Three months have passed since Paralenz and Blue O Two got together for a liveaboard trip on the Red Sea. On that trip, a boat filled with divers had the opportunity to test a Paralenz Dive Camera, and they had a blast. More than that, a video competition was held to find out the best clip from the trip.
The winner, Florence, was kind enough to write this article about her experience on the liveaboard using a Paralenz Dive Camera and to showcase the small diving set she won as a result of the competition.
Blue 02 featuring Paralenz Liveaboard August 2019
In August 2018, my boyfriend Tom and I went on our second liveaboard holiday to the Red Sea. At only about 50 dives each, we are pretty new to this whole diving thing. But we loved our last live-aboard and decided that fitting in four dives a day was the perfect way to try and clock up those hours underwater (and to try and solve my buoyancy foibles).
We were super excited to go and our excitement was only compounded when we got on to the boat to find that we were being joined by Jacob and Martin from Paralenz for the week, along with Crowley from Dive Mag and Kip- a photographer who works for the Sylvia Earle Foundation. I have to admit, we had never heard of a Paralenz. But we had definitely heard of Dive Magazine and are both huge fans of Sylvia Earle, so this was definitely cool.
Getting to know Paralenz
We had a bit of an intro chat from Martin and Jacob and then were given the camera to try out on our first dive. I have never been a fan of dive cameras. I think everyone can sympathize with the irritation of trying to look at something interesting to be interrupted by some huge lens and flashing lights looming into your vision and scaring away whatever you were trying to look at.
Also, I find that when you are diving you want to be able to really look around. Whereas people with cameras always seem to just stare at their screen and consequently miss the dolphins swimming past. Therefore, I wasn’t particularly interested in diving with a camera. My main worry was whether we had to pay if we accidentally dropped one.
This all changed on our first dive. Once I had reassured myself I wasn’t going to drop it, the Paralenz fitted supernaturally in my hand- to the point where I sort of forgot that I was holding it. As a complete technophobe, it was exceptionally simple to just point and click. Or click and hold for a video, with no awkward zooming or light settings.
I think that because there is no screen to look through you kind of forget it is there. You just point and click rather than worrying about having to stay very still and zoom in. As someone who definitely dives for brain memories rather than photo memories, but whose mum really, really likes holiday pictures, the Paralenz was a very easy way to take pictures throughout the dive without really thinking about it.
Enjoying the results
Once we got back to the surface, the air of competition was rife. Martin and Jacob had announced that there was going to be a competition and there was a lot of “friendly” banter around who had got the best shots. Tom and I used to take a GoPro on our dives, and I could not believe the difference.
Rather than having to upload to a computer (not very “lounging on a dive boat with a beer-friendly”), it took seconds to connect the Paralenz to a phone and start looking at the photos. No more green, fish-eyed photos. These looked super professional! Well, where I hadn’t got overexcited and moved the camera too fast. And they actually conveyed how blue and lovely the reef looked.
I took the video that won our competition on my first dive with the Paralenz when we were exploring through the reef. The Paralenz captured the light through the structures beautifully. One advantage of being able to upload straight to phone is that we could then play around cutting the videos, zooming in on photos and sharing them with friends and family.
I just don’t care enough about photos to ever bother sitting behind a computer editing or uploading to social media. Let’s face it, who has Instagram on their laptop? But being able to do this straight away on a phone meant that I actually shared my holiday photos with other people for the first time in years.
An exciting trip
I think Martin and Jacob meant to only let us use the cameras for the first few dives. But once they had given them out there was no way they were getting them back until the end of the holiday. The sense of competition was rife- especially once Kip had given us a talk on a photo and video composition. Whilst his photos of pigs swimming in the Caribbean or penguins in the Arctic were OK. But you should see my Red Sea Anthias!
We also witnessed first-hand the use of a Paralenz as a life-saving device. An unsuspecting Gary very memorably almost lost a fin (and possibly leg) to an Oceanic nibble. Luckily Jacob was on hand to use the Paralenz as a PADI certified system of an audible alarm. The Paralenz survived being banged very vigorously against his tank and Gary kept his limbs.
We had a spectacular week of diving. We had amazing conditions. An exceptionally fun crew of divers on our boat and we were so lucky to have the very awesome Paralenz team there. Of all the marine life I saw that week, nothing can beat Jacob dancing to Egyptian rap music.
New Paralenz fans
Tom and I have come back Paralenz converts and cannot wait to take it on our next dive! I couldn’t believe it when I heard I had won the competition. As a newish diver, it seems very frivolous to buy my own camera. But to be given one along with a heap of extra kit has made my year.
I was hoping to get some photos to show us diving in the UK. But it turns out even the Paralenz can’t make Ellerton Lake in November look blue…
Thank you so much to the Paralenz crew for firstly giving me such an awesome prize. But mostly for making our holiday the most memorable yet. We had heaps of fun and can’t wait to go diving with you guys sometime in the future! Denmark April 2019??
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