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ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Ah good stuff in there OP. I'm a NAUI Course Director and teach scuba as my full time job. I am also the dive safety officer for the University of Louisville Underwater Archaeology program, Louisville Zoo Glacier Run (polar bears, pinnipeds) and an advisor to the Louisville Metro Police Dept Dive Team. I can answer any questions anyone may have about becoming a professional, exhibit diving, archaeology (I'm no expert though) etc.

I also dabble in underwater photography. Some of my photos can be found here: http://chrisscottphotographer.com/Chris_Scott_Photographer/Images/Pages/Underwater.html

ZoCrowes fucked around with this message at 03:44 on Feb 19, 2012

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ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Buh posted:

Good to know. I can swim well (been at it since I was 2), but would probably need to improve my general fitness. Seems like a great reason to.

I haven't been diving yet, best I've managed is snorkelling at Divine Island. It's pretty much untouched so there's a reef full of tropical fish like ten metres out from shore. It was the most colourful thing I've ever seen. Would love to go out and see something bigger and better. Especially a wreck like in the video. Dat ship

You mention free divers use weights to descend quickly... doesn't that slow them down on the way up?

It must take a lot of practice to know when to surface. As an untrained pleb, my reflex only tells me when I need to breathe RIGHT loving NOW. I can't imagine swimming up dozens of feet to the surface without panicking.

These are fantastic. The manta ray with the derpface is now my desktop. Any chance of a higher res?

A lot of times that breathe right loving now feeling is caused by a buildup of CO2. Exhale a little bit to get rid of that waste and you can go a bit longer.

Thanks I am glad you like them. Yeah, just drop me an email from my site and I'll send you a desktop res file.

As far as location goes I am based out of Louisville,KY and Chicago,IL. I am a NAUI, SSI and TDI Instructor. I am the Course Director and training manager for my shop. As I said before I mainly do wreck, archaeological, exhibit and public safety diving when I am not teaching. I usually lead 3 or 4 trips a year out of country and do weekends in FL throughout the year.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Bishop posted:

I've actually had some regs serviced by your shop a few years ago and I bet you've trained some of my ex-coworkers (I used to work at the Louisville Zoo but left before glacier run opened). My landlocked location is Lexington, KY. Quarry diving bitches.

Since you say you're a TDI instructor and mention Chicago is it safe to assume that you do some great lakes wreck diving? I've been wanting to go up there for a while but don't have the all-important dry suit.

Awesome I hope we did a good job! Yeah, I've trained all the glacier run keepers. They are all really good people.

Yeah, and it's really not that cold if you go during the right time of year. In the late summer bottom temp can be in the low 50s which is not too terrible if you have a thick enough wetsuit. Last year we had some really weird weather patterns come through and churn up the water quite a bit. Viz dropped from 50+ to the 25+ range but the temp at 80 feet was 65 degrees! It was drat near tropical for a few weeks.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Crunkjuice posted:

How did you get into exhibit diving? Also, what the hell do you do during exhibit diving? I'm pretty curious on the subject.

Aquarium and Zoo diving. Mainly maintaining exhibits and things along those lines. Mostly I've worked with the Louisville Zoo. I worked at the Shedd Aquarium for a while and was familiar with the diving program. I did not like some of their safety practices though so I did not get too deeply involved with them.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


standardtoaster posted:

Can someone give a rundown and recommendations of the essential entry-level equipment needed for SCUBA?

I want to start with my own equipment, but want to know how much money I'm going to bleed before I go for it.

Also, what certification do you recommend for the US, PADI, NAUI?

Most of the big questions have been answered by others on here pretty well.

One of the nice thing's about dive equipment is that it tends to last. I've know people that have had the same equipment for decades. My father dives a regulator he bought in 1978 (and it's still in warranty!)

