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It might be Willow. The two cats are brothers and they look alike to me. The point of this picture is that it represents a new change for me in underwater photography. Willow actually likes water. But this is not a series about cats swimming underwater. I bit the bullet and got a dive strobe. This is a considerable expense and a big step up in commitment. It is one more piece of equipment to potentially ruin with salt water. My recent trip home was so busy that I did not experiment for four days. Then I got the thing working in about ten minutes and in about 10 wasted frames. Now I needed a willing subject. Aha! The cats – and off I went. They were pretty tolerant. A bright light flashing is no fun. Nellie, my dog, invariably blinked and I would get closed eyes more than 90% of the time. Go figure.

Okay! I got this whole thing figured out. I was pretty smug. When I got back to Jeddah I experimented again. In all I shot about two hundred images and pretty much knew what to do. It’s like swimming on dry land. You need to be in the water.

The first problem I encountered was the batteries were in wrong. Somehow a pair slipped and were backwards going into the flash head. Dive one – a bust. No flash. Dive two – there was water in my housing. Once the camera is exposed to water (it was not wet) the flash stops working. No flash again. Third dive – a charm – I switched cameras and all went according to plan. Finally! Fourth dive – an orgy – we did four that day – it was a night dive!! And the flash and the camera were in sync and I got some good shots. There were no great subjects. But the thing worked as I had practiced. There is still a steep learning curve to get comfortable. But at least I am getting images now. It’s all good from here.

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