The Gear I Carry: Philippines 2012
If only I could carry it all! Every trip I make I learn more about packing, redundancy, disaster avoidance, and risk mitigation. This trip is all about underwater opportunities for me, so I had to leave some great lenses behind: I’m not carrying anything longer than my 105mm macro.
I shoot Nikon’s D300 and carry 2 bodies with me. I’ve seen shutters fail on the first day of month-long trips and redundancy is extra important for underwater photographers. There are other great cameras to carry, but with my dedicated Ikelite housing it’s two D300’s for me!
With the housing I have flat ports with manual focus for both my 60mm and 105mm macros. For this trip I will be using Subsee’s +5 and +10 wet diopter system. Subsee is a Canadian company based in Mississauga. Keri Wilk has a huge help and rushed a new system for me after my original was trapped in the St. John’s post office that was destroyed in a storm! I also use an 8″ dome with my 10.5mm Nikkor fisheye and 11-16mm Tokina wide angle lenses. I use two DS160 strobes unless I’m only going to be snorkeling.
I recently began using a GoPro Hero cam for underwater video. These tiny HD video cameras come with their own underwater housing, are simple to use, and come with excellent warranties for those of us who put our gear in unconventional situations! That said, I was very disappointed with the image quality from my dives. Turns out, the standard underwater housing causes refractory problems that blurs underwater images. Enter Eye of Mine, a company based in Signal Hill, CA (what are the odds?) that mods GoPro housings with a larger flatport specifically for use underwater. A number of videos on youtube showcase the vast improvement in image quality, so I’m a believer. I should have my first video with this new setup early next week.
In addition to my 1TB WD passport, Zoom H1 Handy Recorder, box of lens paper, o-rings, hex keys, silicone grease, Rite in the Rain All-Weather notepad, first aid kit, extra batteries, old beater MacBook, Garmin GPS, and iPod, I have some new additions that I’ll review once I’ve given them a try. Nearly all of my gear fits into my carry on luggage: a Lowepro Vertex 200 AW (thanks Raï) and MEC’s waterproof Aegir 20 Pack. I keep my lenses safe in a F-stop Small Pro ICU that just slides into the Aegir.