Underwater Video Camera Lights

As underwater still photography benefits from strobes, underwater video is better with video lights. Water strips warm colors from sunlight as you dive deeper. Artificial lights sources (video lights) help to add the warm colors back into your shots during daylight, and they provide a primary source of light during night dives.

If you’re new to underwater video and only dive in open water during daylight, consider just adding video lights down the road. Most of today’s camcorders have relatively decent low-light sensitivity so you may be content with the results you get without video lights. One you gain experience you’ll have a better idea if you’ll benefit from video lights.

Most housing manufacturers sell video lightning kits that are designed to integrate well with their housings. These kits include light heads, arms, cables, switch assemblies, and battery packs. Several flavors of lightning technologies are available. Halogen is the most reliable and inexpensive. HID (high-intensity discharge) systems provide a whiter light and longer burn times per battery charge with the trade-off of being less reliable and more expensive to maintain.

To Go Tech or Not? Part II

Things to consider before going tech!
by David Miner

The last article discussed the different types of technical diving, the training involved, and the benefits of technical dive training. This month, we’re going to talk about the types of equipment needed for technical diving, some of the costs associated with technical diving, and the risks involved with technical diving.

Lots of special gear is used in technical diving

Equipment required for technical diving
Technical diving requires much more gear than standard open water diving gear. If you’re a gear head, you won’t be disappointed if you get into technical diving.

Technical diving takes you to places where special gear is required to safely execute the dive. Technical is not about attaching everything in a dive shop to you and going diving, but it is about taking and using the right gear for the type of technical diving you are doing. Cave diving and penetrating deep into a wreck requires special reels with guideline so that you can find your way out of the overhead environment. Double tanks with a manifold for two complete regulators are also typically used in cave diving and deep wreck diving. Other equipment that is used are backplates and harnesses, HID lights, backup lights, wing type BCs, dry suits, stage bottles with a separate regulator, decompression bottles with a separate regulator, oxygen bottle with a special regulator, etc.

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Recreational Training

Recreational wreck diving is classified as diving the exterior of a wreck, meaning that you don’t penetrate or go inside the wreck. Recreational wreck diving is defined as any dive on a wreck or object that is at a maximum depth of 130 fsw and is conducted within the normal no-decompression diving limits.

Photo: Steve May

Recreational wreck diving training prepares you for planning and conducting wreck dives within the established recreational diving limitations. Wreck diving training involves taking a course or series of courses from a training agency such as SDI/TDI, NAUI, PADI, IANTD, or GUE. Your training involves learning about the potential hazards of wreck diving, such as possible disorientation, sharp metal edges or objects, and entanglement hazards created by rigging, nets, and fishing line. It also teaches you about the use of line reels, air management, safety procedures, and proper techniques for exploring wrecks. Wreck diving training also covers the location of wrecks, sources of information, search methods, navigation, legal aspects, artifacts, salvage, and archaeology.

Your in water training consists of conducting up to four wreck dives over a couple of days. During your in water training, you’ll develop the skill and experience needed to safely plan and explore wrecks.

Accident analysis and safe cave diving

Photo: Steve Straatsma

Accident analysis over the years has played a big role in developing the safety guidelines for safe cave diving. The NSS-CDS in the late 1970s organized a study of the cave diving fatalities for which information existed. As a result of this study, Sheck Exley discovered that three primary safety violations accounted for, at least part of, all of the fatalities. The three safety violations were the beginnings of organizing a list of safety guidelines that could be taught to new cave divers and shared with current cave divers in the hopes of making cave diving as a whole much safer. In 1984, Wes Skiles, who was the Training Chairman for the NSS-CDS, expanded the safety violation list to account for two other accident-contributing factors.

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Photo Composition: Rule of Thirds

Arranging Before You Shoot and Editing After You Shoot

Figure 1
Figure 1

Composition or composing the picture before you shoot could be considered a form of editing. This article applies to both shooting technique underwater and things to look for while editing after the shooting is done. Lots of people can tell a well composed picture from a poorly composed picture. They just say “This one “looks” better!” even if they can’t say why. It’s part of the way humans view the world. Part of it is in our training while growing up, (there are cultural differences) and part of it, is the way our brain and eyes work together to reproduce the images from the world around us. Some arrangements of the elements in a photo or scene just look more pleasing or natural than others.

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