Camera Preparation

Frustration is an emotion which can arise at any point of the photo process. Frustration towards an inflexible dive group, frustration with water conditions, frustration with your results but most of all, I find the feeling of frustration towards your photo gear is the main culprit.

How many times have you been in the water and discovered?

• Your flash batteries are flat after five minutes.

• The camera will not turn on due to misalignment of the on/off switch.

• The auto focus will not work due to a misalignment of gears.

• The wrong port is fitted for your fisheye lens.

The list is endless, and you're not the only one who suffers from these problems. Underwater photo professionals make the same mistakes.

I am not particularly proud of this achievement, but I once neglected to put my camera into my housing!

You must, and I emphasis the word 'must', establish a routine of preparing your camera, flash, housing, etc. for a photo-dive. If you neglect to establish a 'prepping' routine then sooner or later problems will arise in one form or another.

Technical divers have a rule that:

No one should be distracted by another person whilst they are preparing their equipment.

If you can establish a similar system when preparing cameras for diving, the chances of flooding would be significantly minimised.

In my experience, 95% of floods are caused by human error. More often than not it's down to rushing to get ready and making simple mistakes. The design of modern camera housings reduces the chance of experiencing a flood; however, mistakes are sometimes made in the preparation stage which result in a flashgun not firing, a lens not focusing and a camera 'packing up' in the first few metres.

fig. 5.3 We all experience this familiar feeling when our rig plays up and it always seems to occur on a photo-dive which matters.
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