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Inside My Camera Bag | Nicolas Remy

I am Nicolas REMY, an underwater photographer based in Sydney, Australia.

I have been shooting underwater for the past fifteen years, and in 2021, I transitioned from a corporate career to dedicate myself to underwater image-making and teaching.

At the beginning of 2023, I founded The Underwater Club, the first online underwater photography school.

It offers a comprehensive program of forty self-paced eLearning modules, monthly live webinars, and support forums.

I also work as a freelance photographer, and my clients include equipment manufacturers, dive operators and specialised diving media.

As for cameras, I have been a Nikon shooter since the beginning, starting off with cropped-sensor DSLRs, and nowadays, I use a Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, which I settled with after doing extensive underwater reviews of the Nikon Z9 and Nikon Z8.

I still own and shoot a Nikon D810, and my Nikon D500 occasionally gets pulled back from the cupboard.

I also use a DJI Mini 4 Pro, to add another perspective when telling stories about the oceans and marine life. It’s not in the shot; I used it to photograph the rest of my gear!

Underwater photography is probably the most equipment-intensive photography niche out there, central to which is the housing.

It is the watertight case where you place the camera, but good housing does more than keep your camera right.

I love the ergonomics on my Nauticam NA-Z9 housing, which makes the most important camera controls available at my fingertips.

All my Nauticam NA-Z9 have been going strong for years despite all the bashing my work has given them!

Water clarity is a limiting factor in my field of work, so those good-looking telephoto lenses are of little use. I need to get as close as possible to subjects, explaining my choice of dry lenses.

I use the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 G IF-ED for macro with an FTZ-II Adapter on the Nikon Z9. I actually prefer the sharpness of the Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR, but unfortunately, it’s not as compatible with my favourite wet lenses.

I switch to the Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8 G ED macro lens for bigger macro subjects. Alas, the newer Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens changes length while focusing, which isn’t ideal when set behind a flat port in a housing.

I use the Nikon AF-S 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5 E ED for the most scenic photos, mostly at 15mm.

I wish Nikon would make a smaller, lighter, and more affordable fixed 15mm fisheye, as I rarely want to use the circular fisheye feature at 8mm.

Quite often, though, I leave the 8-15mm at home and use the Nikon Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3, as it pairs very well with my water-contact optics.

The number one reason I advocate for Nauticam products is their range of wet lenses, custom-designed to perform at their best in the water, enhancing or even transforming the optical properties of the dry lens.

Whenever I need to magnify small subjects beyond life-size, I use the Nauticam SMC-1, a wet diopter that I can take on and off underwater.

It lets me reach a 2.4 magnification ratio while still being able to auto-focus, but only on the Nikon Z9.

I love bug-eye shots and use the Nauticam EMWL system a lot. It mounts in front of my Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR.

Depending on the front optic I use, I can achieve anywhere from 60 to 160 degrees of field of view while focusing extremely close to a tiny front glass.

I really love how it enables me to create different perspectives on known subjects.

When not after small subjects, I use one of Nauticam’s wide-conversion lenses. These lenses turn a standard zoom like my Nikon Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 into an ultra-wide rectilinear optic or even a zoom-through fisheye lens.

The latter is called the Nauticam Fisheye Conversion Port (FCP-01), and it’s currently my go-to wide-angle lens, providing me with a 170-100 degree field-of-view range and great image quality.

I have authored several reviews of these wet optics, which you can read on The Underwater Club’s blog.

Unlike my topside wildlife photographer colleagues, I use strobes (underwater flashes) for most of my photography because of how fast colours disappear underwater.

My primary use of flash is to restore colours, although filling shadows and creating texture are important, too.

In this domain, I am all about getting the right tool for the photo I have in mind and being ready for the opportunities that may arise during the dive.

For wide-angle photography, my main strobes are two Retra Flash Pros, which I swap for two Ikelite DS230 Strobes when I need fast recycle time.

For macro-dedicated dives, I also use the Backscatter Mini-Flash-1, and I often carry light modifiers with me, such as the Retra LSD Snoot, Backscatter OS-1 Snoot, and coloured filters.

I consider my dive gear an extension of my photography equipment. It plays a key role in how comfortable I can get during long dives so that I can focus on the subject approach and photographic technique.

This guest post would be too long if I mentioned every piece of kit that matters, so I’ll just call out three.

Firstly, dive rebreathers, which are more silent than traditional scuba gear, let me get closer to marine life. Also, I can do longer dives with my rebreathers: I routinely stay three to four hours underwater in one go.

The Mares Horizon SCR is my go-to rebreather for travel and a growing part of my diving at home. For deeper dives or with longer decompression obligations, I use a rEvo CCR.

Second, picking the right mask is essential for an underwater photographer. After trying many options from five different brands, I settled on the Mares X-Vision Ultra Liquidskin.

The bi-silicone material is so flexible I don’t experience leaks anymore, and the field-of-vision is the largest I’ve ever used, which is important to spot wildlife and keep an eye on your dive buddies.

Third is safety. Discarded fishing lines and old fish nets can cause safety hazards if I become entangled, so I always carry the Mares hand-line cutter with me.

Even with one hand stuck, I can slice fishing lines single-handed using the ceramic blade, and the titanium blade comes in handy if I happen to see thicker net mesh.

So far, I have only used it to free distressed marine life from abandoned fishing gear.

My photographs have won over forty international awards and are regularly published in print and digital media. I serve as an ambassador for Nauticam and Mares and love what I do.

All my photography courses and masterclasses are available at The Underwater Club; please visit.

Website | Instagram | The Underwater Club

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