Review of Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific Photo

Review of Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific

A pre-publication review of the latest in the Reef Identification series that focuses on the weird, wonderful and just plain unknown inhabitants of the reefs in a vast area from Tahiti to Thailand. Many photographers will be already familiar with this series, and indeed, the Reef fish identification companion volume to this book has been around for some time. In many ways the 7-year gap between the two publications illustrates much of what this new book is about.

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An interview with Tony Wu Photo

An interview with Tony Wu

Tony Wu has just been awarded first place in the prestigious 2010 Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. His image, of four sperm whales taken in Dominica, is on display in the Natural History Museum, London. For many, this represents the pinnacle of recognition, and he kindly agreed to an exclusive interview about the award and his photographic philosophy.

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RED announces HDRx and Magic Motion Photo

RED announces HDRx and Magic Motion

RED has announced the release of a potentially revolutionary way to increase the tonal range available. A new High Dynamic Range function, called “HDRx”, gives the camera operator the ability to “dial-in” expanded dynamic range capability at the time of image capture. This should give up to six more stops of latitude in addition to the 12 or so stops native to their sensors. This expanded range will now be standard on Red cameras and available to all Epic and Scarlet customers.

HD Magazine asks whether this could “be the end of blown out highlights?” Traditional film gave 15 or 16 stops, and with this new feature, RED cameras will have up to 18 stops of latitude, with “on-the-fly” adjustment. In another development, RED has also announced its “Magic Motion” post processing feature for its HDRx footage that allows the post/editor to add custom motion blur characteristics and apply them to each HDRx clip independently.

The HDR approach basically takes two exposures and combines them into one image. The brighter exposure lifts up the dark areas of the image while the darker exposure protects the bright areas from overexposing and turning pure white. For motion, this presents a fundamental problem as the different exposure times of the same moving subject will produce two different blurs, and they will not match each other precisely. This is because the shutter is open longer during the brighter frame and shorter during the darker frame. To deal with this, RED has found a way to interpret the motion blur characteristics from each of the two frames, and then blend them together with user-control.

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Coral bleaching: Worst since 1998 Photo

Coral bleaching: Worst since 1998

UnderwaterTimes.com reports that scientists have identified the bleaching event that occurred this year in the “coral triangle” as certainly being the worst since 1998, and may yet prove to be the worst such event known to science. Sea temperatures rose by as much as 4 degrees over the normal average in the area, geographically from the Seychelles in the west to Sulawesi and the Philippines in the east and include reefs in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many sites in western and eastern Indonesia. Dr Andrew Baird, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook Universities, commented:

“This means coral cover in the region could drop from an average of 50% to around 10%, and the spatial scale of the event could mean it will take years to recover, striking at local fishing and regional tourism industries.”

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INON bug-eye lens produces cover image for DIVE Magazine Photo

INON bug-eye lens produces cover image for DIVE Magazine

Photographer Douglas Seifert has landed what might possibly be the first cover image taken with the INON Underwater Micro Semi-Fisheye Relay Lens UFL-MR130 EFS60 (commonly known as the “insect-eye” or “bug-eye,” although Douglas always refers to it as the “WAM,” for wide-angle macro). DIVE Magazine’s November 2010 cover is a shot of a clownfish in an anemone, which was taken with the unusual lens.

Douglas has a history of using new and crazy gear to capture images destined for covers; he also secured the first digital DIVE cover back in the Canon D60 days.

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Timor-Leste underwater photo competition results announced Photo

Timor-Leste underwater photo competition results announced

A week-long dive photo competition has been held at ten dive sites around Dili, Timor-Leste, finishing with an awards ceremony on 15 October at the Palacio Lahane. A total of 33 photographers from 9 nations came together to compete. The winners were Hendra Tan in the swimmers category, Ronny Rengkung in the dwellers, Dew Wilaisono in the crawlers and Im Eun Jae in the clingers. Lastly, in the portfolio category, Lim Kay Burn was awarded first prize. The organizers hope that this competition, the first to be held in the area, will showcase the unspoiled diving available.

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Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year results released Photo

Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year results released

The results of the 2010 Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year has been announced at a gala awards ceremony held at the Natural History Museum, London. It is great to see so many Wetpixel members achieving awards from such a prestigious competition. Tony Wu is the winner in the Underwater World category, with his image of four sperm whales from Dominica and Marcelo Krause’s image of a yacare caiman achieved a Highly Commended. In the One Earth category, Jordi Chias is the winner with an image of a turtle trapped in fishing net, and Brian Skerry and Thomas Haider also received Highly Commended awards for their images of shark finning.

The winning images will be on display at the Natural History Museum from 22 October. For those of us who didn’t make it this year, the 2011 competition will be open for entries from 12 January.

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Apple releases Aperture 3.1 update Photo

Apple releases Aperture 3.1 update

Apple has released a major update to their Aperture imaging software. Entitled version 3.1, this fixes many of the bugs that have been present since the v.3 release, and is a significant update in terms of performance. The new features lists is quite long, but includes: New slideshow themes, support for multiple Facebook and Flickr accounts and improved search filtering.

The update is available via software update or for download.

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