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Snorkelling with the mermaids


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#1 ce4jesus

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 10:32 AM

:) Since my only other underwater photographic experience involved disposables, I found my first digital experience with my Oly SP350 very exhilarating. The link is the photos I've decided I would show. They reveal my inexperience <_< , mainly with composition, which will get better with time. I was limited to floating on the surface and chose not to weight myself for my first Manatee Experience. That turned out to be a mistake :) as I struggled the entire morning trying to even frame a decent pic from the surface. Needless to say most of the early morning stuff was throw-away. Thank goodness for the Magic Filter that I purchased before I went. After struggling to keep the strobe aimed, underwater, etc at the surface, I took it off and took the rest of the photos with the filter installed. Not only did the filter improve my composition :D it also made my photos turn out to be fairly nice. Stuff that will at least wow the inlaws!! The other bits of information for picture quality reference. I have is I didn't have a wide angle lens...missed several nice shots by a hair due to not having one. My strobe was not large enough to cover such large animals in close space. Water Clarity was marginal at best. Initially there was about 12-15ft of visibility until additional boats arrived....some with SCUBA <_< . Due to an rare, very low tide condition at the time, the boat operators weren't able to get us into 3 sisters springs which is renowned for its clarity. None of my shots have been altered yet. I simply converted them to jpegs for you to view.

Many on here recommended Birds Underwater and I found that to be good advice. They have a very nice operation and gave us some nice tips on where the best viz would be. One additional side note, a 3 mil isn't enough. I had been on an excursion in December in the S. Florida ocean years earlier and a 3 mil seemed fine then so I packed the lighter suit. It was great in the water but after 3 hours in the water, then getting out, I was colder than I'd been in some time. If not for the change of clothes I brought and the hot coffee, I might have succumbed to hypothermia. :) Next time...and there will be a next time because this was simply a great day, I will wear my 7mil over my 3. Please take a moment and review my photos and give me some kind of critique. Later,
Gary

http://www.snapfish....391/t_=27878391

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Gary
Olympus E-520, TLC arms, Inon Z-240s, 50mm, 14-42mm woody's diopter

#2 NWDiver

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 09:35 AM

Sounds like it was a fun experiance, they are great creatures. That is where my wife got certified and it was cold!

#3 kcf955

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 12:49 PM

Congrats on the new system Gary! Sounds like tough conditions with the water temp and vis but it you made the best of it. I did not get in to see your gallery of images, I don't like having to "register" to see someones photos and don't want a bunch of spam from SnapFish. You might consider attaching more shots to your message.

Cheers, Keith

#4 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:42 PM

Keith...thanks. I may have to find another site. The following are some of the photos .. simply converted not digitally enhanced. Thanks,

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#5 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:43 PM

They do get a little better...

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#6 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:44 PM

...or not

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#7 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:45 PM

My mother was thrilled....of course she's also told me I'm handsome and can sing.

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#8 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:46 PM

B)
This one was taken by a friend...tis I behind the manatee.

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#9 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:47 PM

more....

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#10 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:48 PM

My wife liked this one due to the eye lens being half open.

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#11 ce4jesus

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:49 PM

Final one...

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#12 kcf955

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 08:58 PM

Gary,

I think you did a great job considering the conditions you had to deal with. What an amazing experience, I can only relate it to being around seals and sea otters here in N. California. With low vis I think you figured out to shoot up close and eliminate as much water between your camera and subject as possible. Your head shots of the Manatee came out great.

Thanks for sharing, Keith

#13 Larry C

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 03:50 PM

Nice shots Gary. I love playing with Harbor Seals, and it looks like the Manatee are even friendlier. Maybe our next trip will have a stop in the middle in FL. Other than your problems with weighting, how did the flash work out?

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#14 ce4jesus

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:07 PM

As you can see from the one shot above where the flash exposure is fine, the flash itself worked well. Composition was another story. It took me awhile to realize what I was doing wrong. I couldn't get the flash and camera together below the surface on my large setup and still compose a nice shot. Ie...on most shots the flash was out of the water, halfway under water or just not properly aimed. With proper weighting, I could have managed a lot better and will the next time I snorkel with these majestic creatures.

BTW - went to your pic site and have to say the starfish pic is a great composition. One of my best underwater moments in SCUBA came in Cabo with a seal. Came right up within a few feet of me to stare at me in the same wonder that I was staring at it with. The Manatees are a must adventure.
Gary
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