An absolutely last minute trip, there was about a 30 hour window from the booking of my flight to the check-in at LAX. With nothing particular planned for subjects and shots, I jumped on every available blackwater dive and worked on some more creative lighting type of shots.

Of course, Crystal Blue was fantastic, even better than last time; not that there was anything lacking from my first trip there a few years ago. They have continually refined the resort adding a nice little bar for that final 24 hour stretch of “I’m can’t dive anymore so it’s time to make use of this happy hour” and a really nice patio deck that I spent a whole 5 minutes on flying my drone before breakfast.

For the diving, it was all about the blackwater! I think I squeezed in 5 nights with two of those being double dips. Blackwater dives are addicting. It is a roller coaster experience, what starts out as 50 minutes of watching minute particles drift by in the water column can end with 10 minutes of absolute madness chasing a paper nautilus from about 15 ft down to 130 ft, only to have it turn an 180 and rocket to the surface.

Madness. Not for the feint of heart. Luckily, I was fortunate to see at least (on average) a nautilus per dive so when I missed the first two encounters due to a mix of adrenaline/excitement and just a handful of seconds to shoot them, I was ready on the third encounter. Camera pre-focused, focus light set, torch in hand, plenty of NDL left, well over 34 of my tank and JACKPOT!!! Good size female nautilus WITH a jellyfish coming in hot!

Swimming side ways firing away, adjusting strobes, reviewing images, checking around me to see where the down line was, if anyone else was close enough to shoot it, what’s my depth? Still good on air? Have I lost the line yet? Oh shit there’s Mike, where’d he come from? Hahah. Pure madness.

Of course, it has been way too long since I last frogfish so they were great too! And flamboyant cuttlefish! A good trip!

Creative lighting using the Kraken Sports Hydra 5K with a snoot on the subject.