It's really a good idea to start with the basic personal gear (ie mask, fins, snorkel and boots) and kind of go from there. Just a few suggestions that are based around my personal preference and what I tend to find most pros go with after a while

Mask - A low volume mask tends to be preferable. A lot of new divers see the massive multi-window masks and they think "That looks great I can keep see out of the sides and and I won't lose my peripheral vision!" What they fail to realize is that light does not act the same way underwater that it does at the surface. It refracts and reflects inside and around the lens and can you wind up with heavily distorted tunnel vision in the side lenses. I suggest a low volume mask with a single or double lens. At the high end the Scubapro Frameless and Aqualung Mini Mask are great choices. Both are very easy to clear and offer great fields of view. Tilos makes a knockoff the Scubapro Frameless that is probably the best bang for the buck on the market.

Snorkel -You don't need anything fancy for diving. I'm a proponent of always having one on you. If you're in rough seas and have a long surface swim back to the boat you will be thankful you have it on you. I use an XS Scuba collapsible model (I think it's called the Cargo) that I keep in my BC pocket with me all of the time. It cuts down on drag but you've got it on you if you need it. I would stay away from bulky dry snorkels. A lot of people like them for snorkeling but I find that they get in the way.

Fins- A good pair of paddle fins will last you years. I personally prefer something that's a bit stiffer because it allows for more maneuverability. Someone with weaker legs may prefer a bit more flexible fins but what you gain in going for a lighter more flexible fin you lose in power and stability. The Scubapro Jet and Hollis F1 are stiff as hell but they are great for photo work and anything else you need maneuverability for. They are not great long distance swimmers though. If you don't have strong legs and need something without a bit more flexibility I would look at the Oceanic Vipers. The Subgear Wake is a good entry level, bang for the buck fin. It occupies a nice spot between the stiffer fins I mentioned and the Vipers.

Boots- Go with a 3mm high cut starting it out. It's your most versatile option.

Since someone asked about Great Lakes wreck diving here are a few I took last summer:


End of dive by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Round gobies by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr
These little bastards are Russian Round Gobies. They are an invasive species in Lake Michigan and they are EVERYWHERE! They've driven a lot of native species out of their natural habitats. It kind of surprised me the first time I saw them because I was not used to seeing freshwater gobies.


Round Goby by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr
Round gobies and zebra mussels. Invasive species galore.


Russian Guppies on the Tacoma by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr
drat gobies


Buccaneer Aft Deck by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr
Aft deck of the Buccaneer


Wreck of the Tacoma by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr

Vis was down a bit last year so I did not take as many wide angle photos of the wrecks as I would have liked. Hopefully it will be better thsi year

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Kaal posted:

3mm is a versatile thickness, but I really would recommend on talking to the local divers and having your gear be appropriate for the local conditions. And go warm rather than go cold. I've seen guys get a nice case of hypothermia because they tried to get their versatile tropic-water gear to work in my cold NW waters rather than shell out cash for a rental. Trust me: that's no fun for anybody.

Good point, Pacific NW is a pretty big exception to that.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Tomberforce posted:

On a night dive last night, an octopus managed to steal and swim off with my buddy's torch, which was on. Funniest thing I've ever seen diving!

That's great! Octopuses are some of my favorite animals.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


fordan posted:


I have a bunch of cert cards (NAUI Scuba Diver, PADI AOW, NAUI Nitrox, PADI Rescue) so I usually keep my Nitrox card in my wallet and the others with my gear. And I make sure to use a NAUI card when travelling overseas, since NAUI doesn't have much presence outside of the US and the fact that they don't give out cert numbers to non-professionals (as in not a DM or Instructor) confuses the hell out of some dive operators.

Actually NAUI does give out certification numbers. They seem absolutely ridiculous at first but there is a formula.

If your name is John Smith and you were born on April 1, 1988 and you have an Advanced Scuba Diver card your certification number would be smit04011988johasd

That comes out to be (1) first four letters of your last name, (2) your birthdate in eight digits, (3) first three letters of your first name, and (4) the abbreviation for the certification.

They are even printing it on the card now. That's changed in the past three years or so. What confuses most people about NAUI is that their Openwater Certification is called Scuba Diver while PADI and SSI's Scuba Diver card is not actually Openwater qualified.

