Camcorder housing test February 12th, 2013, Browns Bay

The stable and dry weather means great conditions for those keen to dive Auckland east coast bays. Southwesterlies mean very limited swell and no rain means there is no silt coming from the land. The receipt for a good dive is simple: the visibility is best before the high tide, find a place with rocks or at least a flat reef with a good kelp coverage. Look for small critters hiding in the kelp, discover the colourful invertebrate life hiding in the shade of overhangs/cracks, enjoy the schools of juvenile fish (e.g. trevally, snapper, goatfish, spotty at Browns Bay). You can also find big stingrays resting in shallows and if you dive at dusk you can experience a surprising like a kingfish hunting close to the shore.

The visibility was surprisingly good last week reaching more than 5m at some places. The camcorder housing worked great though there is is a lot to learn on the side of the person behind the camera: (1) The housing has no viewfinder so it’s necessary to guess the correct distance and the direction of the lens, (2) The wider the lens the better – that increases the depth of field and allows to get close to the subjects (the rule says if you think you’re close enough get closer), (3) It’s necessary to reduce the movement of the housing to minimum otherwise nobody would ┬ábe willing to watch the recorded footage, (4) The camcorder is recording all the time it’s necessary to make the Record/Pause switch working or perhaps manually cover the housing port and uncover it only for the aimed shots, (5) Pre-set focus works best with a wide-angle lens especially with the moving subjects (always the case underwater), (6) WB manual setting is crucial to get consistent results, (7) It’s difficult to fight the automatic exposure so instant changes of the scene brightness should be avoided (not always possible).

I hope I’ll improve fast to be able to share some footage from those local “not-that-interesting” diving locations here.