NCUPS announces SEA 2008 44th annual photo competition Photo

NCUPS announces SEA 2008 44th annual photo competition

The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) has announced the 44th Annual International Underwater Photographic Competition and the Bob Commer Award of Excellence in Underwater Photography.

Continuing for its second year is the Marine Conservation category to complement the Macro, Wide Angle, and Underwater California categories. Prizes include liveaboard trips on the Nai’a, Bilikiki, Febrina, Pindito, Manthiri, and others, and an assortment of underwater photography and videography gear. Entries must be received by October 10, 2008 - continue reading for the full press release, or visit SEA2008 to enter…

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Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Two with Humpbacks Photo

Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Two with Humpbacks

Despite consistent strong winds, Tony Wu has continued to experience excellent humpback whale encounters in the kingdom of Tonga, including behavior that has him questioning current assumptions:

The accepted wisdom about why whales (and other cetaceans) blow bubbles is that it’s a sign of aggression. In many cases (such as heat runs), this is definitely true…But last week, a whale blew bubbles at me. There were no threatening gestures, and we had been in the water together for at least 30 minutes. She approached, glided by and sent some bubbles my way, continued her glide by, and blew more bubbles at her mate…

Read the full article for Tony’s interpretation of the event, his responses to questions concerning travel to Tonga, camera gear, and whale photography, and a series of humpback images…

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Six gill sharks in Seattle Photo

Six gill sharks in Seattle

Wetpixel’s Eric Cheng and Matt Segal are currently out with Simon Rogerson (editor of Dive Magazine) in Seattle in an attempt to photograph six gill sharks (Hexanchus griseus).

We’re out here with Hydrus on the M/V Katherine Jane.  Stay tuned—I’ve managed to rig up a wireless network here and will be updating this page as frequently as possible with video and still image clips (click through to see video stream).

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Bahamas shark expedition, Sep 2-8, 2008 Photo

Bahamas shark expedition, Sep 2-8, 2008

Our good friends over at Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures are offering last-minute spots on a shark expedition this coming September. The Bahamas shark trip is well known here at Wetpixel, but has historically been expensive and hard to get on because of limited availability.

There is a significant discount on this trip, and I have never seen spots go at such a good deal. Trip dates are September 2-8, 2008, and price is USD $1989.00.

If you are interested, contact JASA immediately!

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Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week One with Humpbacks Photo

Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week One with Humpbacks

After 51 hours of travel, Wetpixel friend Tony Wu has spent the last week swimming with the humpback whales of Tonga, and has written in with an update:

Current status of the whales: The boys are horny; the girls are either hitched, taking care of kids or driving boys crazy; the kids are oblivious and enjoying themselves…They swam under us, around us, between us…playing all the while, doing twists and twirls while watching us. All we had to do was float and wait.

Continue reading for all the details, accompanied by photos of these large, and energetic, cetaceans…

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 slowness and other problems Photo

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 slowness and other problems

A bunch of our users have upgraded to Adobe Lightroom 2.0, and many of them are regretting their decision. Users are reporting extreme slowness and inability to import metadata. Daniel Brown, an Adobe expert, added his voice of reason, stating, “There are some optimization tricks that seem to help, but my hunch is that people are using the retouching tools in LR 2.0 the same way they would in Photoshop and they are VERY different animals.”

This is a very good point. I tend to treat Photoshop as an application where my image is placed on a canvas, allowing me to use a tablet/pen to “paint” on a million tiny corrections. But when I’m in Aperture (an analogous non-destructive editing environment), I think of every mouse click as a precision operation because I know that all of the changes are being stored as “layers” over the original RAW file. It’s just going to be slower. Eventually, technology will catch up and we’ll be able to enhance/ruin photos without thinking about machine performance, but we are not quite there yet.

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New “Divers Seeking Divers” forum Photo

New “Divers Seeking Divers” forum

When I travel, I like to meet up with local Wetpixel members to dive with. It’s great because I get to connect faces with names. Plus, the locals always know the most about the local reefs.

In order to facilitate divers meeting divers, I’ve set up a new forum called Divers Seeking Divers. If you’re looking for a new local dive buddy, or are traveling somewhere and want some local expertise, head on over there and start posting!

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Eric Cheng speaking at NCUPS on Fri, Aug 8, 2008 Photo

Eric Cheng speaking at NCUPS on Fri, Aug 8, 2008

Wetpixel publisher and editor Eric Cheng (that’s me) is speaking at the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) this coming Friday, August 8, 2008. I will be presenting some of my favorite images and talking about how and where they were taken. In addition, I’ll show the RAW files behind the final images so you can see what goes into a typical image’s post-processing.

Location: New Vision United Methodist Church, 450 Chadbourne Avenue, Millbrae, CA.  94030. Doors open at 7pm for a pre-talk seminar. Eric’s talk starts at 8pm.

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Olympus and Panasonic announce Micro Four Thirds Photo

Olympus and Panasonic announce Micro Four Thirds

Today, Olympus and Panasonic announced a new mirrorless format based on Four Thirds. Sensors in the new system are the same size as they were in the original Four Thirds specification (18 x 13.5 mm), but Micro Four Thirds cameras will be considerably smaller due to the removal of the mirror. In addition, lenses for the new lens mount will also be smaller. The drawback is that without a mirror, optical viewfinders are not possible, and framing will have to done via Live View or electronic viewfinder. Micro Four Thirds is compatible with Four Thirds lenses through the use of an adapter.

This is particularly exciting for underwater shooters. A large sensor in a small package will allow us to maintain low noise in images while minimizing the size of a housed camera!

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