Of course NAUI has been calling their Openwater certification "Scuba Diver" since the 60s. They do put an Openwater qualifier on their card though.

I personally think that having a non-Openwater qualified Scuba Diver certification like PADI has is absolute bullshit. It dilutes the market and does nothing except confuse customers and hurt the diving industry in the long run.

ZoCrowes fucked around with this message at 18:38 on Feb 27, 2012

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


mightychode posted:

I've had my cert for nearly 10 years (I'm 25) but only went with my dad who paid for everything and we always rented everything, all I own is mask/fins/snorkel. And don't know that much about diving except i friggin love it. I've dove maybe 6-10 times ish? Well, I live in Miami now and have only gone diving once since I moved down here (pathetic), and rented from the shop. it was 120 for all gear plus two tank dive. I'm a PADI open water. I want to buy my own gear and start diving more, both around Miami and the keys. However, I know nothing about gear. What mil wetsuit should i get? used gear, or new? I saw that link for scubatoys, the midline package looked pretty good. Any advice would be great. Also always looking for a dive buddy!

You can find some great deals on used gear. So long as you make sure that it's been serviced it should be fine. The store I manage for has a used section and we sell gear packages at less than half of what they would go for new. We make sure everything is serviced before it goes out the door and some of it winds up being drat near good as new. You would be amazed at the amount of people who buy thousands of dollars worth of gear, keep it for a few years and only dive it a few times and then resell it for a fraction of what they paid for. Dive gear has pretty bad resell value. The only real expense you will come across is having it serviced. If you are not buying from a shop it could run you 100+ in parts and labor if you need to get it serviced before you dive it.

ZoCrowes fucked around with this message at 22:12 on Feb 27, 2012

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


MA-Horus posted:

Here's a question. My dad was a diver in the 70s/80s and has a lot of his own equipment, such as reg/bcd/tank. Problem is they haven't been serviced in 30 years. Are thy junk now, or can thy still be refurbished?

It depends on the brand for the BC and Reg. A lot of old Scubapro and Aqualung gear is still going strong with parts still available. Older tanks you may have a harder time getting filled even if they pass hydro and visual. There are a lot of dive shops that are very paranoid about old tanks.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Bishop posted:

A lot of older aluminum tanks were made from a bad alloy. (google 6351-t6) In my experience a lot of shops refuse to fill or service tanks made before 1990.

I've never seen conclusive numbers about how many actual accidents have been caused by that alloy. I've not done a very in-depth study into it but from what I recall the tanks that did have issue were not properly maintained (no visual or eddy tests conducted.) I have failed many pre-1990 alloys that did have noticeable cracking in the neck (easily visibile to the naked) or did not pass hydrostatic inspection. However, if a tank has a recent hydro and visual eddy inspection (that was done by a reputable operation) and it's pre-1990 I will go ahead and fill it.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:



For instance, the name for the NAUI open water diver cert is the same as the PADI "I only did half my open water and need to be watched" cert.

The NAUI card being called Scuba Diver predates PADI's very existence. It also states quite plainly on the card that the person is Open Water certified. If a dive operator can't understand that very basic concept I am not sure I would trust them to even tie their own shoes properly much less get to me to a dive site safely.

It really does not matter what agency your certification was through. The instructor is far more important than the agency. You can also have a Naui Scuba Diver card and take an SSI Nitrox or Padi Rescue and vice versa. Padi HQ even states that PADI shops should accept Universal Openwater Referrals. The agency is really not all that big of a deal for the consumer. It gets to be somewhat of an issue once you hit the professional level and are deciding which agency you would like to teach through.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Crunkjuice posted:


On the other hand, if you go the professional route (DM/Instructor), PADI really does kick rear end. All of the negative things people claim about PADI start to be good things when you're apart of the organization versus a recreational diver.



It's funny, I feel the exact opposite. I am a NAUI, SSI and TDI/SDI Instructor and I refuse to cross over to PADI. My father is all of the above plus he has been a PADI Instructor since 1975 and we have a few PADI guys on staff. I absolutely refuse to crossover to PADI unless I absolutely have to.

