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Blog posts tagged in camera equipment

Posted by on in Latest News
A nice anchorage at Keem changed over night as the winds veered to easterlies. Uncomfortable to put it mildly so we headed off to find a dive site. We had heard tell of some epic locations near Achill head facing south west. Wind was from the East so we started looking for some interesting topside topography.
 
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We came across this spot and felt it could be interesting underneath…..A narrow gulley with tonnes of boulders wedged in.
 
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We geared up, swam across and here is one of Ciaran just before we descended.
 
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It certainly didn’t disappoint. The feeling I get by dropping into these gullies is like passing through some gateway to a sacred chamber or tomb.
A gateway to the underworld. Such a powerful emotion comes over me that it is difficult to hold onto my air. I am excited by my surroundings, I am using a tripod (Quodpod) that has 4kgs attached to it. My air goes quick!
I have to be efficient with my decisions, executions and movements. Each dive I am improving.
 
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On returning to the surface the forecasted gales had already started. This proved difficult for us getting back to the boat. A full on swim later and we were aboard and making a run for Westport to hide from the storm.
 
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Back to Westport and we have to say goodbye to Matt, who’s making the documentary, legendary crew and cameraman. You’ll be missed amigo.
 
 
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Here’s a wee one of Ciaran, Matt and I reviewing some images.
 
23On Board
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Posted by on in Latest News
Tuesday, 7th of July, we finally got plan B on the go. Although it seems the wild Atlantic weather systems are not finished with us yet…..strong winds and heavy swells are continuing to batter us. Not ideal diving weather! I started getting a cold the day before we left. Still, we persevered, loaded the boat and set sail as far as Killala on the first night. Des. our skipper, Matt, the documentary guy, Ciaran, the dive guru and me…..photo guy! A skeleton crew from what was originally planned for Greenland but we’re up for the challenge!
We left Killala on Wednesday morning hoping for a dive at Dun Briste at Downpatrick Head but the swell was too high. Zero chance of diving. Typical…. I have chosen these epic locations that are exposed to the severe winds and swells….and this summer is a turbulent one.
 
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Saw some basking sharks on route…

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We returned to Kilcummin, took up a mooring and got battered by swell for the night. We managed a quick tour of Killcummin where General Humboldt landed in 1798. 

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On Thursday we tried again for a dive at Dun Briste and this time we managed to get in.

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We did a full 360 of the stack as it was the least amount of surge.
For all you non divers out there…diving involves a lot of gear and particularly underwater photography.
I am trying to do some long exposures with my underwater quodpod from Anchor Dive Lights.
 
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My idea was that I would assess the dive first with just the camera and lights and return to the spots on a second dive with the quodpod.
I have 4 KGs attached to the tripod so it makes diving with it difficult. This is a luxury that doesn’t seem to be possible as the weather prevented us getting a second dive in. This means from now on I need to dive with the quodpod. This makes diving way more difficult and my air consumption is much higher. I also have to be careful to dump air in my drysuit before letting it go or I will shoot to the surface.
Having said all that, Dun Briste was a fantastic dive, full of life and interesting rock formations. I have ear marked a few places that hopefully I can get back to when the weather is better.
 
We headed on to Rinroe for safe anchorage although the winds were howling from the south. Another rocky nights sleep and next morning we filled our tanks with air. Not much space so careful coordination is required.

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The same goes when charging batteries for cameras, lights, phones, iPads etc etc etc!

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On Friday we managed to find a sheltered spot just east of Portacloy which was sheltered from the south winds and the SW swell.
We were able to anchor the boat and Ciaran and I got 2 dives in here.
 
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Here’s a shot a got on the second dive.

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Parsons Rock

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The Stags, hoping to dive them on this journey.

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Des, the esteemed Doctor, left us on Friday evening at Rinroe and we headed for Rossport as there was some heavy winds coming. Rossport has excellent anchorage but we were once again battered by the wind. Rossport locals (Sean from Dennys bar and Barney) were very friendly and provided us with showers, a small shop and a lift to a garage to top up on fuel. 
 
Hopefully now we are establishing a bit of a workflow. Weather reports are for more swell and winds so it’s all messing up the visability. 
We live in hope……!


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Posted by on in Latest News
The saga of the damaged engine aboard the Killary Flyer is not done yet. It turns out that when we were sitting in the big storm with our stern to the storm (see previous blog) and swell pounding the boat, due to the continuous pressure some water went up the exhaust and into the engine. There is a yoke called a ‘baffle’ to help protect against this but unfortunately it didn’t do enough this time. This water in the engine did untold amount of damage, seizing the engine and burning the starter motor.
 
So….where does that leave us?
 
Des Moran, County Coroner in Sligo for many years and crew aboard the North of Disko trip in 2013, has a small boat that he has offered so that we can get to dive sites around the coast. 4 weeks, 4 people, living aboard this little beauty….
 
Boat 

 
Ah no…he has a gorgeous 30 foot yacht called ‘Nanette’
 
Nanette
 
 
Unbelievable generosity form Des. Ciaran is still coming along as my back up diver and Matt is going to document for the next couple of weeks.
We still have the portable compressor courtesy of Scubadive West.
 
I put a call out to the diving community through the CFT underwater photography page looking for suggestions of unusual caves, tunnels, pinnacles, rock formations and people have been brilliant. Many thanks to Richard Thorn, Martin Kiely, Nick Pfeiffer and Ciaran O’Murchu for all their wonderful suggestions. We aim to travel the West of Ireland in Des’s boat diving as many locations as possible.
I will utilise the underwater quodpod provided by Anchor Dive Lights to create long exposure images of the underwater world. 
 
