Diving Gallery

The Sola Photo 800 Dive Light

Once you descend below a few feet underwater photographs begin to be all greens and blue. The reason is that water absorbs the red light, leaving a very skewed color balance in the images. Thus bringing a light source with you becomes important to allow the underwater world to be seen in vivid color.

Sola Photo 800
The Sola Photo 800 mounted beside the Ikelight strobe
I routinely use a strobe on my camera, resulting in very nice still images. But the strobe is useless for video. Thus my interest in a light that can be used as a main dive light and as a video light underwater.

Enter the Sola Photo 800 by Light and Motion… The Sola offers a nice flood with an even field of illumination for video. Several of my dive buddies use Sola lights, Thus I have had a chance to check out the lights firsthand before putting down a few hundred dollars. I was particularly noting the build quality and the control setup, both are excellent. With dozens of dives on the lights they still work well. Perhaps I should consider one of these little units?

There are several models available, but it is the photo version I was looking at. The light provides 800 lumens of white in an evenly illuminated, large field. The photo version also offers a red mode for framing and focusing that purportedly does not change the behavior of the subject. Deep red light is not seen by many marine critters as there is little to no red light at depth to be seen.

A coincidence of decent sales on the Sola lights occurring on my birthday resulted in a package appearing on my lanai. I ordered light with both the hand grip mount and with a ball mount that will allow attachment to my camera rigs.

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Preventing Fogging in a GoPro Camera

Fogging is a real problem with GoPro cameras, particularly in diving where humidity is so often an issue. Closing the camera in a damp tropical environment, then submerging the camera in cooler water to dive a tropical reef is a sure recipe to fog the inside of the optical window.

Purging the Air
Purging the air an moisture from the GoPro case with difluoroethane
I understand the desire to keep the case as small as possible. particularly for an action cam. But why? Why could GoPro not include enough room for a small desiccant package, a few millimeters would have been enough. Yes, there are the little pieces of blotter paper sold by GoPro and others, but these are not nearly as effective at removing moisture from the case as true silica gel desiccant products that absorb far more moisture per volume. I have seen GoPro cameras fog up even when properly used with the Anti-Fog inserts.

There is plenty of room in my other camera cases for desiccant packs. I keep a good pile of desiccant on hand in nice little packets just perfect for loading into the camera cases. I put the used packs in my toaster oven for an hour at 150°F to bake the moisture out and reuse the packs over and over again. Simply store in a tightly sealed, airtight container for use.

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Diving on Sunday

Dennis likes to go out on Sundays… I go when and where the boat goes, no complaints! Any day on the water is a good one.

Yellow-spotted Guard Crab
A yellow-spotted guard crab (Trapezia flavopunctata) in cauliflower coral
The plan was to dive Touch of Gray, an excellent dive site near Makalawena Beach. This is a deep dive site, so looking to maximize bottom time we loaded up on Nitrox for everyone. Our info also placed a number of gray reef sharks at the site recently, a good reason to go.

I also had a new toy along, a Sola Photo 800 dive light. I am really interested in improving my underwater video, thus looking forward to using this new light.

Reaching the dive site we encountered a problem… No mooring to be found. We had the correct coordinates, but multiple passes with everyone on the bow failed to spot the ball. Thus we dropped Mark in the water to take a look, he spotted the cable lying on the bottom, the mooring ball was gone. Off we headed for another dive site.

We ended up diving Carpenter’s instead. Not a bad choice, this is a nice area with a lot of topography to explore. Large coral pinnacles reach from depths of 40′ to near the surface, with a few canyons and shallow caves to add to the terrain.

I can not say I found anything unusual or new. Just a nice dive with lots of fish. It appears to be a good recruitment year, a lot of juvenile fish about. This included several dragon wrasse to chase through the coral rubble with the camera. I love how they swim, somehow going in the direction they desire without appearing to move. Seeming to just drift like the piece debris they attempt to mimic as camouflage.

Despite the shallow dive site we dove the nitrox anyway, the tanks were rented and needed to be returned full or empty. No nitrogen lethargy after these dives! Everyone was ready to go for more, nitrox really does keep you from feeling the after effects of the dive.

Trying not to take it for granted just how good we have it here on the island. As we cruise back to harbor we are enjoying the sunlight on the bow and talking about life. The conversation turns to just how miserable life can be in much of the world. We look about and make a point to notice… Life is good here.

A Long Dive

Photography can be a tedious pursuit, even more so underwater where conditions can be very challenging. This leads to a regular issue in mixed dive parties. The photographers go slow, really slow. The other divers are ready to cover some ground. This occasionally means that the guys leave me behind.

Dive Profile
Dive profile for Suck ‘Em Up Cave
While diving alone is not recommended, the risk can be mitigated. I shift to a different set of rules, a far more conservative set of rules if I am on my own. I keep the depth much shallower, to where I could do an emergency ascent with little risk, this is generally 30ft or less. I do not go very far into a cave, perhaps working the twilight zone, but not getting into the back recesses of the many little caves common along the Kona coast. These sort of rules are usually not much of a compromise. Almost all of the dive sites on the Kona coast can be enjoyed while staying shallow. Many of my best finds have been in the twilight zone of the little reef caves. Staying shallow also has the benefit of extending the dive dramatically, it simply takes far less air to fill your lungs when shallow.

Gosline's Fang Blenny
Gosline’s fang blenny (Plagiotremus goslinei) sheltering in a worm tube, 20ft depth, Suck-Em-Up Cave
Suck-Em-Up cave fits the bill. The maximum depth here is 30ft, and there are so many entrances and skylights that an emergency ascent is always possible. The rest of the guys are planning to sweep the reef face and take a deep excursion before heading to the cave. I am planning to simply dive the cave as I have several photographic targets in mind. I am first into the water, swimming a few feet from the boat awaiting Pete, Ben and Dennis. A loud pop and woosh announces a blown o-ring on an air tank for Pete, this will lead to a short delay. I signal that I am dropping anyway, they know where I will be. The cave entrance is only a few yards from the boat. I give a salute and they wave back as I slide under.

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