Home Planet Blue No Bubbles Photography

No Bubbles Photography

By: Kimmo Hagman

The weather conditions couldn't have been better for this early morning dive. The south Red Sea safari was starting to near its end and both crew and guests were completely satisfied. On this peaceful morning with no wind, there were no other boats to be seen.   

After everyone had geared up and the guide had checked the site, he informed us that the current was not strong and the visibility was extremely clear. Possibilities to see big fish were great. This caused some excitement among the group. As we divers know, the dream for many of us is to get as close as possible to sharks. This dream seems even bigger for all divers interested in underwater photography. Unfortunately most sharks these days seem to avoid humans, for a lot of understandable reasons.
The quiet troop of divers jumped in and after a final all clear, descended into the blue. True, the visibility was fabulous. A few minutes into the dive, the first sharks appeared - during this particular one-week safari, we saw eight different species of sharks, among them lots of Hammerheads, Oceanic White Tips and even a Tiger Shark.

The Red Sea is famous for its huge variety of marine life, and in my opinion, the summer time is the best time to see most fish, especially in the southern part of the Red Sea. As I was diving with my rebreather (Buddy Inspiration), it was possible for me to get very close to the sharks, and the photographs I managed to take were absolutely fabulous.

The rebreather gave me a stealth mode, so sneaking up close to the sharks with my cameras was no problem.

For those of you readers who don't know about rebreathers: these are self-contained breathing apparatus for use underwater which reuse at least a part of each breath.

There are two types of rebreathers - semi closed and fully closed units (as opposed to open Scuba units), and the one I use is a fully closed one. This closed circuit basically reuses the gas, removing CO2 with a chemical. The net result gives the diver a lot of advantages with extended dive times, relatively small amounts of gear and quiet dives as there are little or no bubbles produced.

Diving with a rebreather is not so common - yet, but could very possibly be the evolution of diving. The initial, and still predominant use of rebreathers is in the military, but more and more rebreathers have made their way into recreational diving in the very recent past. It is though essential to remember that rebreathers require a substantial commitment in time, money and knowledge.

Doing a "reabreather course" puts you as a diver back to basics again; you'll suddenly find yourself doing confined water sessions in a pool with an instructor.

"I felt like a total beginner, no control of my buoyancy at all", says one happy rebreather diver.

This is true - many experienced divers control their buoyancy by breathing, but as the air circulates in the system, you cannot use this means of buoyancy control when diving with a rebreather. After you are certified, you are allowed to purchase your own unit - which is not possible before the certification - although there might be a waiting line of several months.

But once all this is done, your worries about "running out of air" are minimilized. Since you can control your own mix of gases underwater, you can be sure to be an even safer diver. When it comes to tech diving and you need a lot more bottom gas, the advantages come through even more, as you don't need as much bulky equipment when diving with a rebreather.

You will have excellent opportunities to photograph or to film, not only closer to the big fish, but also inside caves and wrecks (assuming you have the proper training for penetrating these), as there will be no bubbles to interfere, nor to be collected inside the enclosed space. Extended dive times, extended depths, all of this will be within your reach. Keep in mind though, that most recreational divers choose rebreathers for the sake of longer dive times, not extended depths.

These longer dive times give underwater photographers especially and videographers the possibility to concentrate more on the shooting, instead of monitoring your pressure gauge every few minutes.
But remember that at the end of the day, the primary difference between life and death is knowledge, and this applies to all kinds of diving. Rebreathers are not for the casual user. As for myself, I am very satisfied with my Buddy Inspiration and I feel that I have many years of long dives to come, with many fantastic photos still to take.

 

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Just imagine…living for seven, ten or fourteen days on a floating hotel, pampered and spoiled, in air-conditioned cabins with en-suite bathrooms
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John Kean is author of 'SS Thistlegorm, The True Story of the Red Sea's Greatest Ship Wreck'. He is also a board member of Sharm El Sheikh's SSDM
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Few are the people who know that regardless of what type they are, shells serve the same purpose all around the world: they clean out impurities and
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