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Member Since 03 Apr 2007
Offline Last Active Nov 07 2018 08:14 PM

#396828 Ikelite DS160 vs DS161 - what would you do?

Posted by Stoo on 27 June 2018 - 11:46 AM

They're the same strobe, except the 161 has a video light in it. I don't shoot video, but I find it helpful in very low light situations. Whether it would help or not in a resale I couldn't say...

#380861 And you think UW shooters are obsessed...

Posted by Stoo on 23 January 2017 - 07:58 AM

When I'm not diving, I am almost as obsessed with skiing, although I have never bothered to try to shoot anything other than snapshots in the mountains.


I stumbled across this mini-doc about a quest to get one perfect image... skiers against a solar eclipse. It sounds easy until you see what's involved.




#380847 How to fix a broken Sea & Sea Fiber cable?

Posted by Stoo on 22 January 2017 - 06:50 PM

A friend of mine busted a cable while we were in northern BC in a very remote area, last October. She trimmed the ends, then with a little assistance, she used a piece of electrical tape to attach the two ends. Once secure, she wrapped a second piece over the first and extended it further along the cables. Amazingly it held up for the rest of the week.


When I teach photo workshops, I have a "10 Commandments of UW Photography" sheet.  #1 is "O-rings first, Beer second"... #5 is "Sync cables are the root of all evil. Thou shalt always travel with a spare..."


Just sayin'!

#380748 Advice for a beginner?

Posted by Stoo on 18 January 2017 - 05:45 PM

What Stoo doesn't mention is that actually finding the critter, in the dark, in the viewfinder with a 105mm lens and +5 diopter is an art form all in itself.....  :crazy:


Haha... Ya, there is that. I use a 45° viewfinder (which I love, especially in situations like the one I described above) but I'd hate to tell you how many times I poked myself in the mask!


I love shooting shipwrecks. All you have to do is point the camera in the general direction of the giant thing on the bottom of the lake, and push the little button. Piece o' cake...

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#380632 Pelican Case Users

Posted by Stoo on 15 January 2017 - 10:21 AM

I read somewhere years ago that the issue was one of shock. If the case containing the housing with a camera mounted inside comes to a rapid and abrupt stop - say it falls off something and hits the ground with velocity and impact - the shock will transmit through case to the housing on to the camera sitting on the mounting and it could sheer some of the fittings. It sort of makes sense to me but then I'm no engineer. I'm sure there are others who will read this that are......


 I travel with my D7000 inside an Aquatica housing inside a Pelican 1510. If that camera is damaged in that configuration, it's likely only because the pilot has driven us into the side of a mountain.


As an aside, some muppet once kicked my full rig off of the flybridge on a boat. It dropped about 7' and hit a carpetted wooden deck. I figured I was done, but all that happened was that the shade came flying off of my dome. Popped it back on and no problems at all...

#380631 Advice for a beginner?

Posted by Stoo on 15 January 2017 - 10:00 AM

Hi Jason,


In some sense, the answer to your question about "how do you get so close..." is answered in your first statement. The key to becoming a competent UW shooter starts with becoming an excellent diver. Getting close when you have your buoyancy control and trim "dialed". If you don't "getting close" may well result in damage to the reef as you crash, bash and kick your way up to your subject.


As for lenses (I use D7000s) for macro, I use the 60 and 105. The 105 may not be the place to start as it's tricky on an FX sensor. The 60 is a workhorse.. decent macro as well as a nice "portrait" lens. There is also an 85 which is popular and may work for you as well.


I sometimes use a +5 wet diopter. With this is my pocket, I have a tremendous "range". It can also be used on a 105 once you are more confident. This will get very close.


In the mean time, get out there and dive your face off!

#376944 Setup for ambient light shooting of deep wrecks

Posted by Stoo on 11 September 2016 - 09:32 PM

I shoot wrecks in the Great Lakes primarily, and the type of photo you are describing probably has more to do with the conditions on any given day, rather than the type of camera. Truk is more likely to have great visibility than the Great Lakes, but even at that, how bright the day is will have a bearing. These "panoramic" shots are not easy to take with successful results.


