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  • Esteban

Diving with a group of Dive Photographers

So we had the privilege of being able to go fun diving with some of the photographers who are staying at Turquoise Bay yesterday, and even though conditions were rough out on the south shore of the island, on the north things were relatively calm, course I say that as a sailor who doesn't mind the seas, who'd take an hour-plus ride through rough seas for the right kind of dive.

We did a couple of sites close in, the first was Pollitilly Wall, named for the nearby town of Politilly Bight, a town where several of the Subway crew live (including our awesome DM Eddie). Then we came back and headed out to Alton's Wall after a brief surface interval. Now, don't get me wrong, I've gone diving with dive photographers before, but I've never gone with an exclusive group of them. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

Most had good form, excellent fining technique and would line up one after the other to come in and get the shot of whatever one of them had decided would be worthy of the effort. Course, that means the entire group is moving at a pace that some would call glacial in conditions where current is at times a bit of an issue. I'm usually like what I think of as a turtle on a dive, moving really slow, sticking near the back of the pack -- this time I was near the front and a sharksucker kept trying to attach to my tank! Think of it as a remora if you haven't heard of sharksuckers or suckerfish. Not sure if that speaks to my pace or to something else, but I didn't notice it, just wondered what Andrea was on when she kept doing something to my back. And I'm glad it didn't decide to attach to my leg, or my back and opted for my tank instead.

Regardless, we moved slow, really, really slow. Like imagine a really slow pace and then slow it down by 25% minimum.

It's cool and fun. Makes you remember why you love diving to begin with -- because there is just so much life down there on the reef. You can spend hours staring at a single colony of coral if you have the patience to look with eyes that can see. And the group we're with, they get it, they're all avid divers, the kind of people don't mind dropping thousands of dollars into underwater rigs they use a couple times of year at most because they want to be taking the best pictures out there. They've got rigs that look like miniature submarines with dozens of lights, craning arms, tripod legs, adjustable lenses, digital displays.

They don't care about going deep, they're all on Nitrox because they want to stay down longer, have that much more of a chance to potentially get the shot. They don't care about depth, which is nice, they just want good vis, which isn't always in the cards. Can't control the weather, as we've learned and learned again.

They're all looking to get the best picture, that once in a million chance that brings a photo to life, transforms it into art the same way good prose elevates above mere words into something greater. They breathe slow, know how to slow it down even more to get the right angle, they're all good divers decked out in the latest gear. In between dives they talk about their camera settings, how that new light they bought is really making a difference when it comes to backlighting their compositions this year, how the new housing they got for their rig is really so much lighter, that kind of thing.

We don't have that kind of equipment. We're rocking a GoPro Hero 5 with a yellow floatie handle -- and we're getting better at using the strengths of the GoPro platform to allow us to tell more engaging stories. Or so we hope. We're never going to compete with the kind of macro detail you get from these cameras these dive photographers were hauling around. Still, we had a nice morning out on the reef, saw some really cool marine life like a really big turtle, a huge clinging wall crab out in the open at about fifty feet, and so much more.

On the first dive, for example we saw at least three separate bearded fireworms -- don't get too close. Don't touch them! They look cool but can really sting. This one almost got me!

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