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WETPIXEL Whalesharks - 2012


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#21 Ken Kurtis

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:12 AM

Here is a quick vid I shot on Saturday, in between taking photos.


How big are they Alex? It looks to me during the last shot where you became a remora, that they're about three body lengths long which would be in the 18-foot range. So it sounds like they're sort of the same size as the juvy/teens that we tend to see this time of the year in the Sea of Cortez around La Paz (but not in these numbers nor with this water clarity).

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#22 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:15 PM

Hi Ken,

There definitely a lot bigger/bulkier than the ones off La Paz, but they are mainly in the 18-25ft range - so teenagers. A few males are showing signs of claspers calcifying, but most are young.

Alex

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#23 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:57 PM

Great first Day of Week 2 with the whalesharks. Loads of sharks again today, but weather a bit rougher. Report to follow. Just wrote one - but internet dropped and I lost it.

MEX12_am-19488.jpg

Next couple of days we'll get the worst of the weather from Ernesto. But boats are still in the water and we'll be assessing conditions each morning.

I'll also add some more pix and comments from Week 1 - if I get some down time because of the weather.

Alex

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#24 tomeyer

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:36 PM

Just got back from the first week of the whale shark expedition and I am happy to report that it was one of the best trips I have been on. Having never seen a whale shark before, I can now say I have seen hundreds. It looks like the second week is off to a great start as well from the look of the pictures Alex has posted. A couple of pictures from my time in the water:


Posted Image
0906untitled006.jpg by tomeyer, on Flickr

our intrepid leader Alex



Posted Image
1208untitled050-4.jpg by tomeyer, on Flickr

Whale shark Silhouette



Posted Image
1208untitled050-6.jpg by tomeyer, on Flickr

Tom

#25 StephenFrink

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 05:02 PM

Steve; I don't believe this is a new phenomenon, rather just a more recent discovery, at least for the photog community. My understanding this is purely related to the bonito spawning in this area at this time of year. I guess it is possible though that food is more sparse elsewhere than before so they are tending to concentrate more. Be tough to assess without historical data of previous aggregations.


Hey Jeff - I know it preceded the 2010 BP event, but the way everyone describes last year and this year, it sounds like the numbers of whale sharks have increased. We know the eyes, and cameras, recording the phenomenon are greater, but by hearsay the numbers are greater too. Did the bonito or the whalesharks get displaced from normal feeding grounds and thereby concentrated? But, you are right. Without baseline data it is idle conjecture.
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#26 MK2

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 07:06 PM

Went out today for my weekly trip.....It was EPIC! whalesharks coming at you in every direction! Crazy stuff.......

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#27 nrosewarn

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:53 PM

Hi all,

Here's my shot of the Mobula, I looked around and was mobbed :) (pardon the pun!)

Posted Image

#28 Steve Williams

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:23 AM

Congratulations Neil! One heck of a first post on Wetpixel.

Salud,
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#29 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:26 AM

Not going out today. Just a bit too rough at present. :-(

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#30 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:00 AM

A couple of pictures from my time in the water:

Posted Image
0906untitled006.jpg by tomeyer, on Flickr


I seem to be studiously photographing its tail!

Anyway, back at you Tom. Here you are with a shark:

MEX12_am-13667.jpg

You are the one on the left! ;-)

Alex

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#31 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:25 AM

Some people pictures from Week 1. Captions to follow after edit (I've lost too many posts mid-way because of the internet connection dropping out here.


Catherine G, Jaxie and Suzy take the fast way to dinner.
MEX12_am-13561.jpg

The rest of us take the slow road.
MEX12_am-13568.jpg

High street in Isla Mujeres. A hazardous place to walk as a large group looking for dinner.
MEX12_am-13597.jpg

Food has generally been very good (with much advice on restaurants from photographers who have been here before)
MEX12_am-13588.jpg

Sausages. Don't ask.
MEX12_am-13474.jpg

Eleonora shooting a shark
MEX12_am-13957.jpg

Catherine G helps Capt David and Guide Gaio to prepare cerviche
MEX12_am-14397.jpg

Brian GoProing
MEX12_am-15080.jpg

Brian still GoProing
MEX12_am-16359.jpg

Ryan in the blue. Probably pondering camera options. I have never known anyone come on a trip so well equipped with the latest hot cameras. Ryan had housings for the Nikon D800, Nikon D4, Canon 5DMk3 and Olympus OM-D E-M5. Which he chose and when was actually very interesting.
MEX12_am-16162.jpg

Me - photo by Eleo
MEX12_am-16293.jpg

Neil and Catherine D take a break from shooting to pose with a shark.
MEX12_am-18308a.jpg

Alex

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#32 col

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 04:29 PM

Hi all - we've been land locked today due to 'choppy' seas so here are a few images from the 1st day.