As for any particular camera, as you noted, a very wide angle is necessary. I find I like the results better when I shoot with a slower shutter speed (and a steady hand) in darker conditions, that I do with cranking up the ISO. Some of my personal favorites (and that were good enough to run in a dive magazine) were shot at 1/40th of a second. 


I don't much worry about white balance... I set it at auto and if necessary, I tweak it a little in post...


There's some examples of this type of shot here:  https://wetspot.smug...com/Shipwrecks/

#376501 Strobe positioning with fisheye lens

Posted by Stoo on 28 August 2016 - 02:25 PM

As BC83 pointed out, apart from positioning, consider dialing back the power in your strobes to the bare minimum to do the job. If you can still expose properly, then the amount of backscatter and visible ligt reflecting off of stuff in the water can be minimized...


If you are essentially shooting CFWA, then you can angle the stobes inward, more like you would shooting macro, then the backscatter is minimized die to the short strobe/subject/lens distance...

#374924 8 in Nauticam arms + jumbo stix floats

Posted by Stoo on 28 June 2016 - 05:22 PM

Then I decided to add 2 more sets of jumbo stix floats. The rig looks like this:


Nice rig! I think if you remove a few of those #hashtags, it might be less sinky! ;-)

#370590 Jardines de la Reina... WHAT ELSE ??

Posted by Stoo on 18 February 2016 - 04:48 AM

Nice... Thanks for sharing!

#370461 Nudibranchs! New video

Posted by Stoo on 14 February 2016 - 07:55 PM

That was really nice... Especially up on my big tv!


Thanks pr posting! :-)

#369963 Best housing and setup for Nikon d810

Posted by Stoo on 02 February 2016 - 05:22 AM

I'm not familiar with Sea & Sea line, but I think there's a significant difference between Ikelite and Aquatica. These differences are reflected in the price of course... Ikelite controls seem somewhat "floppy" and less ergonomic to me. Aquatica (which I own) is precisely the opposite. It's also relatively compact comparitively.


As Tim pointed out, have a look at Nauticam and Subal as well. These would be similar to Aquatica in terms of build quality and all very good housings.


In my case, my final choice was simple... my first DSLR was used and purchased here. It was an Aquatica system. My second housing was also Aquatica. SInce I bought it new, I decided to support the local guys, here in Canada. I have been to the Aquatica plant several times and continue to be impressed with their products.


At the end of the day, you can't really go wrong with any of the brands mentioned, although if budget isn't a huge issue, I would be inclined to pass on the Ikelite housing, and buy a couple of their strobes instead. You might look into ease of access to service etc as the housing will need to be rebuilt from time to time.


Regarding lenses, I get the sense that you are thinking the 16-35 might work for "everything" but you might find that it isn't the best for anything, and you should perhaps consider both something wider and something longer and macro-ier (???). This is a separate decision from the housing however.

#369648 first day of diving with my new setup , mostly underexposed

Posted by Stoo on 24 January 2016 - 07:21 PM

Going by your settings alone, I'd say that your shutter speed is far too fast... My "go-to" settings at ISO 200 in that sort of shooting would likely be more like f8, 1/100 or 1/125. If I was shooting close up macro and needed to increase DoF, then I'd shoot maybe f11 to f16 and decrease the shutter speed accordingly...


I use the same strobes, and they have tons of power. I rarely have mine set more than 1/2 or 2/3 power. I would suggest you try that and leave the diffusers in place...

#369228 Great Lakes, not so exotic but worth it just the same!

Posted by Stoo on 12 January 2016 - 10:57 AM

Steve/Pete, you have some great shots there! Friends of mine travel to PI annually, but I have yet to make the trip from Tobermory! It looks spectacular.


So many people seem to thing that great diving has to be in warm water. Last year, I travelled to both the east and west coasts of Canada as well as a few spots in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. Personally, I love cold water diving, plus you can hang your beer in a bag off of the boat and it comes up "just right"! :-)

#358621 Is underwater photography actually possible without a strobe? using the right...

Posted by Stoo on 07 March 2015 - 11:14 AM

You can certainly shoot photos or video... they're just going to be really blue unless you stay really shallow.


You might consider black and white... It's a great look and forces you to really work on composition.