What They Carry Underwater Photography: Gear Up Like a Pro
Underwater photographer Tim Calver
Underwater photographer Tim Calver rarely straps on scuba tanks. He prefers to simply take a deep, calming breath and sink into the seaoften for more than two minutes at a time. “Free diving is completely silent and unaggressive,” he says. It sets sharks and dolphins at easeand people, too.
Calver, 32, specializes in “splash” photography: action shots that catch the play of light near the surface. He has photographed world-champion free diver Pipin Ferreras, Cuban fly fishers, and snorkelers in Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park (see photos). His advice for novices? Use a wide-angle lens and get close to your subject.
Calver sheaths his favorite topside cameraCanon’s professional EOS (www.usa.canon.com), which lists for $2,900 but can be found for under $2,000with a housing made by AquaTech ($1,695; (www.aquatech.com.au).
The system is rated to a depth of 15 feet [4.6 meters]but he has used it effectively to 30 feet [9.1 meters].
The rugged, lightweight Nikonos V’s lineage begins with Jacques Cousteau, and the camera is rated to 160 feet [49 meters]. The Nikonos V remains the benchmark for pros despite being discontinued last year.
A novice-friendly option is the versatile, easy-to-use Sea & Sea MX-10 ($600; www.seaandsea.com).
To maintain his core temperature, Calver wears a thin, highly flexible Rip Curl 3/2 Ultimate Elasto wet suit ($299; www.ripcurl.com).
His Cressi-sub supersize Gara 2000 fins ($181; www.cressi-sub.it) help him generate power quickly. And his close-fitting, single-lens mask, the Oceanic Shadow ($80; www.divesource.com), allows for wide peripheral vision.
Calver carries his gear in watertight Pelican cases (www.pelican.com) of two sizes: the carry-on 1550 ($150) and the huge, wheeled 1650 ($260).
Other essentials include SealLine Baja dry bags ($12 to $32; www.cascadedesigns.com); packets of silica gel, the moisture absorber that comes in the box with new electronics; and a tube of extra-gooey Aloe Gator sunscreen, SPF 40. Says Calver, “You literally have to scrub it off.”