Other Scuba Gear Tips

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Use a Wide-Angle Lens for the Best Underwater Photos

With digital underwater cameras, divers can take photos without worrying about their film supply or the hassle of film processing. Even better, divers can view their shots underwater and know instantly whether or not they need to take another picture to capture a scene.

Any diver can use a wide-angle lens to get a close-up photo of a manta ray or school of parrot fish. However, divers need specialized training from certified agencies to make more extreme dives. Divers need experience before cave diving, wreck diving and diving under ice, especially if they want to spend their time underwater focusing on photography.


Choose the Best Dive Bags For Your Gear

There are various dive bags on the market that offer different functions. All dive bag designs are efficient and will ensure your gear lasts as long as possible. Pelican cases are unbreakable, watertight and corrosion-proof. These hard cases make great dry cases for scuba gear. Smaller versions are perfect for carrying underwater camera equipment on dive trips.


Underwater Photography Gaining as a Dive Hobby

Advances in technology make underwater photography easy, affordable and convenient for just about any diver. Digital cameras allow for clear, sharp images that are worth framing and hanging. Use a SeaLife camera to capture your weekend dives in photos. The ability to download your images directly to your computer will allow you to share your best shots with your office friends come Monday - if not earlier.

What kind of dive bags are there for carrying scuba gear?

Choose the Best Dive Bags For Your Gear

You've made an investment in your scuba gear, so make sure you take care of it. Especially after a dive, it's easy just to scatter your stuff. Consider buying a few different dives bags for holding and transporting your scuba gear.

Here is a checklist of dive bags that any serious recreational or sport diver will need:

  • Mesh bags: These are the bags for carrying your scuba gear to the dive boat or dive site. The netting on these bags allows water to drain easily from them.The duffel bag style is standard, though the backpack style can be convenient because your hands are free. There also are tank bags and bags for holding your snorkel, mask and fins. Shop for mesh bags that have a rubber coating, which makes them more durable. It's never a bad idea to have extra mesh bags on hand.
  • Travel bags: These heavy-duty cargo bags are for trips, and most come with wheels. You can get a duffel-bag, cargo or backpack style travel bag. Look for travel bags with collapsible handles and interior dividers. Think twice before placing any kind of scuba sticker or insignia on your travel bag. While you may think the sticker will cause cargo handlers to transfer the bags with care, you are making the travel bags vulnerable to theft.

What kinds of gifts and accessories are there for divers?

Scuba Gifts for All Ages and Tastes

With the growing popularity of scuba diving, there is no shortage of dive gifts and accessories. Some are practical, like regulator bags and dive watches. Others are frivolous and fun, like key chains, license plates and T-shirts. There are dive gifts and accessories for every interest, age and occasion.

  • Say you and your wife or girl friend are planning a dive trip to the Caribbean, British Virgin Islands or Gulf of Mexico. Travel books on diving, water proof dive maps, or a vacation log/journal make perfect gifts.
  • You and your dive buddies will appreciate the rad T-shirts with outrageous designs that capture the spirit and attitude of scuba diving. These are not your father's dive T-shirts. Some of the wilder designs are definitely not for your mom to see either. But they may get a laugh and nod from your buddies. "Log Some Bottom Time" and "I Get Tanked" are some of the messages with double meanings. Use your imagination to visualize the illustrations that accompany them.
  • Children's dive gear are favorite gift items. You can order them in a starter package or buy them separately. Buying a child a good mask, snorkel and flippers promotes physical activity. Snorkeling at the beach, or just fooling around in the swimming pool are great ways for kids to get comfortable with the basics of diving.

Are there dive gifts for under $10?

Dive Stickers Make Statements with an Attitude

Dive stickers make fun and affordable gifts. Most carry the universally recognized red-and-white stripe that signifies scuba diving. Look for hog fish, turtle and lobster flag stickers. They are great for sticking on vehicles, bumpers, dive tanks -- or just about any hard surface.

There even are decals in the shape of sharks, scuba divers and the state of Florida. Perhaps you want a dive sticker that reminds you of a memorable dive trip, or you have a marine motif that is your personal diving symbol. Stickers are about $5, so they make great party favors and stocking stuffers.

Also check out the array of dive bumper stickers that lets the world know your passion, and also makes statements with an attitude.

"There is Nothing That a Good Day of Diving Won't Cure" may be just the right message you want blazoned on the bumper of your SUV or truck.

Other divers don't need a lot of words to get their message out. A popular bumper sticker simply states "DIVER" in capital letters.


