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Isla Mujeres Sailfish - 2012 Blue Sphere Media Trips


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#1 shawnh

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:43 PM

We returned to Isla Mujeres for our 4th season of sailfish action aboard the Lilly M and Andrea M of Keen M International. Captains Anthony, Rogelio and David did an outstanding job as usual. Despite challenging weather conditions and fluctuations in the activity, each trip was huge success with epic sailfish baitball action. In addition, we encountered many other species of marine life, and scored some terrific interactions.

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In our first trip, Richard Branson and his family joined us to give the sailfish a try. Having already experienced the whale shark aggregations in July, he was ready to turn up the heat several notches and experience one of the most exciting and intense marine spectacles found anywhere in the Ocean. Also with me was my good friend John Petry who was trying his hand at a “Shawn Epic” for the first time. Lawrence kindly invited us as guests to join him on the his vessel the Chachalaca for some incredible action!

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The trip was a huge success with baitballs lasting for hours and sailfish ripping apart the sardines just inches from our masks. We also swam with groups of giant mantas, a whale shark. One curious manta decided to give Richard a closer look, coming nose to nose before ducking right under him. For Richard’s son Sam, his interaction with a whale shark was a first in his lifetime. Everyone left with huge smiles, excited to return to Isla again from more marine mega-fauna activity.

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I also had a second group with me during that first week. Sean Havas, Sterling Zumbunn (Backscatter) and my older brother Brett Heinrichs. The group was incredibly proficient in the water and I even struggled to keep up with the furious pace that we chased down baitball after bait ball. Day one we landed a 3 hour baitball and another 2 hour baitball. Day 2 was much the same. Day 3 and 4 I was off the boat and the success continued without me. Day 5 we regrouped and found sails again, but this time conditions had turned and we called it an early day. Overall the trip was a huge success and everyone came back with epic imagery.

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Read Blog: SAILFISH 2012 BLOG
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#2 newmanl

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:18 PM

Those are outstanding! The first looks like a painting. Very nice work. Thanks for sharing, Shawn.

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#3 debersole

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 05:30 AM

FANTASTIC images and video Shawn. Congratulations!!!! I'd love to join you on one of these in the future!

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#4 shawnh

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:36 AM

Thanks Doug. Perhaps 2013 you can see this for yourself...let me know.
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#5 debersole

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:38 AM

Thanks Doug. Perhaps 2013 you can see this for yourself...let me know.


Let me know the dates when you have them. Thanks!

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#6 AMW

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:24 PM

Hi Shawn,
I have known that you are really good at what you do, but these images ARE OUT OF CONTROL!!!

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#7 sasdasdaf

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:08 PM

Shawn,

Thanks for sharing. Those are some amazing pictures, and the video really captures the madness of all the action going on around you.

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#8 diver dave1

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:15 AM

When shooting DX format, what lens range would be best for such action? Is a Tokina 10-17 too wide? Does a 10-17 with 1.4X work? A 10-24 or 12-24 better? something else?

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#9 philsokol

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 06:06 PM

I was lucky to join Shawn during his 2nd week. I was shooting the 10-17 on a Canon 7D which I mostly left it at 10. Often too wide, but that just means you have to get closer :) Plus, the action moves so fast that the sailfish can be right on top of you in a split second, so better to be too wide than too zoomed. It seems a great full frame set up might be the 15mm + 1.4 t/c... :)

A bit of a struggle for us - we got shut out for the first 3 days, even though we had bright sunny skies. Day 2 we could see the sailfish jumping all around us but no organized action to get in on and we didn't even get wet on day 3. Day 4 made up for it with a baitball that lasted 4 hours - awesome (and tiring!). Day 5 we had 20+ knot winds and 8-10 ft seas - again we didn't even get wet. Our final day we got in on another baitball that lasted over 2 hours, but the water was pretty green. Still, I came away with some good stuff and had a great time with all the other adventurers. I'll be back again next year!!

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#10 diver dave1

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:03 PM

With action that fast and close, I am guessing the viewfinder gets little use and you just point and shoot. Would that be an fair statement?
Loving the pics... keep sharing as much as you are willing.

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#11 shawnh

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 02:04 PM

Viewfinder is useless. I recommend practicing a LOT eyeing up shots and framing by feel. Your eyes must be on the action to capture the split moment when the fish lights up and strikes...not easy but with practice....

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#12 yahsemtough

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 04:41 AM

Great work Shawn! I am starting to think I should see this action myself.

Ditto Phil.

Kudos!

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#13 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:06 AM

[quote name='shawnh' date='Mar 10 2012, 06:04 PM' post='304051']
Viewfinder is useless. I recommend practicing a LOT eyeing up shots and framing by feel. Your eyes must be on the action to capture the split moment when the fish lights up and strikes...not easy but with practice....

Great shots Shawn!

I call that "hip shooting" or "shooting blind"....I got a good lesson from Jim Abernethy right after he kicked my ass for looking through the viewfinder at Tiger Beach! I got some decent shots of the sailfish using this technique ( not as good as yours Shawn) using a 10-22, but wished I was using my 10-17 FE. I find I still point the camera a little to high...always have to remember to point down another 5 degrees.

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#14 okuma

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:01 PM

Is this shot on SCUBA or snorkel?
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#15 shawnh

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:56 PM

Is this shot on SCUBA or snorkel?


Both. Best shots for natural light are on snorkel. Video you get more stable shots on scuba. But we do our scuba in a 'special' way to keep on the action!
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#16 MikeVeitch

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 07:05 PM

what are you shooting with Shawn?

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#17 shawnh

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 07:24 AM

what are you shooting with Shawn?


Hey Mike,
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Cheers
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#18 philsokol

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:33 AM

See, I didn't want to completely give away Shawn's set up, so I'm glad he spilled the beans. At least his video rig with it's special "inertial dampening system" will remain shrouded in mystery ;)

BTW, the viewfinder isn't totally useless - good for metering the water every once in a while :drink:

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#19 shawnh

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:04 PM

See, I didn't want to completely give away Shawn's set up, so I'm glad he spilled the beans. At least his video rig with it's special "inertial dampening system" will remain shrouded in mystery ;)

BTW, the viewfinder isn't totally useless - good for metering the water every once in a while :drink:

Phil


Yes...outed! But you are right, more secrets to come on the video front where the real vodoo is happening. And I agree, metering is important in viewfinder for sure!

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#20 anpers

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:25 AM

Stunning shots!! Thanks for sharing!
I was joining a day trip myself (on the 2nd Mars), but was unlucky. I knew it was a bit of a gambling, but didn't have much time to spare.

Happy to see your photos, then I know I've to go back, and for a longer trip.
Keep me posted for any upcoming trips :drink:

Cheers, Annika