My thoughts about photography, SCUBA diving, computers & photography related items

It has been a rough two years for scuba diving in the Segars family. Last summer, Ronnie fractured her collarbone and required surgery that sidelined her for the summer. My dive buddy, Beth Dalzell, had her knee replaced and was also out for the season. The boat went into the water – sat there for the season – and came out without the engines being started. The good thing was that I was able to finish my book and have it published. Every time that I read a great dive report on the NJ Diver’s Message Board, I yearned to be there. This summer, Ronnie and Beth are much better but due to many factors, we were late getting started. We didn’t make our first dive until Saturday, July 28th. The dive reports up until the 28th were amazing – flat seas, warm bottom temps and great visibility. I knew that it would change when we started diving. I wasn’t wrong but I am hoping that our day was a little hiccup in the summer of flat seas and great visibility.

Anyway, we decided that our first ocean dive since November 2010 should be an easy one. I wanted to visit sites that I had not been to before and photograph them. We choose a 95’ long tug on the Axel Carlson Artificial Reef off Bay Head, New Jersey named the Joan LaRie III. It was sunk on October 30, 2001.

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Ronnie and I witnessed the sinking in 2001. On that day, a barge was sunk and dedicated to James Lynch and this tug was sunk. The tug’s name was Brooklyn and she was dedicated to the eight people who lost their lives when the charter boat, Joan LaRie III sunk in 1984.

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The tug, Brooklyn, sinking as part of the Axel Carlson Artificial Reef.

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The surface water looked pretty good as Beth and I entered the water but as we got a little below the surface, the water had a yellowish cast and I was hoping that it would only be on the surface. As I got deeper, I realized that things were not going to improve. The visibility on the wreck was a cloudy ten feet and the bottom temperature was 57°. I was in a wetsuit and was pretty comfortable. We started out at the bow and started moving towards the stern. Beth went to the top of the pilot house and started feeding mussels to the fish. There weren’t enough large mussels to bring home so she spent her time fish feeding and sightseeing.

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I moved along the starboard side of the tug looking for photo opportunities. Ten feet of visibility is difficult to work with when you are shooting wide angle. I was also a little rusty from many months of not shooting underwater.

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I was using a Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom with my Nikon D300 in a Subal housing with two Ikelite DS-125 strobes. The fisheye lens really distorts things depending on the angle between the camera and the subject.

Adobe Camera Raw has a lens correction function that helps straighten out the photo but it also makes the photos look wild depending on how much distortion is applied to the photo.

This photo started life skewed very badly. I used the camera raw lens correction function to fix it. It still isn’t perfect but at least this way it looks almost normal.

The key to stop this from happening is try to keep parallel to your subject and not to point the camera upwards using the 10mm end of the lens.

In the photo below, I stuck my camera through the front window of the pilot house and took some shots. The fisheye effect of the 10mm end of the Tokina lens is really apparent in this image. And this was after I applied some lens correction to the photo.

 

 

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The photos does look kind of cool. I really had to watch my strobe placement so that I didn’t overexpose the outside columns.

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This view of the pilot house shows the lack of visibility and some of the effects of the fisheye lens. You can see more photos of the Joan LaRie III in my photo gallery here. After spending two-thirds of my dive taking still photos, I turned on my new GoPro Hero2 video camera and shot a video of the tug. This was my first time using the GoPro and I have to say that I was really impressed with the quality of the video. You can view it below. I will write more about the GoPro camera and housing in another blog.

© 2012, Herb Segars. All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2012 Herb Segars Photography Blog

1 Comment so far »

  1. Tom McNulty
    1:40 am on September 28th, 2012

    Interesting that my dad was a crew member on the Brooklyn when she belonged to the Dept of Marine & Aviation for about 20 years. I spent many days aboard as a young boy learning the ways of a harbor tug. At least she serves a purpose again rather than rust away in Jersey City. Thanks for the memory jog. Great underwater photos.

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About Author

Herb Segars is a photographer who specializes in wildlife and marine subjects. He lives in Brick, New Jersey, USA with his wife, Veronica. Herb spends a great deal of time SCUBA diving and photographing in the nutrient rich Atlantic waters off his home state of New Jersey.


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