Black Jack B-17 Bomber

I’m not big on wrecks. I know a lot of people are, including many of my friends, but I’m already obsessed with marine life, and I figure one obsession is more than enough.

On the final of the three legs of this adventure however, I had to give in (sigh), and we visited a couple of wrecks, including this well-known site at Cape Vogel, where a B-17 bomber known as Black Jack sits at 40 metres.

Black Jack B-17 bomber wreck at 40 metres in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
Black Jack B-17 bomber wreck at 40 metres.
Bob Halstead above, Craig Dewit near the prop, Julian Cohen at the nose

Given the depth, we didn’t have much time. The visibility didn’t look all that great, so I decided to skip the strobes and just go with high ISO. Before jumping in, I took a guess and set the ISO at 2500, with f8 aperture and 1/100 shutter...which happened to work out perfectly.

The main advantage of doing this is that I didn’t have to worry about backscatter or lighting such an inherently dark scene. Also, with limited time at depth and the mind-numbing effects of narcosis, I didn’t need to worry about strobe settings, only camera settings. Had I guessed incorrectly about the exposure, it would have just required a tiny bit of fiddling to figure out what would work.

The primary disadvantage is added grain/ noise. But DSLR sensors are good enough these days that the results are perfectly acceptable to me under certain this one.

Finally, while the original files look decent in colour, I decided to convert these two to sepia tone to imbue the images with a vintage mood I felt appropriate for the subject.

Blackjack B-17 bomber wreck at Cape Vogel
Julian taking a photo of the Black Jack B-17 wreck