I guess everyone's experience will be a little different.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Trivia posted:

I just recently got a (very) nice email from my parents informing me that they'd be willing to buy me a dive computer for my birthday. The stipulation of course is that it doesn't cost them their retirement savings.

Does anyone have any good recommendations for economic dive computers? I know the Suunto Mosquito is the often cited go-to piece. Any others?

How much do you want to spend? The Subgear XP10 is a rebranded Uwatec Aladin Prime and it won't break the bank. It's EANx compatible, has audible alarms, backlight uses an IR interface to connect to your PC so you don't have to buy a $100 cable and is pretty easy to use all around. It's probably our best selling dive computer. http://louisvilledivecenter.com/Louisville_Dive_Center/XP10.html

Suunto does not make the Mosquito anymore but the Zoop is a good choice. It's got a lot of the same features as the XP10 but it does not have audible alarms or a backlight. But the display is a bit bigger.
http://louisvilledivecenter.mwrc.net/en/product.php?product_id=37607

One thing to keep in mind is that the Suunto and the XP10 are both pretty conservative dive computers. The uses XP10 uses a Buehlmann algorithm and the Suunto uses RGBM. That's not really a bad thing to me though.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Crunkjuice posted:

Our shop sells subgear stuff and the XP-10 is a solid entry level computer. I see it around a lot. The level of money your willing to spend will determine a lot about your dive computer.

Yeah it's a drat good one. For years it was the Scubapro Aladin Prime and was considered pretty solidly midrange. Scubapro changed the color to white, changed the name on the front and dropped the price by about $150. It's got quite a few more features than a lot of other computers at its price point.

The only complaint I have ever had about it is that it's display numbers is a little bit smaller than some of the other hockey puck sized computers.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

What mechanism makes holding your breath to maintain an exact buoyancy not work on a rebreather?


Never ever ever ever hold your breath while breathing any compressed gas at depth no matter what. You can have an over expansion injury with even a pressure change of a few feet. It does not take much to damage the alveolar membrane.

Bishop- that's too bad about the weather. It's kind of par for the course for the keys in late winter and early spring though. You might get lucky though because the weather can turn around I what seems like minutes.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Playing the panicked diver make going out to the quarry on a mucky day worthwhile.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


ZoCrowes posted:

Playing the panicked diver make going out to the quarry on a mucky day worthwhile.

jackyl posted:

Try a torx head screwdriver. I've had luck with delicate stripped heads and that before.

Edit: for diving content, my wife and I are basically recreational divers. We got PADI scuba diver certified in the BVI, finished our open water in Curacao, and then did St Lucia last year. We're doing Turks and Caicos Memorial day week, that's gonna be awesome. I think I am going to start a lot more local diving (Louisville, KY) to increase competency and start moving up the cert ranks, too. I wish we had done this a lot earlier.

Sent you a PM

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


SlicerDicer posted:

Bishop, Is it disturbing that I am worried about doing PADI IDC.. even though I am a full blown rebreather diver and PADI DM?

Not at all crazy. Being an experienced diver and being able to effectively teach diving are two very different things.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


rockcity posted:

I'm inclined to agree. Mine always kept getting stuck in the hoses coming off my first stage and it was yanking my head back. I had to modify it just so it wouldn't happen. I typically don't even dive with it anymore. Someone I dive with mentioned getting a collapsible snorkel to toss in a pocket, but I haven't gotten around to it.

I hate having to wear one but I keep a collapsible in my pocket. I've had some long surface swims in rough current to get to the down line or back to the boat and every time I was glad to have a snorkel with me. If I have to wear one on my mask I've found here Scubapro Shotgun to be the least pain in the rear end.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Bob Loblaw posted:

I'm going to sound like a big baby here to the rest of the board I'm sure, but I would recommend against it.

