Craig J. Beasley
I am a native Texan and grew up around Houston. During the late 60s and early 70s, while an undergrad at U of H, I played music professionally – keyboards and guitar – in several bands around the region, notably Saturnalia and Circus. It was at this time I did my first diving in Canyon Lake where the “instruction” amounted to “don’t go below 30 feet and don’t hold your breath”. I gave up these dicey activities when I went to grad school and eventually finished a PhD in mathematics. I joined the oil industry in 1981 as a geophysicist and have been there ever since, mostly in research but with some time on the business side. Currently, I am the Chief Geophysicist at WesternGeco and a Schlumberger Fellow. I began top-side photography in the early 70s and by the time I was travelling the world in the early 80s, I was toting around a Nikon FA with my favorite lens, the Nikkor 35-105 zoom; lots of Kodachrome to deal with now.
I began diving more seriously while I was stationed in Singapore in 1990. I got proper certifications there and became totally spoiled by learning to dive in SE Asia in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Maldives. Many of the places we enjoy diving today were off limits to foreigners or were not developed then, particularly in Indonesia, so it was quite different but still wonderful.
I began underwater photography in the mid-2000s and joined HUPS soon after. I am a little different from the “average” HUPS member (nothing average about us at all!) in that I rarely take a diving vacation. Nearly all of my diving opportunities are associated with my business travel, which has advantages and disadvantages. The good side is that the travel is usually free or very low cost (except for the diving!) but the down side is that I limit myself to 1 dive bag for gear and photo equipment. As a result, I currently shoot with a micro 4/3rds system: Olympus E-PM1 with Olympus housing, and mostly use a 60 mm Olympus macro lens (120 mm equivalent), and an Olympus wide angle zoom 9-18mm. I use a single Inon flash, but am wondering if I can get another one in the bag.
My work-related travel has given me the opportunity to try out some off-the-beaten-path dive locations like Brazil, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the harbor at Alexandria, Egypt where they think they have found the lost Library and Temple of Cleopatra. I keep hoping to find that undiscovered fabulous dive spot, but all I can say is that so far, there is a reason why these places are not on our bucket lists. My favorites are still in SE Asia, primarily Indonesia and the Philippines and I usually get there on business several times a year. My wife and son both dive and we enjoy those times when we can go together.
Recently I have become interested in Light Field Photography where you focus and choose your aperture after shooting, i.e., during processing. More on that later as I learn, but unfortunately, they don’t make underwater housings for the camera – yet!