One of my many photography goals is to build a catalogue of species that inhabit the coastal waters of the UK. Obviously it takes thousands of dives over many years to compile such a thing, so on the 24th December 2008 I was in the water again. The water off Swanage Pier was a chilly 7 degrees C with visibility not much more than three feet. Still, with a macro lens you can get close enough to the subject to get around most of the 'viz' problems, although particulate matter in the water can be a nightmare with the associated backscatter. For macro work, I tend to use a Canon 100 mm f2.8 macro lens with a couple of Sea & Sea YS250-Pro strobes attached. If I know that the critters are going to be really small then I might add an extension tube or diopter to the lens. In this case I just used the 100mm on its own.
Despite the bad viz, I managed to find some interesting critters to shoot, including Scallops, (top), a female Black Faced Blenny, (below), and a few Snakelocks Anemonea. After 90 minutes of diving and despite the drysuit, I had numb fingers and could no longer work the camera so, I
decided that discretion was the better part of valor and got back into the car where I could at least try to prevent the onset of hypothermia. Roll on the trip to Hurgharda (Egypt) in January for a tour of several wrecks in the Northern Red Sea :)