Archive for January, 2012

#145 Sven’s Reef 2012-01-29

Sunday, January 29th, 2012
Sven's Reef in Melbourne, Australia
16 minutes, max depth 18.6 m, water 22°C
Buddies: Nicky Woods, Paul McManus

#144 SS Coogee 2012-01-29

Sunday, January 29th, 2012
SS Coogee in Melbourne, Australia
34 minutes, max depth 31.1 m, water 19°C
Buddies: Joey Clapper, Luke Cawley

#143 HMAS Canberra 2012-01-28

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
HMAS Canberra in Melbourne, Australia
44 minutes, max depth 29 m, water 20°C
Buddies: Luke Cawley

#142 J5 Submarine 2012-01-28

Saturday, January 28th, 2012
J5 Submarine in Melbourne, Australia
23 minutes, max depth 34.1 m, water 19°C
Buddies: Joey Clapper

#141 Eliza Ramsden 2012-01-27

Friday, January 27th, 2012
Eliza Ramsden in Melbourne, Australia
32 minutes, max depth 20.4 m, water 20°C
Buddies: Bronwen, Paul McManus

#140 Lonsdale Wall 2012-01-26

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Lonsdale Wall in Melbourne, Australia
39 minutes, max depth 28 m, water 20°C
Buddies: Luke Cawley

Canon 15-85mm

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

With the addition of Tokina 10-17 Fisheye to my kit my lens needs underwater are pretty well served now. However, my lens collection was still lacking a good general purpose walk-around lens. I have been using the 550D kit lens (Canon 18-55mm II) for this purpose. While it’s a pretty good for a kit lens, after using some higher end lenses (particularly the super-sharp Canon 60mm macro), the short-comings of the lens have become pretty annoying.

After some consideration and research, I ended up buying a used Canon 15-85mm IS USM. It’s quite expensive for a non-L lens, but at I least found a pretty good deal on Ebay. Haven’t had much chance to play with the lens yet, but so far I’m pretty happy with the purchase. The lens is a lot sharper than the kit lens and the autofocus is just superb. It also has a very useful focal range of 15-85mm which covers most normal photography needs. The only real downsides are the variable aperture (3.5-5.6) and the fact that it’s little heavy on the 550D body.

My lens collection (excluding the 18-55mm kit lens which will now end up on Ebay) is now as follows:

While none of them are L-lenses, all of them (with the possible exception of 70-300mm) have good or even great image quality. With my latest acquisition I feel that my kit is in pretty good shape and these four lenses cover almost all typical photography needs. Only thing missing is a really fast lens for low light shots, but I’m happy to live without that one for now.

Of course, you never know when photography bug bites again and you end up replacing all your lenses with L-variants…

SS Coogee

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Yesterday I went diving with MUUC again. Despite the warm and sunny weather most people were busy with other stuff and this was actually my quietest morning with MUUC thus far. There were just three of us (Luke, Kath and me) heading out from the shed which made things little tricky with the boat. Luckily we got everything sorted out on the way to Queenscliff and ended up having a great day of diving!

First dive of the day was SS Coogee, an impressive old wreck. Coogee is an old steamship originally built in 1887 and scuttled in 1928 in the Ship’s Graveyard outside Port Phillips Heads. It lies in around 32 meters of water with the bottom around stern slightly deeper than that. Originally Coogee was 69 meters long, but now most of the ship is gone. The bow, the stern (including the impressive rudder quadrant now covered in yellow zoathids) and the two boilers are still in pretty good shape, however.

While sea conditions on the surface were quite rough, underwater things were great with superb visibility! Coogee offers some great photo opportunities and I ended up with some quite nice shots. I’m also starting to get hang of using the strobes with a fisheye lens, adding the diffusors helps a lot. Not that things were exactly perfect yet, I did end up with strobes showing up in some of the shots. But that was pretty easily fixed with some cropping or photoshop magic.

Coogee is bit deep for photo dive, especially with 12 liter air tanks. We got close to deco limits well before running low on air and had to head up after a relatively short dive. Bit of a shame really, I would have loved to spend more time down there. With the depth it’s pretty perfectly suited for nitrox which unfortunately isn’t available through MUUC.

After Coogee and a quick visit back to Queenscliff we headed out for the second dive of the day. This was an OW level dive at Pope’s Eye. Underwater conditions were lot better than last time I was there, visibility was significantly better and current was bit weaker as well. With lots of colorful fish, a visit from a pair of seals and a ray circling around us, the sights didn’t disappoint either. This was the first dive I actually tried the zoom ring I recently bought for the Tokina lens. The ring worked well enough and was pretty easy to use underwater. While none of the photos I took were truly spectacular, I did get some pretty decent shots during this dive as well.

During the day I was also testing some cheap dive torches that I recently bought as spares. They were quite bright (Cree T6 led) and I didn’t notice any issues underwater either, so I was pretty happy with the purchase. Main beam is pretty tight with decent amount of spill as well. With only one 18650 battery they are also quite light and should make excellent travel torches.

#139 Pope’s Eye 2012-01-22

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
Pope's Eye in Melbourne, Australia
35 minutes, max depth 11 m, water 19°C
Buddies: Elena, Lloyd, Rob

#138 SS Coogee 2012-01-22

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
SS Coogee in Melbourne, Australia
31 minutes, max depth 32.3 m, water 19°C
Buddies: Kathryn, Luke Cawley