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Thailand Photos


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:29 AM

I am just back from a three week trip in Thailand. Very productive. The trip was mainly on a liveaboard charter organised by top cameraman Peter Scoones. Peter style of diving is simply to tie the boat up on a great reef and then have "pool is open" diving for day after day. There were only 8 of us on board and we all dived alone, going in when we wanted (for light or fish behaviour reasons). On this trip we dived mostly at East Of Eden in the Similans and Richelieu Rock.

Continually diving on the same site is very productive photographically. It allows you to watch and learn the patterns of behaviour and light. To discover where critters live and plan dives and optimise camera equipment around specific shots. It is an excellent style of diving for behaviour photography and for working on new creative techniques.

I shot much behaviour. These two started off looking as though they were mating and then ended up fighting. I presumed it was 2 males? I photographed the rejected male cuddling himself for reassurance a few minutes later (see the gallery).
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Other behaviours I was pleased to capture included courtship of flame anthias, where the males swims below the females (note this is a different species to the one you usually see Indonesia - P. ignitus vs P. dispar)
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And I shot plenty of cleaning too. Visually I like this shot of a cleaner wrasse in the gills of a map puffer.
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With loads of time on the same reef and knowing where all the critters live (OK everyone knows where this eel lives on East Of Eden) made fish portraits really productive. This was shot with the Sigma 150mm and 500D dioptre.
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I also continued my experiments with off camera strobes and finally started to get some pleasing images (rather than just photos of the effect). This one is perhaps the most obvious use. I like some of the subtler applications even more. (Article coming soon).
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For ages I have been trying to make use of the Magic Filter to capture movement in a way you can't with flash. Finally I got the image I wanted with the reef sharp and the fish blurred. I like this shot (because I have been trying to get it for so long!) I hope others do too.
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Another technique I tried on the trip was double exposures. This technique used to be popular on film, but nobody does it on digital because "it would be easier in photoshop". Actually trying the technique in camera made me realise some advantages to doing in Photoshop. Again article written, coming soon. This image was done entirely in camera:
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As a minor point. I have also been using top lighting more and more. Especially good for subjects such as these Indian Ocean A. ephippium - where you want better strobe light penetration into the frame (so that you have even light and colour on both the foreground and mid-ground).
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I also forced myself to shoot some wide angle without the fisheyes! Grrr. I hate it. I love my fisheyes. But I accept it is good for the diversity of my portfolio. Throughout the trip, much of the wideangle I was shooting was reef scenes with coral trout groupers and also glassfish. Here is one from the 12-24mm, I almost like it:
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Finally I also tried a domeport designed by Peter Scoones for the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye (and almost flooded my camera when I tried to use it with the 10-17mm!). The port is really interesting, but I will have to check with Peter if he minds me writing about his innovations. Here is a photo I took with it and the 10.5mm fisheye (very, very close):
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Anyway, the rest of the images can be seen here:
http://www.amustard....thai08_gal_temp

Alex

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#2 loftus

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:50 AM

As always Alex, my pulse goes up a few beats when I see you have photos to post. Excellent stuff, now I have to review it all over and over and then wait for your articles.
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#3 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:31 AM

Almost too much in one post, great images and even greater info, looking forward to the articals.
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#4 Steve Williams

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:39 AM

Wow! Thanks Alex, spectacular stuff. Can I have the ones you throw away? The cleaner and the puffer is truly spectacular. You do have me scratching my head on the double exposure technique, can't wait for the article. Can you give us a hint?

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#5 ce4jesus

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:44 AM

I can only think of one word right now. WOW.
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#6 philsokol

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 09:57 AM

Absolutely awesome and inspiring!

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#7 PRC

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:16 AM

Cracking pics Alex.

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#8 Canuck

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:03 AM

love the pic of the cleaner wrasse checking out your ear :unsure:

also the CTW with the green grassy background, better than the normal coral background

the double exposure shot stands out too

the shot of the four-eyed hermit crab :wacko: caught my attention

some beautiful colours in the wide angle photos

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#9 AMW

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:49 PM

Alex....I would guess that you have taken a few underwater photos before.... :unsure:
Phenom images!!!

#10 wobby

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 08:32 PM

Alex,

Another great collection of images. I must say you do inspire me, and hopefully others, to be a more creative and more inventive underwater photographer. Can't wait to read the articles.

Regards

Nigel

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#11 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:56 PM

Thanks for the feedback, all.

love the pic of the cleaner wrasse checking out your ear :unsure:
also the CTW with the green grassy background, better than the normal coral background
the shot of the four-eyed hermit crab :( caught my attention


Thanks John.

The cleaner wrasses in the Similans certainly like the taste of humans. It was one of the downsides of solo diving - would have been much easier to shoot this shot of someone else! Plus they would have been better looking. :wacko:
Here is the cleaner wrasse and me shot:
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And cropped so you can see:
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I liked the Christmas tree worm too. Such unusual colours for an UW shot - taken with the 150mm and 500D:
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I think that the hermit crabs were mating. But I am not sure. The larger one (male?) seemed to driving the encounter and put his claws right around the female. She seemed to momentarily pop forward out of her shell - when I snapped this frame and then the encounter was over.
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Alex

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#12 ilanbt

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:47 PM

You have some lovely shots in the gallery!

Edited by ilanbt, 07 April 2008 - 11:48 PM.

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#13 aczyzyk

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 12:24 AM

Wow. Great as usual!
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#14 pakman

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:32 AM

Thanks for the feedback, all.


And cropped so you can see:
Posted Image


Alex


yummy, earwax... :unsure:

Great shots Alex

 


#15 loftus

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:41 AM

Alex, have you ever been checked for parasites? Never know what can live in those sideburns. :unsure:

Edited by loftus, 08 April 2008 - 05:41 AM.

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#16 Honza2

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 04:18 PM

Alex, beautiful assortment. Very inspirational.

#17 seagrant

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 07:30 PM

Yes, I add my congrats too!!

Great images, the cleaner wrasse in the map puffer gil stands out in my mind - (Alex I think the map puffer has got one up on you for "slick looks"...... :D )

Thanks and glad you enjoyed the trip and saved your camera/housing!

Best, Carol

#18 yahsemtough

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 05:20 AM

Well done Alex.

The cleaner shot in the gills is a winner. Wonderful work and a great collection. I too agree that sitting on a sit for a day or more is the way to go. You get a much btter perspective of what is taking place on the reef and therefore a great chance at capturing a unique image.

Cheers

Todd
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#19 Marcelo Krause

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 06:26 AM

Excellent Photos Alex!!!!

I always like to look at your pictures because you have a very unusual way to take pictures of usual creatures. And some great behavior shots too!!!

Best regards,

Marcelo

#20 meister

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 08:03 AM

Great pictures as always. A thought provoking post. I too can see some definite advantages of the boat sitting in one spot for the day, a great opportunity, especially for photographers. Thanks for posting!
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