Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida - The most common question I get regarding the underwater photography equipment I shoot is always “how much does that cost?” (Well, actually the most common is “So, do you dive?” shortly after they find out I am an underwater photographer but perhaps that’s a topic for another blog). The thought of submerging thousands of dollars in electronics always seems to mystify most people. Like most thing, I suppose over the years you get more confident in your abilities and the focus is less on the cost and more on the appropriate tool for the job. I’m sure if I was handed a camera system that cost as much as my first house when I began shooting, I would have been a little more nervous. In my opinion, the dollar amount doest really play into the equation regarding the responsibility and prep to splashing any given camera system. I try to prep each camera the way I learned near a dimly lit pool at Temple University when I took my first (and only) underwater photography class. Very meticulously. The price tag may have gone up from those old Nikonos cameras, but the attention to orings and pinch points is still the same.
Orings and pinch points – the lesson of this entry. Today was a first in my career as an underwater photographer. I flooded my first camera. Not just any camera, but my best (and favorite) Nikon D2Xs system. I was going to shoot on small sunken shrimp boat populated with thousands of schooling fish of every variety. When I hit the bottom at 20’ I noticed the dome port filling with water - fast. I rocketed for the surface but I knew it was too late. Water, especially of the salt variety, is the death nail for these modern marvels of computer chips and image sensors. I had not followed my own rules for meticulously prepping a camera and an o-ring got pinched in the housing. For most reading this blog, a Nikon D2Xs means nothing except that it’s some type of camera. Let’s just say its one of those cameras that would make you ask “how much does that cost?” My reply – A lot.