Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trail mix: Outdoors bits and pieces

Snorkelers and divers are forever sharing their stories of fantastic underwater encounters with each other and their land-based audiences. Sometimes, words just can't do the scenes justice. So as more divers seek to carry these memories in ways other than in their heads, it's no wonder improvements in underwater cameras have been coming rapidly in this digital age.

Dive shop owner and instructor Bill Hardman of Aquatic Obsessions in St. Petersburg says point-and-shoot cameras ($15 disposables to $50 reusables) are a fine way to start for those who aren't sure they want to delve deeper in underwater photography. These cameras take about 24 shots, use film and usually are suitable to a depth of about 15 feet, at which point the color red disappears. Some are good enough to go to 32 feet, but the photo quality usually plummets. Another con, Hardman points out, is you can't tell how good a photo is until you develop the film.

Once you make the decision to pursue the hobby further, digital is the way to go. The photo quality and instant feedback makes the experience quite rewarding.

Though water is what the experience is all about, water is the enemy of your camera. So remember Hardman's mantra: "It's not if it's going to get wet, it's when."

Once you come to terms with that and jump in, be prepared to spend around $300 to $500 on a digital camera with a high-quality, water-tight customized housing. Hardman says camera manufacturers Sea and Sea, SeaLife and Bonica produce excellent cameras that have a good track record. Any dive shop that sells cameras can handle all the technical questions.

Though some manufacturers attempt to make after-market universal housings that might fit a digital camera you already own, Hardman advises against it. You don't want to miss a picture because the housing buttons would not operate your camera efficiently.

Starter digital camera

Sea and Sea DX-860G

Cost: $500

Depth: Good to 150 feet

Tech stuff: 8 megapixel; built-in memory of 32 megabytes; takes a multimedia SD card; 2.5-inch LCD viewfinder; 35mm zoom lens range is 35-105mm; optical zoom 3x; internal and external flash with multiple settings; ISO settings of auto, 100, 200, 400; rechargeable Li-Ion battery; weighs 0.26 pounds.

List of five

Cocoa Beach's Matt Keane, 23, was recently recognized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for paddling the entire Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail, all 1,600 miles of it. He e-mailed his five favorite spots:

Most remote: The 150-mile section also called the Big Bend Paddling Trail

Most wild: Florida Everglades

Best night paddle: Downtown Las Olas area in Fort Lauderdale, "where you can paddle right past the city nightlife."

Best place for meeting other paddlers: Tampa/St. Petersburg. "While I was paddling the new trail, I had the opportunity to meet with local paddling clubs," Keane wrote. "Tampa Bay won by sheer numbers of members. I believe there were around 250 members in the sea kayakers club."

Best place for an otherworldly encounter: Mosquito Lagoon (near Titusville), where you can see a NASA shuttle launch and the bioluminescence (tiny illuminated creatures that swirl just beneath the surface) in the water.

Outdoors poll

Last month: Which survival show is your favorite? Looks like the former member of the British Special Forces doesn't hold a camera to the guy who goes it alone:

Les Stroud's Survivorman75 percent

Bear Grylls' Man vs. Wild25 percent

(97 votes)

New poll question: You've heard of the Seven Wonders of the World. Which of these local treasures should top a Wonders of Tampa Bay list? Vote at blogs.tampabay.com/outdoors

• Caladesi Island

• Fort De Soto

• Honeymoon Island

• Hillsborough River State Park

• Egmont Key

• Anclote Key

• Weedon Island

• Other (your pick in comments section)

People | Tom Mahoney

What I do: President of Bay Area Bassmasters since it started eight years ago. Started with six guys, now has 100 members, making it the second-largest BASS Federation Nation club in the world behind Lakeland.

Age: 50. Resides: Land O'Lakes

Occupation: Owner of T.A. Mahoney, a marine supply company in Tampa

Largest bass caught: "I put it back, but by the math (applying formula after measuring length and girth), it comes out to 123/4 pounds. Caught it on Lake Istokpoga near Sebring two years ago."

Best advice for a newbie: "Get in a bass club and fish with people who have been doing it and pay real close attention. There's so many little things to know. It's the right color, the right twitch, more than it's just using the right bait."

Early outdoors memories: Going to the family cabin near Lutz in the summer as a kid learning to swim, turtle hunting and waterskiing.

Favorite lakes: 1. Lake Istokpoga, 2. Lake Kissimmee, 3. Lake Tarpon, 4. Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama, 5. Rodman Reservoir outside Palatka.

Pet peeve: "The lack of respect other boaters give fisherman. Especially jetskis that run between me and the bank I'm fishing."

WEB SITE OF THE MONTH

www.ausfish.com.au/castnet

There are numerous ways to throw a cast net. This Australian site has videos demonstrating two techniques. Plus, the accents are pretty cool, mate.

Use your skills

As part of the Florida Skin Divers Association's 2009 Southern Open Championships, there is an underwater photography contest. Two of last year's photo contest winners were first-timers at underwater picture-taking. Registration for this year's event is June 5, with the deadline for photos to be turned in June 18.

trailmix

{outdoors-related bits and bites}

Trail mix: Outdoors bits and pieces 02/05/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 6, 2009 11:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?

    College

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  2. NFL Week 7: What we learned

    Bucs

    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  3. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  4. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.