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Weather Islands - The Swedish dive mecca - part I

Weather Islands is a small archipelago on the Swedish west coast. It’s ranked as one of the most important marine areas in Sweden and has been a nature reserve and Nature-2000 area since 2011.

The archipelago is truly beautiful with small granite islands and islets with a lot of birdlife such as shags, skuas and eiders. Moreover, great numbers of harbour seals can be found at this beautiful place. I had the pleasure to visit this area and enjoy its perfect location as an underwater photography site. In this article I will take you with me to get to know more about the place and the equipment I have used.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm 1:4.0 IS PRO • MC-14 • 1/800 • ISO 250

A telephoto lens is great to bring onboard the ship when we see seals sunbathing on the rocks. With its low weight and palm size the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm 1:4.0 IS PRO was a great lens for this job which could easily be handheld.
On Weather Islands it’s all about the ocean and therefore, diving is the best way to explore the nature. The dive operator Dyk-Leif is specialized in Weather Islands and organizes daily trips to the Swedish diving mecca during the season with divers from the whole northern Europe and I joined one of their trips.

On Weather Islands, it’s cold water diving during the whole season.The water temperature ranges from 4 degrees in early spring up to 20 degrees during the summer. In this cold elmard green water we found several species of nudibranches, some with colorful patterns and some of them camouflaged. During spring they occur in huge numbers. The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro comes in handy during this period, because it’s perfectly suited for close-up portraits of nudibranches.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 MACRO
• PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • UFL-3

In the archipelago there are countless of diving spots, and they are all unique. We went diving in variating underwater landscapes, often rock slope but also walls and sea shell bottoms and everywhere we found new photo subjects. On the rock walls we found corals, such as Dead man’s fingers - a leather coral with yellow outgrowth that looks like fingers.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm 1:1.8
• PT-EP14 • PPO-EP02 • UFL-3

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 8mm 1:1.8 Fisheye PRO is also a must for all underwater photographers, the extreme minimum focus distance and the small glass dome makes it easy to take close up wide angle photos such as the photo above.

After a great dive we had lunch on one of the islands. Only one island is populated, the rest of the archipelago is pure wilderness. Dyk-Leif always offers delicious thai food on the menu, a tradition since the start of the company. After lunch and some resting/sunbathing it was time for the second dive.

In rock cracks and underneath stones we went looking for animals with our dive torch. We saw large crabs, squad lobsters and lobster with their huge claws, often blackish coloration but sometime a bluish one.

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 30mm 1:3.5 Macro
• PT-EP14 • PPO-EP03 • UFL-3

This large lobster was taken with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 30mm 1:3.5 Macro , a lens that has become one of my favorit underwater lenses. It’s a very sharp lens and the short focal length makes it perfect for larger motives such as fish or lobsters. You can easily shoot on short distance and minimize murky water.

After two great dives on Weather Islands the adventures ended for the day and we set course home to Hamburgsund on the mainland.

Stay tuned for more of my diving experiences on this blog. there is more to see beneath the water of Sweden!

Niklas Nilsson • OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm 1:2.8 PRO • 1/200 • ISO 200