Eliminate Distractions and Keep your Concentration

Dive Gear

We have enough distractions just being in an aquatic environment. I try to eliminate these as they interfere with my main objective: taking photos. Equipment is the place to start.

Wetsuit Get a thick one or a good dry suit as it's important not to be cold. I use a 6.5 mm + 3 mm hooded vest even in 20—22 degree water. I can honestly say I have never been too hot in the water but maybe that's just me. Preparing for the water conditions is vitally important. Some shallow photography dives can last up to two hours or more. That's a long time to be cold and will affect your concentration, ultimately leading to careless photo mistakes.

Gloves Not something I use except in water below 10 degrees, as they can be cumbersome.

• Cut out the shutter finger like a marksman. It keeps your hands warm but you still feel in control for that peak of the action.

• Cut other fingers from the gloves to suit your camera controls and comfort.

If you're going to use a dry suit then get some practice. Good buoyancy is a major part of getting good images and, more importantly, for marine conservation. If you're a well-trained and confident diver it will show in your results. Being weighted correctly to suit your style is obviously a major part of your buoyancy skill. I tend to be slightly over weighted as I find it helps me to settle on the sand when required.

Avery useful piece of equipment is a stainless steel pointer, which can be used to steady yourself against the reef wall or above the seabed whilst taking an image.

• I use my pointer on a dead patch of reef instead of the two-finger technique. It gives me greater separation and control.

• It's also a great tool for pushing away from the reef when finished.

• The pointer can also be used as a basic monopod for those occasions when you need to use slow shutter speeds. A piece of equipment I never dive without!

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