Underwater Photography is one of the most equipment intensive art forms. Not only do you need life support equipment to get near your subjects, your cameras also need the same in the form of waterproof housings. Below I’ve outlined the gear I’m currently using.
Cameras and Housings
I have used SEACAM housings since 1995 and they have never let me down. They are designed and built to extremely high standards with an excellent support network through their resellers. I’ve used them in the harshest conditions, including during technical diving activities in the UK where they contend for space on my harness with multiple gas tanks and other heavy-duty equipment that may damage a poorer quality housing. Inside the housing, I currently favour the Nikon D4, whose superb high ISO performance is particularly suited to the low light conditions I encounter on deeper dives. My back up camera is my older D700, still far from retirement. I have also previously used the Nikon D2X extensively and switched from film to digital in 2005.
My favoured wide lenses include the Nikkor 16mm fisheye, Sigma 15mm fisheye, Nikkor 14-24mm and 16-35mm. For macro I use the 60, 105 and to a lesser extent 200mm Micro Nikkors. For topside work I also use the Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8 VRii. I also make use of a range of teleconverters when appropriate, from both Nikon and Kenko.
With regard to underwater housing lens ports, I use the SEACAM Superdome for most of my wide angle and mid range zoom lenses, also making use of the less obtrusive Fisheye port and specialist Fisheye macro port. I use SEACAM flat ports including the new MIP 80 with a variety of port extenders to fit each macro lens – this modular system keeps weight and bulk to a minimum rather than having dedicated flat ports for each lens. I also use the SEACAM wet diopters and Subsee magnifiers.
For lighting I use a pair of SEACAM S150D strobes. These powerful 150 Watt wide angle flashguns are small, light, fast to recycle and importantly have interchangeable batteries. I always carry spare battery packs, since there is sometimes no time for a recharge between dives – I consider this is a particularly important feature. I also use the small INON Z220 guns. I use S6 connectors to make full use of the SEACAM’s strobe extended functionality and the INON cables were custom converted to S6 by SEACAM. Strobe arms are all SEACAM, some of which have been in use for over 15 years, a testament to their longetivity.
My regulators are all Atomic. I use the titanium T2X and SS1 when travelling and use environmentally sealed Atomic M1‘s for technical and cold water diving. They are the easiest breathing most reliable regulators I have used in nearly 30 years of diving. Masks, fins and snorkels are also all Atomic.
Much of my work is done in cold water, so thermal protection is absolutely key. I use Fourth Element gear to keep me warm, making full use of their layering capabilities depending on the water temperature and planned run time. I use the full range including Halo3D, Arctic, Xerotherm and DryBase.
I use the AP Diving Inspiration Vision Rebreather