Sea Conditions and Weather

Planning for the conditions is very important, certainly around Fremantle waters in WA. You will struggle to get good wide angle shots in two-metre visibility. Doing your research before you dive is time well spent.

FIG. 10.2 Pointer.

FIG. 10.2 Pointer.

• Ascertain the best time to dive certain areas. I have found South Western Australia is best in winter for visibility and autumn for less swell and wind.

• Talk to local divers and underwater photographers before you plan your trip. You can't always guarantee the conditions but putting the odds in your favour is a great start.

If you are lucky enough to have two camera set-ups and you're not sure of the visibility, type of site, or subjects, then configure one for macro and the other for wide angle. I certainly always do this to give me maximum flexibility. This also saves changing lens and port configurations in a hurry, which ultimately can result in a flood (as I know from costly experience).

As the old saying goes 'failing to plan is planning to fail.'

I use my local Marine weather report to help me decide where and when I'm going to dive. It doesn't make much sense to dive the northern side of an island when a predicted strong north westerly wind is due the day you are diving. Most of the year we are susceptible to south westerly winds so it would make sense to look at the less dived sites on the southern side. I have also learnt to take notice of the sea swell conditions, which make for uncomfortable and difficult conditions, reducing visibility even further.

When good visibility arrives make the most of it. Break out your wide angle lenses and make the best of the conditions. I have dived with many photographers who believe that temperate waters are for macro lenses only. Not true! When conditions are good you can capture those wide angle images that are so rarely taken. I feel such a sense of elation when showing a wide angle shot that has worked in temperate waters. Non-divers are amazed by images they see from cooler climes, believing coral reefs are only found in warm blue water.

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