Scuba Gifts for All Ages and Tastes

Scuba gear packages make great gifts, and can be custom-ordered to meet the needs of the favorite scuba diver in your life. A great gift idea is to order a scuba gear package consisting of a BCD, regulator, gauge and octopus. These items make up a self contained underwater breathing apperatus (SCUBA) for a new diver. Also consider ordering dive accessories, like scuba knives, dive watches, scuba license plates, dive bags, even a 35 mm underwater camera.

What kinds of products are there for sea sickness?

There are a Variety of Remedies for Sea Sickness

Most divers have experienced some kind of motion or sea sickness. The nausea and stomach pain have nothing to do with inexperience or lack of stamina. But they may relate to what you ate or drank the night before. Sea sickness also can result from rough weather and choppy seas.

There is no complete cure for sea sickness. But there are a lot of dive products on the market for settling your stomach at sea. Here are some you may want to check out:

  • Ginger is an age-old remedy for settling stomachs and aiding digestion. Now divers' supply retailers offer chewable ginger tablets for quick relief.
  • Relief bands are electronic devices that are worn like wristwatches and help relieve motion and air sickness. They are a drug-free remedy.
  • Triptone comes in tablet form and contains dimenhydrinate. It is made to alleviate the physical discomforts that result from rough flights and rough seas.
  • Sea bands are worn on the wrists and use acupressure to provide relief. A button on each band is placed between the two major tendons on the inside of your wrists.

What tips should new divers follow when taking photos?

Safe Diving Comes Before Taking that Perfect Photo

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you need to be a competent diver first before you try to be an underwater photographer.

Get comfortable as a new diver. Take several dive trips before you bring out that new amphibious sport camera. Taking photos or videos require concentration, and you need to focus on personal safety as a new diver. Over time, safe diving practices are second nature.

An experienced diver also is less likely to take risks to get that perfect photo. The more time you spend scuba diving, the more you will appreciate the risks and problems that can arise. You also will be better prepared to handle them.

The more at ease you are diving the better photographer you will be. Read about the marine life in the areas you will dive. Learn their habits and their environment. Some types of fish are scarce at mid-day and might best be seen in the early morning. Also, check underwater camera reviews before you buy underwater camera equipment.

Of course, you will want to take photos of resort vacations that involve diving. But don't be too ambitious. A point-and-shoot underwater camera will serve your needs just fine.

What are the types of underwater cameras?

Underwater Photography Gaining as a Dive Hobby

Underwater photography used to be the domain of professionals. Now it's a favorite hobby for many divers. Divers have a few choices in camera type:

  • There are disposable underwater cameras that get the job done, if you want to show friends and family what you did on vacation. Just point and shoot.
  • A second choice is housing a land camera. Some divers prefer this method for the wider choice of cameras and lenses. But the housing can be awkward to handle.
  • The popular choice is the amphibious camera. There are several brand-name digital cameras -- Nikonos, Sea & Sea and SeaLife. Canon and Olympus also get wet with their versions of underwater cameras.

What kinds of features should I look for in a dive knife?

Dive Knives Come in a Range of Styles, Prices

Choosing the best dive knives depends on the type of diving you do and how much you are willing to pay. Dive knives range in price from about $20-$150, based on design, quality and material.

Like most dive gear these days, there is a variety of dive knives on the market, from folding knives to knives with built-in scissors. A lot of it comes down to personal choice. The bottom line is to make sure you buy a knife that is non-corrosive. Titanium is the choice material, though stainless steel also works.

  • Serrated or straight edge: Serrated-edge knives are more common for diving. They are used to cut and saw rope, net, lines and kelp. Straight-edge knives cut fishing line and do other small tasks. Look for knives that offer dual blades -- straight and serrated.
  • Size and design: A medium-length knife is compact but has a blade length that can get most jobs done. Look for a knife handle that is 4 or 5 inches long, with a 4-inch blade. Blunt-tipped knives help you avoid any accidental punctures of gear while diving.
  • Sheathing: Leg-mounted sheaths look sharp, but holders that fit on your BC are much more convenient.

What kind of lens should I use to shoot dive photos?

Use a Wide-Angle Lens for the Best Underwater Photos

The best underwater photos are the detailed shots of fish, mammals, vegetation or other divers. Whether you are a new or experienced diver, make sure you have training and education for diving in exotic environments. A wide-angle lens essentially brings the camera eye closer to the subject, closing the distance between you and a school of fish. The standard wide angle is a 20 mm lens. Here are some advantages to using a wide-angle lens underwater:

  • A wide-angle lens lets you back off to capture the entire subject in your frame.
  • You are more likely to get the photo you want. Fish swim by quickly and it may be hard to get close for the best shot.
  • A wide-angle lens provides a crisp photo, something you won't get shooting from a distance with a regular lens. Underwater photos tend to look soft from a distance with a standard lens, because of silt and particles in seawater.

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Guru Spotlight
Joe Wallace