Honestly, while I have talked to some dive instructors who say to go ahead and go for it, I have talked to a few that recommend at least 30 normal dives before going for advanced. Make sure you have your basics covered, perfect your buoyancy, practice your skills, etc, during those first 30-50 dives before going on to deeper and more challenging environments. 40 feet may not sound like much, but it is but it is an extra g in pressure, your safety/deco stops become much more important, and you will have some comfort and experience under your belt should anything go wrong. You can probably cisa from 30 feet if you had to, but from 90 feet, no way.

I'm going to take the opposite viewpoint and say go ahead and take your Advanced. The Advanced Course is something of a misnomer*. Taking the Advanced Course does not make you an advanced diver it just means that you have been exposed to more challenging diving situations while under the guidance of an instructor. Most Advanced Courses are designed for new divers.

It does not mean that as soon as your Advanced Course is over and you have around 12 dives that you should be out diving to 100 feet on your own. No course is a substitute for experience but it can greatly expand your knowledge and skills set.

*NAUI's Advanced Course used to be called Openwater II and it's course curriculum reflects that. It's geared more towards newer divers with less than 10 dives than divers with 50+ dives.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Just got home yesterday from my 5th Blackbeard's Cruise out of the Bahamas. Took 22 other people with me on a trip leaving out of Nassau. We had a grand old time.

For more info you guys can check out their site: http://www.blackbeard-cruises.com

If you have any questions about the trip I would be happy to answer them:


Giant Stride at night by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Cassie on Danger Reef by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Sharks 2 by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Wreck of the Austin Smith by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Going Up by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr


Christmas Tree Worms by christopherpaulscott, on Flickr

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Crunkjuice posted:

I'd love a detailed trip report. I've thought about going on one for a while. I've heard varying things from "OH GOD SO MUCH RUM" to serious hardcore diving. It seems like a bunch of fun, but i'd love to hear from someone first hand about their trip.

I'm going to write a blog post about it for my shop's site sooner rather than later. I'll cross post it here.

Like I said earlier it was my 5th time so that should tell you how much I like the trip. For the quality of dives it is probably the best bang for the buck out there. For less than a thousand bucks you get an Exumas liveaboard that averages ~20 dives in six days plus all the food and booze you could possibly want. The only thing to keep in mind is that you are on a fairly small boat (65 feet) with a lot of people and it's pretty much roughing it. I usually call it an adventure not a vacation. I took 22 other people with me and everyone had an amazing time. I even asked my girlfriend to marry me while we where there.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Ropes4u posted:

With the above in mind should I pick up the below before going to Bonaire.

3mm wetsuit (Florida / Caribbean)
Mask
Fins
Regulator

I would say go with a Mask and Fins from that list. Those are very personal bits of kit that are very dependent on a good fit and will make a huge difference in your comfort in the water. I would also look into a dive computer. Having one that you use on a regular basis will make increase your margin of safety because you are familiar with its traits and what it is telling you. The SubGear XP-10 is a drat good option that you can find for less than $300 most places.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


If you're going to take decongestants before diving make sure you are loading up on fluids. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of decompression sickness and decongestants can be a major contributing factor to that.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


DeadlyMuffin posted:

Since pictures don't seem to be enough to keep the thread going, I do have a question:

I've been thinking about trying to become an instructor. I'm friends with a few former instructors but nobody active, and I'm not sure where the best place to start is. Just walk into a shop and ask cold?

I'm certified PADI through rescue and passed GUE fundamentals (but I'm loathe to go any further down the GUE track due to my distaste for kool-aid).

If you've got a home shop that you like go to talk to them and see how they handle Instructor programs. I can't speak for all shops (we are NAUI) but we usually have people interested in becoming an Instructor go through an apprenticeship program where they help out with classes first as an observer and then later as a Training Assistant. If they don't have a Master Diver certification they are usually working on it at this point. Once they have Master finished up we usually start Divemaster training so that they can lead trips and teach refreshers. We usually have a handful of these guys a year and when we have enough of them ready to go we run an Instructor Course. Our shop has 3 Course Directors including myself so it's pretty easy for us to run an Instructor Course. For other shops they will usually have you go in-house through Divemaster and if they don't have IT and CD staff on site you will go elsewhere to finish your Instructor training.

