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Monday, June 1, 2009

Scuba diving Stoney Cove

The weekend was blisteringly hot so what better time to dress up in a thick undersuit, drysuit, hood and gloves and go scuba diving.

Alison wasn't enamoured with the thought of two temperature extremes - baking it's bits off on the surface and freezing the cobblers off beneath - but I convinced her Stoney Cove, in Leicestershire, was a wonderful place to spend a warm weekend and she finally relented.

Thankfully she had a great time.


Stoney is perhaps the most popular of inland dive sites in the UK. There's plenty to see, you can get a bit of depth and the above water facilities are pretty good.

We arrived later than planned which meant all the car parks were full. Not such a bad thing as we could park much closer on the site road.

The walk may have been a bit much in the hot temperatures but once in the water (a less than respectable 11C) we were glad of the thermal protection.

As it was Alison's first trip to Stoney we kept it simple with a tour of the popular sunken sites; the Stanegarth wreck, Wessex helicopter, Viscount fuselage, bus and Nautilus sub.

Alison on the Stanegarth

Alison on the Stanegarth

The reason for writing though was I finally managed to get her to understand the benefits of a wide-angle lens for my U/W camera.

My Canon G9 in its Canon housing takes fantastic images but has no option to add a wide-angle lens (thanks Canon). if I wanted one I'd have to go for the big and bulky Ikelite housing.

But with prices staying high because of the exchange rate that's not a possibility.

Having spoken with Adam at Cameras Underwater in London, he suggested the next option was to keep the G9 for close-up work and go for something like the new IXUS 980 with a wide angle conversion as my next set up.

The G9 gives some manual options missing from other compacts allowing me greater control and is my next step up before going full digital SLR, hence why I'm thinking of the IXUS 980. A full set up with strobes will cost around £1,100.

"Not another camera!" was the stock answer from Alison. But having dived Stoney and looked at the images on their website compared to mine, she can now understand what I've been talking about all this time.

Take my shot of the Viscount (a quick snap for memory rather than anything set up) and the professional's shot on the Stoney website.
The wide-angle will allow me to get closer without losing the whole subject either through cropping or because of the gloom. After a few years of point-and-shoot snap-happyness, I want to do something more creative with my U/W photography.



Then there is the pic above of Alison taken from the wheelhouse of the Stanegarth. I had another image in my head but my current set up wouldn't do it.
What the trip did do was also give me some other photo ideas for Stoney. So I'm going to have to pick a quiet weekday when the viz is no so churned up and go and have a play. If I can get anything like the professional's image below of the bus then I'll be happy.


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