Testing out our new toy

Aside from being Aids’ birthday and Valentine’s Day, February 14 also marked the day our department got our brand-spanking-new Ikelite underwater housing for our Canon G12. YAHOOOOO!!! Unfortunately, Kring was too afraid of wrecking it  (and the camera) to actually test it out. Fortunately, I have no such fear 😛

I tested the camera and housing this morning on a dive on the Miniloc house reef and it was glorious. As with all new gadgets, it took some getting used to. For one thing, the camera itself was unfamiliar. Haha. The G12’s been with Kring since it arrived last year so today was the first time I’d actually used it for an extended period of time. Case in point: I plugged in the strobe plug in the camera’s hotshoe. The thing is, I didn’t have a strobe. HAHA. End result: I disabled the on-camera flash and left myself with no other light source *facepalm* Second, the housing is humongous compared to the Canon S95 ultracompact housing that I’m used to. You need both hands to operate it – not easy when you’re trying to line up your shot and the current has other things in mind. Ah well.  Every dive is a learning experience 🙂

I did manage to take some decent photos:

Red lionfish (Pterois volitans). General rule of the ocean: if it's colorful and moves slowly, it's dangerous.
Giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis). This guy can reach up to 1.7 meters long!
Bigeye scad (Selar crumenophthalmus). They're not particularly colorful but they're pretty impressive when you see them in schools.

Here’s to more outings with our new toy!

El Nido’s underwater denizens

I returned to full-time work in El Nido, Palawan last September 18. Much thanks to my boss who let me fly out the day after my birthday 🙂

I’m slowly returning to the swing of things, considering that I’ve been away for three years now. It doesn’t help that I don’t recognize most of the staff, which is especially embarrassing since everyone seems to know who I am *blushes*. So yes, I need to learn everyone’s names ASAP.

One of the bright spots is that I’ve already gone diving twice with my handy-dandy Canon S95 camera in its Ikelite underwater housing and got some decent shots despite the limitations of not-so-good visibility and lack of strobe. Just a reminder: despite what the gearheads say, you do not need fancy underwater camera gear in order to take great photos. The trick is to know what your camera can do and to work with (not against!) those limitations. If it doesn’t do well in low light, then focus on taking photos in shallow water. Take a white slate with you for on-the-spot white balance correction so that you don’t rely on the camera’s “Underwater” setting. Limited flash range? Take macro photos! Again, it’s all about making the most of what you have and not moaning about what you don’t.

And now, presenting El Nido’s quirky underwater denizens!

Disclaimer: since I’m studying to become a marine biologist specializing in coral reef ecology, what I find interesting may be somewhat different from other people 😛

[slideshow]

Yes, that is a hawksbill sea turtle. And it was feeding. And I got HD video too. YEAAH! 😀 For the curious ones, the red spots are caused by the water having lots of suspended particles. This was one of the times it would have been great to have a separate strobe but hey, I’m not angsting about it 🙂