I would say just go to a shop you like, tell them you that are interested in teaching and then go from there.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


pupdive posted:

Can you 'splain the current NAUI instructor course deal?

I am out of status NAUI instructor (but active with other agencies). What would I need to do to get current if there is no one around to easily do things with? Is it possible? If so, how much?

How long have you been inactive with NAUI?

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Squashy Nipples posted:

So, what is the appeal of a Liveaboard vacation? I get that it maximizes your dive time, but it just seems like... a crappy vacation. I feel like I'd get claustrophobic being on the boat for a week straight, and frankly, I really like hotel amenities like full-sized beds and full-sized toilets.

I'm not pissing on the concept, I just feel like I'm missing something here.

I absolutely love liveaboards. I like the adventurous aspect of being on a vessel and being able to go wherever we want. We are not tied to dive sites that are 20 minutes from the resort so you can places that are much farther out and don't have a lot of traffic on them. I've done Blackbeard's five times and that is about as close to roughing it as you can get. One of my fondest memories is being moored in the southern Exumas at night looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. It was two in the morning and I was sitting on the bow with rum drink in my hand. I was the only person awake and the only sound was the ocean lapping against the hull. The sky was full of stars that were reflecting on the water. It was such a clear night that looking at the horizon I could to tell where the ocean ended and the sky began. I am not religious in the least but it was a truly spiritual experience for me. I never would have gotten that staying at a resort.

Blackbeard was a bit too roughing it for my wife so I doubt she will ever go back but we have a trip scheduled on the Aquacat next year. I'm sure it will be great but I love the adventurous aspect of the Blackbeard boats. I have a group there now and it bums me out that I am not there with them. I am leaving for Tortola on Thursday though so I don't feel too bad about it though.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Ropes4u posted:

I have been debating which regulators to get my wife s and I. I was pretty set on atomic, they are sold by the shop I will dive with when in Florida. But I see a lot about the HOG zeniths being equal in performance and cheaper.

Can anyone here comment on their HOG or atomic regulators ?

We will only be rec diving.

The biggest difference will be in the availability of parts and service. Atomic is an established brand with a dealer base which means that no matter where you are if you run into a problem you can probably find a tech/parts to work on them in a pinch. HOG is a very small brand overall. If you run into a problem, even if you have the parts kits to make the repairs, most shops won't touch them with a ten foot pole due to liability.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Ropes4u posted:

The way I see it my wife and I have a few choices for purchasing regulators.

1) Atomic B2 and an Octo-Z - safe enough for a reef bitch (us for now). Light and easy to manage but won't grow beyond nitrox if we go crazy.

2) Atomic M1 streamlined kit for DGE - can grow into this and safe enough for any diving we will ever do, never needs replacement.

3) Atomic Z2 Octo and Reg - cheapest option. No swivels or flex hoses which may bother my wife.

Option two appears to be the safest and longest lasting bet to me, and at 1100 each isn't out of reach but my dreams of a crazy computer would be tried up to a Geo 2 or something similar.

Are any of these a bad choice?

None of these are bad options. Honestly any of these options will be fantastic for a recreational diver. You can always add swivels and flex hoses later on if those are important to you. Honestly, I doubt you will notice a difference between the regs for most of the diving you will end up doing.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


jackyl posted:

This guy sold my wife and I the bulk of what we're still diving.

E: including the lady hawk that she loves

Haha going way back here! Glad you guys are still diving it.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


jackyl posted:

Yeah, it's all great except the Cobras are amazingly conservative.

Yeah that's kind of the nature of the beast with RGBM tables unfortunately. Much more conservative bottom times but a higher margin of safety.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


DeadlyMuffin posted:

I respectfully disagree with this, here's an example:

This is a not particularly great wide angle shot, but you can see that the diver in the foreground (who was probably 15' away, so hardly a closeup) has enough flash to accurately depict skin tones, while the diver in the background looks quite a bit bluer. The challenges are getting enough strobe out there without backscatter, and avoiding completely blowing out anything between you and the target. It requires a relatively powerful flash and bit of practice though, but I've seen good flash pictures even of very large subjects, like mantas, that aren't closeups.