Here is my first attempt from Carriage Cois cheim on Inis Turk. It is a blend of 5 images and edited quickly to give you an idea of the style of imagery I am trying to capture. Breffni from Scubadive West put me right onto this location.
I cannot describe the incredible energy I felt as I sat at the bottom of this cave on my own soaking up the incredible mood.
Shot on the new Canon 5DSr 50.6 MP camera so should be able to get a nice print from it.
 
Moody
 
 
Nice top side scenery too…great day out diving.
 
Shot from dive 1
 
 
The next 2 are from right at the slipway at Scubadive West.
 
SW slipway 1
 
 
SW slipway 2
 
 
Mweelrea in the background.
 
Sealife housing
 
 
An old Sealife Housing I came across yesterday. Cameras Underwater ever stock these?
 
We set sail tomorrow (Tuesday 7th of July) hopefully to begin this Odyssey at Dun Briste and Downpatrick Head.
 
Watch this space…..
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Posted by on in Latest News

As we get nearer to our imminent departure (9th of June) the last few bits of kit are arriving and we are putting it all together. My brand new high end Scubapro kit arrived last week which is different to what I had been using.

They sent me and Ciaran a Back Plate, Wing and Harness with an integrated weight system along with their MK17 G260 Regulator with an environmentally sealed first stage. Basically a great regulator system for the cold water we will be dealing with in Greenland. I have recently learnt about a thing called 'Freeflow' which is caused by cold water temperatures and your regulator freezes in the open position and you lose your air at high speed.

This is one of our many concerns for cold water diving but these regulators from Scubapro are top class and hopefully will minimise that risk.

I had been using a BCD jacket courtesy of Scubadive West and I was expecting the transition to the new system to be a challenge. Not so....I instantly liked as I can now dive without a weight belt and I feel much freer in the water. Big thanks to Andy Shears and all at Scubapro.

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I spent a very interesting evening at the National Aquatic Centre testing both my Canon 16-35mm and 14mm lenses. It was an evening run by the Ocean Divers Club and I basically plonked myself at the bottom of the pool with my camera and tripod photographing tiles. Very different diving in a light wetsuit and I ended up at the bottom of the pool with way too much lead in my pockets with a couple of drysuit fins that didn't work.

End result......I could barely get back to the surface with the tripod. BCD was popping with too much air!

Good to test the lenses and I am a bit further along in understanding how they perform behind a glass dome underwater.

Cillian pressure testing my drysuit

Cillian pressure testing my O'Three drysuit at Scubadive West. As mentioned in a previous post (See below) we have 'P-Valves' attached to extend our dives. I thought I had a leak in the drysuyit but it turns out I wasn't closing the valve tight enough and a small amout of saltwater was leaking in through the valve.

Jamie, Adam, Matt and Andy

Sooo happy that Dubarry have supplied the whole team with sailing boots. Last time around I had wellies and my feet stayed wet for most of the crossing. Jamie, Adam, Matt and Andy L to R

Food packing

Food packing last weekend in Jamies....Lots of beans!

Vacuum sealing the endless amounts of porridge

Vacuum sealing the endless amounts of porridge and other good stuff!

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Barrels packed and labeled...ready for stowage aboard the Killary Flyer.

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Posted by on in Latest News

Friday was sooo exciting and basically another Christmas morning for me. Cameras Underwater sent me 2 giant pelican cases of underwater camera housing equipment. This consisted of an amazing Aquatica Housing for the Canon 5D MKIII, a 9.25" and a 8" dome port, a macro port and all extensions needed. This equipment is precision stuff and some incredible technology. They also sent me a couple of Ikelite strobes....everything packed to perfection with exact instuctions. Take a bow Jenny and Co, you have really looked after me so well.

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So I spent a few hours figuring it all out before heading west for diving on Sunday. After judging the annual Dublin Camera Club photo competition I picked Matthew Boyd up, who is coming to Greenland to document 'Into the Blue'.  We got ourselves to Scubadive West with the promise of snow and high winds. On route we visited the poor auld Killary Flyer which is still currently up on the dry dock with just over 3 weeks to go.....!!!!

The weather turned out to be not so bad and Ciaran Lennon(my dive buddy) and I got 3 dives in with the new camera housing. Amazing piece of kit but difficult to shoot as macro is way more challenging underwater than above. I have such respect for underwater photographers who put so much time and effort into perfecting their craft.....it really is difficult to get right....so many variables.....like surging swells, particles in the water, buoyancy control, length of dive, understanding the gear....... My learning curve needs to continue on it's steep run!

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Wide angle lenses and 9.25" ports are next up.
Here are a few images I got on the few dives with the macro lens and port. A long way to go but hopefully I'm starting to get the idea......

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Plumose Anemone

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Perewinkle with afro on some kelp

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he dark holdfast of a piece of kelp

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It is with deep regret that I must report that the 'Into the Blue' project to Greenland is over for this year. We got caught in a large storm that ca
The saga of the damaged engine aboard the Killary Flyer is not done yet. It turns out that when we were sitting in the big storm with our stern to the
We crept into Westport Quay and 'come in, she said 'I'll give ya....shelter from the storm''. We waited there for 4 days until the storm had passed a

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