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Special Demo Days Trip Report
May 31 - June 7, 2008 ......... Sunset House, Grand Cayman
Story & Photos by Jean Brigham (unless otherwise noted)
Dark skies and rain welcomed us at the Owen Roberts airport in Grand Cayman earlier this month. Still, it felt good to descend the flight stairs and head towards immigration. We were all eager to get to Sunset House and start setting up for the first Ikelite Demo Days event. Five massive boxes of Ikelite gear had arrived ahead of us and twenty-four guests were soon to be on their way.
Walking into Sunset House is like coming home for us. The Ikelite group was highly anticipated and warmly welcomed as usual. After a casual introductory gathering at My Bar it was obvious that this group was ready for a great week. Most brought Ikelite systems along with an interest in trying out some new gear. Everyone was ready to learn as much as they could about underwater photography.
The guys and gal at Sunset Divers know how to make the best of things rain or shine. They keep smiles on their faces even when heading out to dive in a tropical downpour. Thanks to Mike B., Rob, Jackie, Tom, Scott, Adam, Andy, Freddy, Jeff, and of course Mike P. for taking expert care of us all week long. We were especially lucky to dive with Jackie one last time before she moves on from Sunset next month--good luck to her! She'll be sorely missed.
The clouds did eventually part and we set out towards the northwest point each morning on two full boats. Camera tables were covered up with Ikelite digital still, digital SLR, and video housings. We thoroughly enjoyed diving many of the best sites on the West End, including infamous dives like Trinity Caves, Big Tunnels, Orange Canyon, and Eden Rock. Our two boats took turns on the North Wall as well complete with stops at Stingray City on the way back into the harbor. When the sun shows Stingray City is converted into a virtual underwater photo studio. I enjoy this dive no matter how many times I've done it and it's always a big hit with divers that are new to Cayman.
Our Bob Stubbs conducted some great product seminars during the week and ran himself ragged making sure everyone's shooting needs were completely fulfilled. Gale Livers' seminar on Photoshop techniques offered some invaluable tips for making every photo look its best. The group shared photos in the evenings during slideshows and photo critique sessions.
When shooting underwater video wider is definitely better. All of the housings we brought were outfitted with either the external Ikelite W-20 Lens, the internal Raynox hi-def lens and optional port. We also did some testing on a new premium lens specially designed for underwater use of high-definition camcorders. Look for more information on this in the near future. Read here about wide-angle conversion lens options or refer to our Sizes and Features Chart for specific information on housing compatibility.
The new Nikon Coolpix L18 Package was a huge hit for size, price, and overall smart looks. This will be one of the first camera models to be offered in our new ULTRAcompact Digital Still Housing and it works like a charm. We don't care to dive to 200 feet, but our good friends Freddy and Tom do. This durable little housing kept up with them the whole way no problem. Look for details of this package to be announced sometime in July.
Click Here to check out the Demo Days '08 Album. The album includes some spectacular underwater photos from many of this year's attendees.
We're currently looking at the calendar to plan the next Ikelite event. There are a lot of great ideas floating around and we're all eager to make the next trip even bigger and better! Stay tuned for details to be posted as soon as we have them. We hope to see you underwater soon...............
Special thanks again to the staff of Sunset House, Sunset Divers and of course My Bar! Don't let your camera gear (or your photo skills) get dusty... The folks at Sunset House are looking forward to your visit!
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