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Recently, I decided to visit Zanzibar and to take a diving trip around to discover the surroundingsea. Geographically, this area actually belongs to the Western basin of the mighty Indian-Ocean but still, it is pretty close to the main land of Africa near Tansania. I picked two distinctive areas to explore, one in North, around Nungwi and Mnemba-atoll and the other in South, around Menai Bay. Since I did not have any personal experience about what sort of equipment would be appropriate, I prepared a standard M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-5.6 EZ lens, an M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO and one INON UCL-165M67 close-up lens with two strobes on medium long arms.
Csaba Sellei • OM-D EM-1 • M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-5.6 • PT-EP11 • Sea&Sea YS-01
So, with the necessary excitement I joined the dive boats and jumped into the water at several dive sites around the locally famous Wattabomi and Kichuani in Mnemba-atoll. In fact, the water conditions were surprisingly variable which sometimes resulted in considerably great changes in visibility. Therefore, I had to carefully select the most suitable equipment for the actual water and visibility conditions. Obviously, this doesn’t apply for the night dive where the visibility does not play such a significant role and you have to pack a special equipment anyway.
Also, in the South I could manage to dive around some unspoiled dive spots. I found the typical nice and warm water, but sometimes the visibility was not that great. However, these dive spots are not considered to be some of the most spectacular dive spots in the world and they are remarkable due to their untouched rich aquatic life and healthy coral gardens. For passionate divers who are keen to learn, practice and master underwater photography, this area is most probably one of the best playgrounds. The dives are usually not too deep and you can vary your settings form the well illuminated rich colors in shallow water to the more blueish deeper parts. The latter one is really good for mastering the strobe position setting for close-focus wide-angle frame.
OM-D EM-1 • M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO • PT-EP11 • Sea&Sea YS-01
Fortunately, the sea around that area is very good to underwater photographers and also provides calm waters for macro shots. I only experienced light currents so that I could hunt for the tiny critters. With good buoyancy and trim you can make a nice approach within the focus distance.
For close-ups my general set up was the M.Zuiko 12-50mm with INON UCL-165M67 on a flip adapter. With this I could manage to carry a very flexible configuration in one single dive which allowed me to apply a close working distance of about 5 cm. So, in total I was hugely impressed by the beauty of that diving area – see for yourself!
Author and Photographer: Csaba Sellei