If you'd like I could try and pull a bit more color information out of the RAW files for you.

edit: You can actually tell the difference in the color between his hands and his face (my strobe is on the left, so there's a bit more strobe light on the hands)

No way that diver is 15' away and that well lit. Most likely this is just shot with a wide lens. You are really only going to get good strobe coverage of subjects less than 10' feet away in good viz. Diffusion is going to take care of any light after that.



I shot this from about 10' away with a 10.5mm fish eye and you can see how little strobe coverage my subject got. And that is in about as clear of water as you can possibly get.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


Trivia posted:

Man I wish I had a camera as nice as this.

It's about more than just the camera. It's about knowing your gear and how to get the shot you want. A DSLR just makes it a lot easier. And even then there are probably only 1 in 100 shots that I think are worth a drat.

I shot this with a cheap Olympus point and shoot with a wide angle lens rig that I made using an old Sea & Sea lens and adapter made from JB Weld and PVC.

ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


DeadlyMuffin posted:

Maybe I was 10' away, but that isn't how I remember it. Could probably calculate it, but

What you're missing is the magic of white balancing. Here's my (crude, since I started with a jpg) crack at your picture:

The diver actually looks fine, but the foreground is a bit wonky. In my picture everything but the diver is background so I can just let it go blue.

For reference, here is the original unedited version of the picture I posted before, alongside the adjusted version.


Agreed. I hate it when people say "wow, what a nice picture, you must have an awesome camera!" Like I mentioned earlier, I'm taking pictures with a camera I paid $100 for, and my initial pics looked awful. My flash is actually much more expensive than my camera. It takes a lot of time and effort.

You actually made a fairly common mistake when trying to white balance an underwater photo which is why the foreground is magenta. That's not how the she looked at that depth and range. While that may be closer to her actual skin tone at the surface it's not how she would have looked underwater at that range. Mine may be a bit cool and could be warmed up a bit but it's closer to the actual colors of that scene. This is why having a grey card comes in handy.

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ZoCrowes
Nov 17, 2005

by Lowtax


pupdive posted:

10-11 year olds can get certified but there are a pretty serious range of restrictions on the instructor side and the student/diver side that make me say to people if you can wait until 12 it's probably a better idea.

But really the biggest issue is thermal stuff. Kids have absolutely no problems with any skills, if they are actually interested in getting certified. All of the skill in the confined section which can take many hours for a typical adult, can be done in under an hour with an interested kid. But unless you are in a pool that is hot enough to melt an adult, there are going to need half hour breaks every fifteen minutes to regain core temperature, so it's gonna take hours of doing nothing but heating them back up to get things done.

If you are at an inclusive resort with a hot tub, this is a good thing.

What thermal issues should tell a parent whose kid wants to get certified is that a properly sized wetsuit is an absolute must for diving for kids. And the way kids grow, that two new wetsuits per diving season. Most people are used to buying clothes too big and letting them grow into them.

That does not work with diving.

12 is definitely the best age. I've been teaching a Jr. Scuba Camp twice a year for the past 13 years and my dive shop has been teaching it since the mid-90s. I actually took it when I was 12 in 1996 so we've got quite a bit of experience working with the kiddos. My June 2016 Jr Scuba Camp had 2 instructors including myself, 7 students of which 4 were 10 years old boys. Of the seven I wound up not certifying 3 of the 10 year olds. I tried to make it clear to the kids that they did not fail but that they were just not ready. One kid was probably 90 pounds soaking wet and I had him in a 3mm full body suit with a 3mm shorty on top of it and he was still absolutely freezing in 79 degree water in an outdoor pool with 85+ degree air temp. Even with gear and thermal protection that fits I still think 10 is too young for most kids.

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