Bow Gun at 50m, Japanese Warship, San Francisco Maru, Chuuk Lagoon
I first dived the fleet of Japanese warships in Chuuk lagoon in the early 1980's. I ran many photo trips there and even produced an ANZ Bank TV commercial featuring one of the wrecks.
After a break of over 20 years I returned in 2007 with friends and my wife Cherie as they had never dived there. I was keen to shoot deep wrecks with the improvements offered by digital photography but I was concerned the wrecks would show wear from years of diver traffic!
In fact I found the wrecks had improved due to more than 20 years of continuous coral growth and less fishing with explosives! With my wreck images I always plan to capture the history of the ship, nature's transformation and diver interaction with the wreck so I was delighted to find the subjects still pristine.
Photo Data: Location: Wreck San Francisco Maru, Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia. Genre: Extreme Wide Angle Sunlight & Strobes. Nikon D200, 10.5mm Full Frame Fisheye lens, Seacam Housing & Dual Seacam Strobes, ISO 100, Manual Exposure Mode. Exposure f4.5 @ 1/30 th second. Image by Kevin Deacon.
Photo Hints: Use of extreme wide angle lenses with an FOV (field of view) of 160 to 180 degrees is really helpful photographing wrecks. A dive buddy (model) will provide a feeling of interaction with the wreck and a sense of scale.
As many wrecks are deep, pre plan with your dive guide and your buddy. You need to determine what recognisable artefacts are on the wreck and isolate one or two as your subject and key goal for the dive. Underwater, approach these subjects in a pincer movement, do not swim through the scene as fin movement and bubbles are certain to dislodge silt, sand and rust creating more backscatter. My rule for deep dives, One Dive, One Aim. I usually have a second subject setup planned if time allows but I never cram multiple photo setups into one deep dive.