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Buoyancy advice for starting uw photography

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by ksporry, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24

    I'm looking for some advice on controlling buoyancy with camera gear when you do this for the first time. As some know I'm a fairly inexperienced diver (15dives so far, all with an instructor accompanying me).
    I realise buoyancy control will be bad when you handle a camera under water for the first time.

    my setup is an epl5 with nauticam housing, 6" nauticam dome for the 7-14 panny, and two inon Z240's attached via inon 20cm float arms (medium size). Note TTL when I got my rig, I told the seller I wanted the unit to be slightly negatively buoyant.

    any advice?
  2. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    How's your buoyancy without a camera? Can you hover just off the bottom horizontally without using your hands or fins? Can you do a helicopter turn with only your fins? Can you swim near a sandy or silty bottom without causing a "storm" in your wake?

    Until you can do the above, you should IMO leave the camera topside.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
  3. smoore

    smoore Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Toronto Canada
    I agree with Fisheater. However, it is not just a buoyancy issue; its a safety issue also. You are a very new diver and you risk overtaxing yourself and failing to dive safely. A camera adds a lot of stress to a dive and if you have any problem underwater and have limited experience diving you can make some bad choices. There are buoyancy classes offered by the various agencies. It would make sense to take one and then do some practice dives in a pool, where you cannot crunch any coral or stir up the bottom, to get familar with using the camera, strobes and your other dive gear before venturing on open water dives with your camera.

    Once you figure out how to weight yourself properly and follow the tips you get in a buoyancy class it won't take all that long to get enough buoyancy control to use a camera. You may have to adjust your weight with your camera rig. I now only dive one or two weeks a year and I rarely take my camera on my first dive. I use that dive to fine tune my buoyancy and practice the skills mentioned by Fisheater. When you are diving without a camera watch what other camera operators are doing that you would like to emulate and, more importantly, the things they are doing that you absolutely do not want to copy.

    Good luck.
    TSandM likes this.
  4. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Thanks for the advice guys, for sure since I'm a conservative diver, I won't take chances of any kind, it being my setup, my life, my buddy's life, or aquatic life.
    having said that, all week I've been practising my buoyancy and fin techniques, and I did make great progress.
    what I'll do is take my gopro for one day (I used compact before on two dives, and that's real easy handling). And observe the more advanced divers I'm with. After that I might bring my own setup, depending how things go.

    I'm also planning to get a membership with the local gym, which has a swimming pool in which I'm allowed to practise with my fins.
    the_dragon_no1 likes this.
  5. Gdog

    Gdog Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lacey, Washington
    Best thing you can do is dive dive dive. Your bouyancy will improve dramatically by simply diving and learning to relax.
    SantaFeSandy and the_dragon_no1 like this.
  6. chris196

    chris196 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Austin, TX
    Understand your buoyancy and the buoyancy of your camera. Understand what will happen if you have to drop your camera in an emergency situation. Be prepared to drop it and forget it.
  7. Matt S.

    Matt S. Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Kirkland, WA
    Fisheater's advice is sound. It is frustrating to leave the camera behind, but a silty, task-loaded, poor buoyancy dive is no fun at best and increases the chance for mishaps.

    Practice til you look like this guy. :)

    Buoyancy Control And Trim - Scuba - YouTube
    SantaFeSandy, sooke and fisheater like this.
  8. divingpyrate

    divingpyrate Barracuda

    Going to get hassled for this but
    Started carrying a gopro with me on my 8th dive
    Been carrying one since and mostly do drifts in cozumel My count is nearing 50 dives now
    Like you felt I needed better buoyancy and signed up for the class. Basically at the end of it, was told my control was fine

    Task loading is more of an issue, prioritize pictures well below any safety tasks
    And secure your equipment well. Lost a camera to learn, now mine connects in two points diving and one when taking video

    Sent from my A500 using Tapatalk 2
  9. ksporry

    ksporry Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    All good advice and in fact I went for a practise run in the pool and in front of the beach. Actually I can hover just above the bottom with the camera. So I will continue practising with pool and beach side until my fin and buoyancy have improved. As a note. I can't do courses like that in my part of the world (asia). I already got PPB. Besides that haven't seen anything advertised (and even went out to ask). This Is Quite annoying actually because I know state side they have many courses and workshop but not so much where I am. Plus I'm bound to Chinese holiday periods most of the time.
  10. Karibelle

    Karibelle IDC Staff Instructor

    Suggest taking the housing with you on its own before adding the camera. Pretend you're taking photos. This removes the "pressure" of getting a good shot and allows you to practice, while focusing on buoyancy instead of pictures. And just my opinion, don't expect to take amazing photos for a long, long time. It takes practice practice practice, patience, a good eye, excellent diving skills and excellent photo skills... all of which are certainly achievable, but give yourself some time.

    sooke likes this.

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