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Dive Ops/Destinations which restrict strobe use


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#1 Drew

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:54 PM

It seems that there are a growing number of dive operators and destinations which limit strobe/light use on certain/all marine life.
While it is their perogative to do so, it does present an important issue for underwater shooters who do use artificial lighting to shoot. Thus I thought it'd be useful if members who have experienced such restrictions with either dive ops or destinations in general to list them in this thread. This will help your fellow shooters avoid having "issues" with the operations and ruin the trip.
From the above linked thread, it seems the first destination banning strobes is Malapascua, Philippines. They have banned the use of artificial lighting on Monad Shoals for the thresher sharks. Since Malapascua is probably the most famous destination to view thresher sharks, it's a very important piece of information for shooters to know before going there.
Please help your fellow shooters by listing the operations and destinations which have these restrictions.
Please remember to post only operations or destinations you know for sure and not places you've heard or think they do. This is in fairness to those operations who may not really have those restrictions in place.

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#2 Scubysnaps

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:09 AM

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...it maybe dependant on what guide you have tho, but I certainly was asked not to (May 2009)
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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:09 AM

Not a dive destination, but many public aquariums do not allow strobes to be used inside the tanks.

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#4 xariatay

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:21 AM

Like to add that the dive shops at Malapascua stagger their launch time at 30mins interval. If I remember correctly, the earliest boat leaves the island at 5:30am, reaching Monad Shoal around 6:15am...
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#5 secretsea18

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 05:38 AM

it seems the first destination banning strobes is Malapascua, Philippines. They have banned the use of artificial lighting on Monad Shoals for the thresher sharks. Since Malapascua is probably the most famous destination to view thresher sharks, it's a very important piece of information for shooters to know before going there.


Not that it really matters too much when it comes to the thresher sharks there, as they are often somewhat in the distance and your strobe wouldn't be able to provide much if any light on the fish anyway. Using strobes on that dive would be most useful for other things you might see on the Shoal top while eternally waiting for the lucky glimpse of the thresher in the distance. I do know that there have been lucky divers who have seen them much closer (like Gustsy), I am not sure how many get that experience there.
While I saw the threshers on several of my dives there (in 2004 and 2005 ... when strobes were not banned), they were always in the distance, required me to sort of squint my eyes and "believe" that I saw the shark that the guide was pointing at. The best thresher view was from the boat on the way from Monad to Calanagaman Island where we saw a thresher leap into the air with the trademark tail curl twice (could have been two sharks or same one twice)!

#6 lemon

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 04:39 AM

Gladden Spit Marine Park in Belize restricts all flash/light photography/videography. I still had a blast diving there though.

#7 Mike L

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 09:13 PM

I Just visited Isla Holbox for the whale sharks and on of the park rules is that strobes are NOT permitted in water.
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#8 rtrski

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 06:56 AM

I believe I've read they don't allow strobes in Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri. Or maybe that was just dive lights....

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#9 davichin

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:54 AM

I read many times about Wakatobi´s three pictures per subject limit and other things. Maybe someone can confirm
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#10 tdpriest

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Posted 24 July 2009 - 03:51 AM

I generated displeasure after 5 strobe shots of pygmy seahorses when diving from "Seven Seas" and Graham Abbott (diving4images) in Misool, tho' there were a lot of photographers and the seahorses were skittish. I would think that this is sensible, as I did have to shepherd one pygmy back onto its perch...

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#11 Drew

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 03:55 PM

Tim
To clarify so there are no misunderstandings, did Graham show displeasure or Stewart of the 7 Seas? Or was it just the other guests? I'm assuming this is the WP Indonesia trip with Alex? Generally Diving 4 Images charters boats for their trips and it's not boat specific.
If Stewart or one of the guides from the boat said something, that'd be a first in my many trips on the boat. So please elaborate on where the displeasure was being generated from.

EDIT: Tim confirmed it was Graham of Diving4Images who moved him along. There are no restrictions from Diving4Images or the 7 Seas regarding strobes. Tim's incident is a one off based on the fact the pygmy was showing signs of stress.

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#12 cim72lando

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 07:31 PM

"From the above linked thread, it seems the first destination banning strobes is Malapascua, Philippines. They have banned the use of artificial lighting on Monad Shoals for the thresher sharks. Since Malapascua is probably the most famous destination to view thresher sharks, it's a very important piece of information for shooters to know before going there."

I agree that strobes would be of little or no use use for shots of the thresher shark in Monad Shoals. My own gut feeling is that banning the use of strobes actually increased the number of times this skittish shark comes up from the deep to use the cleaning stations on the top of this sea mount and consequntly resulted in more sightings by divers. Talking to divers during my trip in 2005 when strobes were allowed and in 2007 when they were not, this unscientific survey revealed about 3 to 1 sightings in favor of 2007. My own experience was seeing 2 treshers in one dive in 2007 and none in 2005. Also, what other critters you can see in Monad Shoal requiring strobes for proper picture taking, you will see them in other dive sites in Malapascua.

#13 TomR1

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 04:21 PM

Wakatobi want each photographer to only take 5 shots of Pigmy Seahorses. The problem is that the little fellahs don't have any eyelids and constant strobe exposure can harm them.

My solution was to shoot in "focus lock" shutter priority. Therefore I didn't wast a shot no non-focused attempts.

#14 Stewart L. Sy

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:21 AM

I was at Malapascua in 2002. Did a week there and saw sharks pretty much every day for a week. The threshers had no qualms approaching divers with strobes, it was the friend of the owner of Exotic who was shooting video and started chasing the sharks that got them skittish. They weren't chastised by the owner but my buddy and I who simply turned (In Place!) to face the sharks got a good talking to by the swedish dive guide. I was planning on going back there with a group of 12 until I heard about the strobe rule.

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#15 Andy Morrison

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

I believe I've read they don't allow strobes in Bonne Terre Mine, Missouri. Or maybe that was just dive lights....


You can use strobes at Bonne Terre Mine but not dive lights. It's a fascinating place to dive and shoot.

#16 AndyMurch

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 11:33 PM

Like Holbox, Ningaloo is another whale shark location that frowns on strobe use. It depends on the operator I think. They also have a strict policy of not letting snorkelers swim further forward than the whale shark's pectoral fins which is a non starter for good shots.

#17 troporobo

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 01:26 AM

Swimming with whale sharks in Donsol in the Philippines, you are asked not to use strobes. Not that I could keep up with them if I had a full rig anyway!

#18 greedo5678

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 05:31 AM

For Whale Sharks the general policy and should be worldwide adhered to is that strobes shouldnt be used for whale sharks.

It was stated on whaleshark.org , the international ID website for individual sharks, the rules and regs of swimming with the sharks and included no flash photography. Although i cant find it now on their site but have found the PADI version on their site which is exactly the same plus some PADI spiel:

http://www.projectaw...deofconduct.pdf

We have found (here in Leyte, Philippines where sharks are common dec-apr) that whale sharks do react to large strobes at the head end, normally bolting down and out into the blue and ending the interaction. This always annoys customers without cameras and also when they bolt they do swing that large tail about and can put others at risk.

They are on the surface anyway so natural light is enough we have found. So yes all dive operations here ban the use of strobes with whale sharks. If a whale shark joins us on a normal dive rather than a specific whale shark snorkel tour we encourage people to turn their strobes off put one or two will still take the shots before i tap them on the shoulder.

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#19 Stoo

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Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:44 PM

Utila operators all ban the use of strobes when shooting whalesharks. It certainly isn't an issue as they are near the surface and the law requires that you stay beyond strobe range anyway..

Edited by Stoo, 22 February 2011 - 08:45 PM.