Galapagos Dive: Cousins Rock

August 18, 2003 - Cousins Rock (Dive 3)

Max Depth: 84'
Dive Time: 47 min, 14:30
Temperature: 63°F
Nitrox PO2: 32%
Camera: D60, 16-35 2.8L, +4 diopter, Tiffen FL-D filter, custom white balance

Fantastic dive! There were black corals everywhere along the wall, which actually are yellow-green until you scrape off the top layer (which none of us did, of course. :). We spotted a large pacific seahorse, and a tiny, tiny, perfectly camouflaged frog fish. After we drifted around the corner onto the flatter, sandy area, we saw a small marbled ray and a school of nine spotted eagle rays, with ten golden rays above them.

Learning from the video folk on our forums at Wetpixel (Craig Jones and Alex Mustard, mostly), I shot without my strobes for this dive, and instead used a FL-D filter and custom white balance. I'm white balancing on a writing slate for the time being, but I think that using the sand will have better results. Unfortunately, sand is not always close at hand for us still shooters, because we can't zoom in to fill the frame with something neutral. I'm still learning. Already, the results are better than strobed photography when there is enough light, but I haven't yet determined whether the photos are as sharp (because of the gel filters).