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Underwater Photography in Mexico

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Principally there are three main areas for diving along the ‘Riviera Maya’ which have well developed diving provision:

Untitled-1Untitled-2Cancun itself, with the surrounding, nearby reefs, several wrecks and La Musa (concrete statues depicting the moods of mankind – well worth a visit).

Cozumel, simply wonderful and kaleidoscopically coloured reefs, abundant marine life and sometimes, deep drop-offs.

Playa del Carmen (Playacar), reef diving, Bull Shark diving, and of course……

The Cenotes.

All of these destinations are within easy travelling distance of each other, so much variety offering ‘top ten’ tick box dives in abundance.

But the point of this little article is to chat about the frustrations and pleasures of trying to do justice in photographic form to adequately convey the colours, wildlife and clear water.

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Nowadays just about every newbie diver’s first kit purchase is a camera and housing so that they can ‘capture their memories’ – come on, we all did it. Sadly the results are usually terrible and stored in electronic memories in huge numbers. I remember sitting through interminable sessions watching slides that my parents had taken to be followed by the guests showing theirs.

I’m sure the bit of me that died during those darkened room viewings has a lot to do with my subsequent vagueness and inability to concentrate.

So some time ago I set out on a mission to:

Untitled-61. Not subject my friends and family to the same, showing them hundreds of not so great pictures.
2. Actually try to make better images (note the use of the word image here?? Can’t call them snaps or pics any more).
3. Try not to spend too much money, inasmuch as I don’t have any.

In reverse order, the way Sports Personality of the Year does it,

3. Not spending too much money – ouch!!! I use a Canon S95 and Canon housing, INON Z240 strobe, INON wide angle ‘wet’ lenses with various arms ranging lights etc, etc (this was the cheap option!!!).

2. A fully manual camera, fill-in light and wide angle lens, good images are automatic, right ?? Wrong.

There are many sources of information regarding underwater photography written by far more learned people than me. However, one thing I’ve noticed, is that socially, photographers can attract, shall I say, ‘negative vibes’ from staff and other customers on dive trips.

Untitled-7At my stage on the UW photographic learning curve I need time to take the shot. I can’t just fire off several rounds into the reef and come back with a masterpiece. My results are delivered from almost painful adjustments and experiments.

Time is of the essence when you’re a photographic grasshopper. Other divers just don’t understand your needs. The more time you spend shooting that colourful slug, the shorter their boredom threshold becomes (an opportunity for them to continue developing their buoyancy skills I say).

The dive guides in Mexico were relaxed about us hanging off the back of the dive if a tad unprepared for how distant we’d get. Once they became accustomed to our needs it worked well as it tended to separate us from the other guests.

Photographers tend to hog the best spot to see the beasties, worried that they will disappear if confronted by flailing, gasping and panting newly qualified frogpersons. This too can cause annoyance.

Untitled-5By being a little detached from the group these potential irritations were removed. Win – win!!

So, if like me, you need time to practice with an absolutely huge range of subjects in some of the best conditions you’re ever likely to encounter, then try Mexico.

Wildlife – and I don’t mean the mosquitoes – is massively varied and plentiful. It’s also quite tame. A little care and patience, planning and thought will allow you to approach the animals quite closely. In my experience they seem to tolerate divers more than other places I’ve visited and as such make great models. The turtles are amazing, really awesome.

Among the wide variety of life on display are huge shoals of grunts on the shallow reefs of Cancun. The lack of depth and great light give a wealth of opportunity to practice taking photographs. Truly, the quantities of fish on the reefs here need to be seen to be believed, and I’m told that they are resident all year round.

So, that’s me trying to offer some tips for the beginner.

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My last point, not subjecting loved ones et al to viewings of my ‘works of art’… well, I can see where my Parents were coming from. It’s true, I am turning into my Dad.

Travel to these destinations was provided by The Scuba Place:

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

+44 (0) 207 644 8252

First class accommodation and world class diving are available for all levels of experience and interest. Sail-fish and Whale Shark expeditions in the summer, Bull sharks in the winter, supreme reefs and the Cenotes all year round. Couple that with the welcome Mexico offers and, well… you’ll love it.

 

Andy took his first fin-kicks in the scuba world in 2002. Almost immediately obsessed, diving became his one really serious interest (apart from underwater photography, mountain walking, cinema, music, chopping firewood, and purchasing shiny new kit), and following PADI instructor certification through the London School of Diving, he now finds himself regularly teaching scuba around the world. Having joined the team at The Scuba Place in 2012, Andy is also ‘deeply immersed’ in the world of scuba holiday provision for TSP clients. His role includes going out to dive clubs and centres to host seminars, visiting holiday providers to scope the quality and value of their product offered (a particularly arduous task!), and represent TSP with a view to enhance the company’s presence in the market place. Andy has developed a keen interest in the Dark Art of underwater photography, making any excuse to get away and practise. He is currently wrestling with the problem of what his next camera is going to be - and how he is going to convince his wife that it’s in her interests to pay for it.

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WIN a Beuchat Air Light Bag!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Beuchat to give away an Air Light Bag!

The Air Light Bag from Beuchat is a practical travel bag that takes up minimum storage space.

  • Material: 600 denier and 1,000 denier nylon/PVC
  • Soft roller bag, easily stored in its mesh bag
  • Internal retaining straps
  • Zip fastener with eyelets for padlocks
  • Side compartment for fins
  • Outer document pocket with coated zip and carry strap
  • Backpack style straps concealed behind the foam back-plate
  • Drainage vents
  • Red over-moulded wheels; detachable wheel block

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Philippines have been recognised as the World’s Leading Dive Destination at the 27th World Travel Awards. In the article it states how many islands make up the Philippines… how many are there?

Is there:

  • A) 7,209
  • B) 7,532
  • C) 7,641

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Beuchat Air Light Bag December 2020

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Beuchat and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 13/01/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Gear News

Quick Scuba Tips #1: How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving (Watch Video)

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How To Prep A New Mask for Scuba Diving. Can’t I just take my new mask diving straight out of the box? Well, actually, no. It needs a little work to make it dive ready.

In this, the first in our new scuba diving quick hints and tips series, I’m going to show you how to prepare a new mask for scuba diving with three quick techniques, all aimed at stopping your scuba mask from fogging.

Yes, this link is an affiliate link. Purchases made through these links may earn me a small commission at no extra charge to you.

Dive safe, dive often!

James


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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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