Underwater Images Photo/Video 2007 winners announced Photo

Underwater Images Photo/Video 2007 winners announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2007 Underwater Images Photo/Video Competition, which have recently been announced online.  Among the winners were quite a few Wetpixel members, including Jose Alvarez (Best of show), Ralph “Larry” Oberlander, Keri Wilk, Matt Segal, Csaba Tokolyi, and more!  The Underwater Images contest is associated with Scubafest in Ohio, USA.

It looks like the same photographers have been winning all of the recent underwater photography contests.  If you have photos you think are better than the ones that have been winning, be sure to enter, next year. :)

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Shark fin soup may be off the menu during Olympics Photo

Shark fin soup may be off the menu during Olympics

BEIJING (AFP) - Shark fin soup should be removed from the menu at Chinese official banquets to prevent damage to the country’s image during the Olympic Games next year, according to a lawmaker.

“Serving shark’s fin to foreign guests during the Olympic Games could greatly hurt China’s national image, and officials should start to remove the dish from the dining table right now”, Xu Zhihong, a member of China’s national parliament told Xinhua news agency.

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From the forums: Fuji S5 sunburst tests

The Fujifilm S5 DSLR has been eagerly anticipated by underwater photographers. The S5 is physically identical to the very popular Nikon D200 and therefore fits in the same housings. It was also hoped that the increased dynamic range of Fuji’s Super CCD sensor would improve the quality of sunbursts in underwater pictures.

Wetpixel member Claude Ruff recently put this theory to the test and performed some very useful back to back tests shooting the S5 and the D200 simultaneously underwater. His tests show that the S5 is an excellent underwater camera, but perhaps surprisingly, does not offer any noticeable improvement over the D200 for sunbursts.

Have a look at Claude’s photos and see if you agree. Join the debate in the Wetpixel forums…

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The Underwater Photographer wins Diver Award

Congratulations to underwater photography guru and Wetpixel member Martin Edge for winning the DIVER Award 2006 for the Publication of the Year for his book The Underwater Photographer, published by Focal Press. The Diver Awards are decided annually entirely by votes by the readers of the UK’s Diver Magazine.

This book is a firm favourite with many Wetpixel members and is a deserved winner of this prestigious award. Martin is regular visitor top Wetpixel and the book actually contains several direct links Wetpixel content for further information. If you are an underwater photographer you must check out this book.

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Petition: stop distribution of shark fins Photo

Petition: stop distribution of shark fins

The practice of shark finning (where sharks have their fins cut off while still alive and are thrown back in the water to die) is brutal, wasteful, and often, illegal.  A web search for shark finning will show you in mere minutes how terrible the practice is.

Please show your support for the world’s dwindling shark populations by signing this petition against Alibaba.com, one of largest online traders of shark fins.  Signing the petition takes less than a minute and requires only your name, e-mail address, and geographic location.  You can also protect your privacy by showing yourself as “anonymous,” if you wish.

UPDATE: If you would like to post a link to this petition in your blog or in a forum you frequent, continue reading for code you can cut & paste!

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Light & Motion Bluefin HC7 underwater housing Photo

Light & Motion Bluefin HC7 underwater housing

Next week, Light & Motion will announce the Bluefin HC7, an underwater housing for the compact Sony HDR-HC7 HDV camcorder.  The Bluefin HC7 will allow manipulation of the camcorder’s touch screen menu to provide access to one-touch manual white balance, independent aperture and shutter speed control (a great feature of the HC7 camcorder), Tele Macro mode, and Smooth Slow Motion.

Also standard on the Bluefin HC7 is Light & Motion’s signature Smart Grip Handles, an underwater microphone, flip-down color correction filter, and an all glass zoom through lens.  Pricing has not yet been announced, but will likely be $3,099 USD.

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Review of StiX buoyancy arms by Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards Photo

Review of StiX buoyancy arms by Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards

Nearly every underwater photographer has experienced it - the unwieldy, heavy housing straining their patience while shooting macro or seemingly acting as a few (unnecessary) extra pounds of lead. Wetpixel members Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards have taken the StiX buoyancy arms on over 200 dives, and believe they’ve found the solution. Cor writes:

It has made my diving 100% pleasurable again. No more sore arms after a dive, no more giving up on a very difficult macro subject due to fatigue. My rig is now ever so slightly negative (I prefer it that way), but I can just as easily make it fully neutral or even positive.

The full report contains more impressions from Cor and Julie, photos of the arms and their components, and information on purchasing…

*Addendum*: Wetpixel member Colin Gans has added his experiences with modifying the end floats for a rounded “torpedo-look” that allows the arms to fold closer together. His words and photos can be found at the end of the review. 

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Mexico passes shark finning ban Photo

Mexico passes shark finning ban

After 10 years of debate, Mexico has passed legislation that bans shark finning, increases protection of great white, whale and basking sharks, and manta rays, and extends the moratorium on new commercial shark fishing permits.

Mexico has become increasingly known for its great white shark concentrations at Isla Guadalupe, and whale sharks can be found on both coasts. Mike Lever (of the M/V Nautilus Explorer) said in response: “The enactment of Mexican rules for responsible shark and ray fisheries is incredibly good news and really bodes well for the survival of these magnificent animals.

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