Welcome to the Bonaire Digital Shootout 2005 daily webcast, by Eric Cheng
Did you know that Jim Watt has been addicted to Skype since I introduced him to the service a few days ago? I think I've created a monster; by now, there's no doubt that he has converted half the resort to faithful Skypees. They should pay me royalties.
Talk to us! Jim's Skype username is 'jameswatt2', and he will be online this Wednesday, July 27th between 9:15pm and 10pm Eastern Time. If you're a Skype user, give us a shout! Chances are that we'll both be in the computer room, ready to chat.
OK. What's really funny is that at the moment (12:10am), Dan Baldocchi is using Skype right next to me, and he's plugged the wireless microphone into his Dell's mic jack. It seems to work. He won't let me take a picture.
July 26, 2005
This year's participants are diving fiends. Each morning on the way to the dive pier, we've been seeing participants coming out of the water after early-morning dives, and after each evening's slide show, a stalwart few jump right back in for late-night dives. As I wrote earlier, Bonaire is extremely dive-friendly, and divers can just grab tanks and jump in at any time.
I boarded the Alice H (a boat) today, and we dropped in for a dive at Jerry's Reef on Klein Bonaire, the small island just off of Bonaire's west coat. After a torrential downpour during our surface interval, we did our second dive at a site called Small Wall, where some of us were lucky enough to have a prolonged encounter with mating squid in just 15 feet of water. A larger, female squid accepted sperm sacks from two males, and den deposited fertilized eggs in a hole underneath a coral head. Two males competed for her attention, flashing aggressive spotted patterns and chasing each other around. Coolest of all was seeing one male display competition colors on one half of his body while showing mating colors on the other. This copulation/egg-laying procedure continued repeatedly for over an hour while various divers watched, fascinated. Finally, after 72 minutes in the water, an impatient dive master reeled us in by banging on the boat. It's easy to see why squid die after mating -- it looked like a lot of work!
The afternoon seminars included one by Berkley White on advanced Photoshop techniques, which covered layer masks, selective color, backscatter removal via the healing brush, cropping techniques, and more. After Berk's seminar, I took over and gave an in-depth seminar on printing images. After my talk, Jim Watt said, "Eric, you made me never want to print again," which I'm sure was just his circuitous way of telling me that he enjoyed my talk immensly. :)
The problem with lecturing about printing is that there is no middle ground between printing "the easy way" and the right way, which requires an understanding of sharpening, color profiles, monitor/printer calibration, and print-dialog/ driver settings. These are advanced topics that -- unfortunately -- only really help if one already has a bit of background in the subject. Despite the difficulty of the subject matter, many people seemed to learn a lot -- despite my cramming so much information into such a short period of time.
The evening slideshow again showed amazing improvement in image quality over previous shows. We are all very impressed at how good the images are!
Underwater Photos by Shootout Participants
Underwater Photos by Eric Cheng
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