I had been looking for a cost effective way to start shooting in the water, mainly while diving and visiting family out in Hawaii. Living in Columbus, Ohio, and not shooting anything water related, I couldn’t justify a dive housing for to use once a year, especially with how often camera bodies are being refreshed. Enter the Nikonos Project.
By the time I stumbled across the blog, the wait list was too long, so I picked up a Nikonos-V and SB-105 for a good deal. One of the best gear purchases I’ve made. It’s just such a fun camera to use. There was a bit of learning curve, mostly since I haven’t loaded a film camera in close to a decade, and the zone focusing took some getting used to, but it was worth the effort. Due to lack of any focusing feedback, I returned to some of the first things I learned when I picked up a camera: “Sunny 16”, and “F/8 and be there”. I pretty much stuck the aperture at f/16 and varied the shutter (slightly) based on the somewhat wonky light meter that is in the camera. The rest of the time it was trying to remember what focus distance I had the camera at and try to quickly estimate how far I was from what I was shooting.
The first roll I shot in Hawaii (after a test roll on the mainland) was on a two tank dive. I set the camera to aperture priority, set it at f/16, and put the strobe on TTL. Worked pretty well. Like with anything, some of it worked, some of it didn’t. Took the flash out snorkeling, left it on TTL, but used it as fill based on the light meter readings. Again, hit or miss.
The camera is blast to use. Shooting blind is such a refreshing change of pace from shooting with high end rigs. It’s nice to be forced to slow down, and think much more about the image you are creating, and waiting until the film is developed to see what you came back with.
I’m so glad I stumbled across this blog and project, and thrilled to contribute. The only downside, I now think I need a housing for one of my digital cameras.