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For my birthday, wifey got me a Light & Motion SOLA 500 Focus Light

For my 32nd birthday my wife gifted me a Light and Motion SOLA 500 SCUBA light. You really can’t go wrong with having more than enough lights underwater especially when the sun sets. Well that’s one use: in my current UW photography setup I have two YS-110a strobes that also have limited use asa real underwater flashlight. However, I was advised that keeping it on for long periods (i.e. more 5 minutes) might destroy the bulb as its main purpose is really a strobe / flash.

Enter the SOLA 500 (500 lumens of power) which is used primarily as a focus light as most things I shoot underwater are really tiny, the 60mm macro lens takes forever to focus.

Here’s a video by Scott Gietler reviewing the SOLA 500..

It took me over 50 minutes to get this shot of the (one-claw) harlequin shrimp (Anilao, Philippines). Had I used a focus light in this shoot, I would probably have 2 or 3 more decent photos as the lens wouldn’t focus on the subject when it was between two rocks. The purpose of a focus light is to make the lens focus faster on the subject.

Same story with this pair of tiger shrimp (Anilao, Philippines) — over 20 minutes and 60++ shots and this was the most decent of the lot due to the shrimp being “malikot” so the lens had a hard time catching up. This tiger shrimp is about 2cm long.

I can’t wait to test this in the water, hopefully soon. Above water, it makes a handy flashlight!

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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