One of the many spotty fish here feeding on bonito eggs:
120806_Isla_Mujeres_D700_050.jpg

Nana shooting a self portrait of herself and her spotty friend:
120806_Isla_Mujeres_D700_154.jpg

Nana and another one of her spotty friends:
120806_Isla_Mujeres_D700_130.jpg

cheers!

Edited by col, 07 August 2012 - 07:22 PM.

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#33 loftus

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 04:54 PM

Alex, what lens are you shooting the circular images with? Canon?
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#34 davichin

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 11:27 PM

Great images from all! I have to admit that the ones I like most are the mobulas by Alex and Neil. It is like giving whalesharks for granted and then finding another great unexpected subject ¿are they easy to see there or is it just a casual fast pass by?
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#35 pats0n

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:37 AM

Alex Mustard - on post #23 - is it proper circular fisheye ? Looks cool ! ^_^

#36 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 04:43 AM

Week 2, Day 3. Storm is passing, blue sky reappearing this morning - but the sea is still up. So we'll be sitting out again today.

Alex, what lens are you shooting the circular images with? Canon?


Nope it is a Sigma 4.5mm on the D7000. I bought it second hand from Tim P when he got his D800.

However, the lens does have a small problem with the Nauticam D7000 - as it pushes against the lens release lever by a couple of mm, which decouples the lens slightly and disconnects the AF. So these were all on manual focus. Not a big problem with this type of lens.

Circular fisheyes are great fun for the first half an hour. I wouldn't buy a new one. Col has the Sigma 8mm for FX here - although we've not had that one in the water yet.

Alex

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#37 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 04:59 AM

I'll add a few more thoughts on Ryan's camera choices (as people have been curious). I think it was interesting because I doubt anyone else has had all four of this year's new cameras 100% at their disposal on a trip yet. Hopefully the man himself will add his some thoughts too.

My take on Ryan's thoughts on them were:

5DMk3 - best for video. Despite Nikon's gains the Canon is still the nicest SLR to shoot video with. 8-16mm works very well behind mini-dome.
D800 - Ryan's choice for stills underwater over the Canon. Always used biggest 230mm dome.
D4 - stayed on the boat doing topsides. Until Ryan swapped camera with me for a bit and tried my D4 underwater and then he used the D4 preferentially over the D800 underwater. Back to back the AF performance of the D4 is noticeable better in this situation.
OM-D E-M5 - a very capable camera, but you're always going to use a SLR if you have one. Lent out a lot.

I noticed this the other way too swapping to the D800 from the D4. But money no obstacle I'd use the D800 preferentially for tropical reef photography (scenic) and the D4 for action/big animals and cold water scenics (and I'd still use the D7000 for macro/mini-dome work).

But the bottom line is all 4 are excellent cameras. And most of the differences are not significant and only noticeable to camera geeks (like us) specifically looking for them.

Alex

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#38 SlipperyDick

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 01:20 PM

Ryan had housings for the Nikon D800, Nikon D4, Canon 5DMk3 and Olympus OM-D E-M5.


Classic overcompensation! Posted Image

Seriously though, I'm incredibly jealous of you all! Awesome shots everyone. I hope the weather clears up quickly!

I'd love to see more videos, if you've got them (anyone).

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#39 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 05:46 PM

Almost back to full strength of the team here. Ron, Erin and Honda are back from a day diving in the Cenotes. It was a good call to head down there while the storm was stopping us heading out here.

Fingers crossed that we can go out in the morning and for two great days on the water and hopefully lots of sharkies!

Alex

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#40 Longimanus1975

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 03:53 AM

This trip looks great, any plans to do it next year?