Night diving has to be one the most unique and awe inspiring things a human can experience. The cliche “It’s another world down there” is so for good reason. But what if there was a subsea world invisible to the human eye?
Light & Motion have continued to innovate underwater lighting over the past few of years. Their product line has featured some fantastic, ergonomic lighting set ups for recreational, tech and video/photo divers. But their Sola Nightsea may well be their most interesting product to date.
The Nightsea is similar to others in the Sola series; small, lightweight and bright as hell. What makes this unit particularly special is that it emits a blue light. This special blue light acts as a fluorescent ‘excitor’, with many organisms absorbing and re-emitting the light as a visible glow. In a nutshell, the Sola Nightsea makes certain marine life species glow in a way that looks like they’re from a Tron movie. Pretty cool huh?!
Some organisms produce a protein that fluoresces when exposed to blue wavelengths of light. Depending on the specific protein the organism produces, the wavelength reaction can be seen as different glowing colours; red, green, orange, yellow and blue.
When diving with the Sola Nightsea you need two parts to your set up. Firstly the Nightsea itself, supplied on a comfy hand strap, but with an optional pistol grip or ball mount for video and photography. Secondly you need a Nightsea Mask Filter (right). This is a special piece of translucent yellow plastic that slides over the top of your existing dive mask. By filtering out unwanted light it allows you to see the organisms fluoresce, and transport you to a world you’ve not yet seen. A large square filter is also available for your camera and video devices, allowing you to capture some unique and stunning images or video as seen above .
An easy way to think of it, if a little crude, is that of a black light, the kind you’ll find in a cheesy 90’s nightclub, or an episode of CSI. Those black lights would make anyone wearing a white shirt glow as if they were radioactive. A similar effect can happen on your night dive using the Nightsea. The fun is learning what species fluoresce and what doesn’t, some will surprise you!
Most fish seem to be non fluorescent, whilst anemones go crazy and glow like little they’re having a little illegal dance party. Ocoto’s and the occasional crab can also be worthy of some attention as can small critters easily ignored in daylight.
Your dive site will play a huge part of you enjoyment of this light, what you may consider a dull site during the daytime, may explode with fluorescent life after sun down. Here in Vancouver, British Columbia, there isn’t a lot of marine life that fluoresces, go further north for a few hours and Port Hardy will offer a different story that makes Avatar looks monochromatic. Pack the small light in your flight bag and your next vacation to the tropics will be one to truly remember.
The light, as with the other Sola models, has wet contacts, making charging super easy. No O-rings to watch out for, no housings to get flooded. Simply plug into the charger once you’re out of the water and you’ll be reaching full charge in little over two hours.
Runtime is good given the high power output of the Nightsea, 110 – 440 minutes depending on which of the three power settings you choose.
The real deal clincher here though is the inclusion of a phosphor filter, a clever little snap on filter that converts the bright blue light to standard white light you can use throughout your dive.
The Nightsea is a cool piece of gear. It’s a luxury item for sure, but one that can really help divers explore the underwater realm in a way they have never experienced before. It will have you looking at species you may never have noticed, it will get you diving at 2 in the morning and it will give your underwater videos and photos a unique perspective that will surely grab peoples attention. At the very least it will have you recreating scenes from CSI, just don’t use it inside a hotel room.
For more information visit: www.lightandmotion.com
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