Friday, December 30, 2011

Dive Report - Shaws Cove & frogfish 12/29/11

Probably a roughbar frogfish (Antennarius avalonis)
Probably a roughbar frogfish (Antennarius avalonis)

Date: 12/29/11
Location: Shaws Cove, Laguna Beach
Time in: 10:55 am
Time under: 81 min
Max depth: 40 ft
Avg temp: 57 F
Vis: 5-10 ft at depth, 15 ft in the shallows
Waves: Lake Laguna
Buddies: Mike H., Debbie K, DJ S, Cathy S


Highlights: The frogfish, of course. We also saw a nice, large moray and a large horn shark. Finally visited Shelly of Shaws.

California Moray Eel (Gymnothorax mordax)
California Moray Eel (Gymnothorax mordax)

Mike and I joined Debbie and friends to go visit the frogfish. Without a guide, I don't think we would have found it, tucked away and camouflaged. As I always do when I set up my camera before a dive, I did some test shots. Those seemed to work without a hitch. Once underwater, however, my camera wouldn't fire reliably with the strobes on (fired once or twice and then no more). My guess is either the hot shoe flash connector on the camera or the TTL cable connectors weren't quite seated correctly. So I found myself going to visit the rare frogfish with a camera that wouldn't fire with strobes.

Probably a roughbar frogfish (Antennarius avalonis)
Probably a roughbar frogfish (Antennarius avalonis) and a treefish

I remembered Allison V. and Andy S.'s recent article on doing still photography with video lights and was inspired. I cranked up the ISO a bit, opened up the shutter and slowed down the shutter speed. I was using NOAA Jim's NiteRider dual HID light (thanks Jim, still helping me out!), which is basically a video light and was determined to make lemonade out of lemons. The photos needed a little more help in the white balance department, but actually came out ok.