Well, this was the first weekend I was really able to get out and do some photo work with my new equipment. We had some very high winds, and most of the water was very agitated, with dangerous waves. I heard there was a guy who died in a boat accident yesterday, after the winds threw his boat up on the rocks. Yikes! That being said, there are almost always places with calm waters. Yesterday I checked out the water over by the airport (the non-windy side), and it was calm as could be. Visibility was pretty good, and I took some macro shots. This morning we got a small group together and headed over the St. Jean Cap-Ferrat where we found a protected bay to dive in, and conditions weren’t bad.
I finally got my new Ikelite DS-51 strobe. It’s a tiny little thing but it seems to do the job, especially for macro. It’s a big step up from my old strobe as far as features and performance. It features a recycle time of 2.5 seconds, as well as built-in TTL with the proper connection and an Ikelite case. This means that it automatically meters the available light and adjusts accordingly. What a difference! Plus, I can adjust the exposure combination, or I can go full manual at any time. It’s not the most powerful strobe on the market, but it gives a great color temperature, and seems to be what I need for most of my work. I am very happy with it thus far.
Speaking of macro photography, I got my Nikkor 60mm macro lens this last week, and actually got to try it out. My initial impressions are very positive. The lens is very sharp, focuses relatively quickly, and seems very well built. It’s my first real, dedicated macro lens, and I definitely have to get used to working with it. Being a fixed focal length lens, I was surprised to find that it “zooms” a bit when focusing.
This is to provide a 1:1 macro ratio, but it really makes it difficult to compose my shots. It happened a few times that I got into position, composed my shot, and then went to focus. Upon focusing, the lens “zoomed” in a bit, and my whole composition was blown. This wouldn’t be a huge deal with scuba gear, but when you have to constantly re-compose your shots on a free dive, it can cause problems. I am sure I will get used to it, but it will take a bit of time. Indeed, I have some learning to do in regards to the entirety of my new system, as it is quite different. There are a lot of improvements, but it brings it’s own set of trade-offs as well. For now, I am just going to have to get out and shoot, and learn as I go.
I would definitely say that I can tell a huge difference in quality so far. I am far from being comfortable with my gear, and I would say my photos are as least as good, if not better than before.
You be the judge, enjoy the photos!