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NA-D850 in Galapagos | Richard Smith

Nauticam Ambassador Richard Smith takes us to the unique and challenging Galapagos Islands with his NA-D850.  With a great variety of shooting conditions and range of subjects, the Galapagos is the perfect showcase for the versatility of a Nauticam system.

This pregnant eagle ray came unexpectedly close, but luckily I was able to feel the easy-glide zoom lever and easily zoom out without having to move and scare her.

I shoot a lot of macro and one of the most important features for me when considering the D850, was its stunning autofocus. Particularly when shooting behavior, or in low light conditions, I rely heavily on a great autofocus.

The surge in the shallow waters where the marine iguanas were feeding was terrible, but the accessibility and intuitiveness of the housing’s controls made getting the shot that much easier. Luckily the reptiles had strong claws to cling on and were unaffected by the swell, so at least the subject stayed still.

Conditions at Darwin’s Arch weren’t easy, so I was pleased to be using a small 180 mm wide-angle dome port. Many of the other divers weren’t able to negotiate the intense surge and strong currents with the larger dome set ups, but I was a little more streamlined.

Clearly my camera is much faster than my strobes, and my strobes didn’t fire here; however, I was pleased to see what the D850 can produce using just ambient light.

I wouldn’t be without my Nauticam 180˚ Straight Viewfinder. I think it makes a real difference in getting the focus spot on. I shot this endemic Galapagos barnacle blenny in rather a lot of surge, so the viewfinder’s magnification helped me to capture the shot in the small windows of opportunity that I was afforded.

No photographer worth their salt can visit the Galapagos islands without shooting the extraordinary red-lipped batfish! With my previous setup, I was constantly having issues with an unidentifiable leak, but with the new Nauticam I relied on the vacuum check and leak detection system and could focus on capturing the shot I wanted.

Nauticam has dragged me into the 21st Century, ditching my electrical for optical flash firing with my INON strobes. The Nauticam integrated LED flash firing system is as fast as the camera, so there was no reason not to use it. It worked perfectly shooting this barnacle bill blenny.

To find out more about Richard and see more of his work head over to his Ambassador Page.