish came out, grabbed a shell that our anchor stirred up, carried it to the hole, and dropped it. Unhappy with that position, the fish picked it up, moved it a couple inches and dropped it again. Perfect! I almost choked on sea water laughing. It was so cute. That’s when I remembered my camera and went back for it. Dang!
Back in the water, I saw a stingray swim past me. Still in over 20 feet of water, the picture is greenish. The water was pretty clear, so it was just a matter of getting closer to my target. I needed Dave.
Dave got closer, which improved the color.
Then Dave swam along behind the stingray and caught up enough for this great shot. Much better! I would guess Dave was still about 10 feet away, maybe a little less.
This was me again and I tried to dive down to it, but I’m like a bobber and just pop right back up to the surface. Haha! Guess that’s a good thing if I ever fall overboard, but it’s not so good for free diving. Anyway, I love how they swim. It’s more like flying.
The shallower rocky areas were just crowded with small fish, which are very difficult to photograph. They move so fast! Being shallow and well lit, the red filter shows here.
I know at least the yellow fish get much larger, so I surmised that this was a nursery. Looking downward helped the color but it’s still slightly red.
The water warmed up and cleared up as I neared the beach. It was like swimming in a bathtub. About half a dozen of these swam around me unperturbed by my presence. Unless seen closeup, they just blended in with the sand and disappeared. Luckily, there was a lot of light.
Close to the surface, the snorkel filter turns everything redish and out of the water it looks like Mars.
But the color is great about 10 feet down.
I had to strip this picture of the color. It was bright red. I should have held it down as far as I could reach.
Just to make a liar out of me, Catherine’s white shirt came out almost perfect. When I swam over to Mowzer, I noticed the most bizarre fish I have ever seen.
This fish has four arm-like fins, two small in the front and two large just behind. All four were used to walk along the seafloor. The front ones were also used like hands, feeling and digging in the sand – I assume to find food. I couldn’t tell if they brought food to the mouth or not. In fact, I’m not sure where the mouth is. The back two fins stabilized the fish during this process. (I cropped and tried to color correct this to show the fish better, but it just dulled everything.) Then something crazy happened when I tried to dive down.
It’s hard to see, but the one at the bottom spread its rear fins into wings. Wow! I had to try to get video.
Not very good, I know. But this is now about this amazing fish not my lack of diving/videography skills. Therefore, I must borrow a picture off the Internet to show you what I saw.
Here’s a beautiful shot by a diver with a light, I’m sure. As you can see, the front fins are hand/claw-like. Crazy fish, right? I hope I see one when I am testing the diving setup! And yes, I think the new camera can take pictures as good as this. I just need the right circumstances and a lot of practice.
This was just a bit of fun with filters after the fact. Everything was bright red because I forgot to switch the camera to land mode.
I kind of like this one. Anyway, enough on photography for now. I’ll try again when we get to Bonaire, which is supposed to have fantastic diving.