Jump to content


Member Since 25 Sep 2007
Offline Last Active Apr 26 2014 04:23 PM

#337375 Lembeh vs Anilao

Posted by vetdiver on 23 September 2013 - 07:02 AM

We have been to both places on multiple occasions.  The macro/critter life is excellent at both places, and it is true that Anilao is easier to get to from the states.  However, in my opinion, Lembeh has the edge in terms of resort quality, conditions, critter density - and especially (sorry, Dustin) wide angle sites.  There are sites along the edges of the Strait and the backside of the island that are phenomenal, and there are a couple of nice shipwrecks in the Strait, as well.  Steve Williams wrote an article on WP recently about returning to diving after a medical issue, and he posted lovely images as well as a trip video that demonstrate  some of Lembeh's W/A. 


Note - this is a matter of opinion - I know many divers who love Anilao and return often! 

#323728 Favourite Image Of 2012

Posted by vetdiver on 03 January 2013 - 07:31 AM

I love this thread - Pam Murph, your image is lovely, and I love the humor of the model's Mickey ears!

This year, after 20 years of diving open circuit, I got certified to dive on a closed-circuit rebreather. My class was at the beginning of July, and I had to put aside my camera for a while afterwards so I could become comfortable with new buoyancy and other skills. The first day I took my camera back out, I was pretty nervous; I could hardly shoot for constantly checking my pO2. That dive day coincided with what we in Southern California see as a nearly annual event - an influx of jellyfish that come in briefly, then disappear. This year's jelly was a pretty uncommon one, the black sea nettle. (I had only seen one of these before, years ago, and it was pretty beaten up.) Seeing tens of them in the water column on this day was incredible. We brought some friends out to shoot them 2 days later, and the vis and jelly numbers had dropped precipitously.

This image was my favorite of the year because it was the first real encounter I'd had with these creatures...and most of all because it was my first day getting used to diving a rebreather with my camera in hand. I didn't take many photos, but because there weren't a bunch of exhalation bubbles, I got a few keepers anyways.

Here's to great diving and successful shooting in 2013!!

Attached Images

  • black sea nettle (1 of 1).jpg

#315400 Underwater photography - The professionals

Posted by vetdiver on 28 August 2012 - 09:30 AM

I encouraged my husband (Andy Sallmon) to respond - he wanted to, but he is on the road today (working - see a theme?) and asked me to put in a bit about him. He started diving back in '79 and was an instructor by '80 - and diving all the time (and with a camera) even when he wasn't teaching. Years later, he found he was making quite a bit of money from images, so he started saving up for his dream. He quit his day job and went pro back in the '90's, thinking at the time that he'd maybe get a year or two of time before he had to go back to a cubicle - and as Walt describes, it was a different world. I know that Andy made a lot more of his actual income from photos then - fewer people pursued it, and as film was the medium, it made improving rapidly much more difficult.

He added sales repping for several underwater imaging companies to the mix after a few years, and certainly, that is the majority of his income - but from my standpoint, it counts. While I am at work talking about science, Andy is at work, talking about diving, underwater photography techniques, and gear. It cracks me up to come home and walk into his office and listen to his "work" discussions! Gear sales have changed in recent years, though, too - there is less money to go around.

His hours are long - he definitely works much longer/harder than I do, and his work does not stop on Friday afternoon at 5 or 6 pm. There have been times that he gets an offer to do an assignment or a shoot, and plans will have to change in an instant - which can stink. Also, he does get to travel to some amazing places, but having seen what it takes to run a trip, I can assure you - it is hard work (I recall a trip last year - we were both jetlagged zombies, and he was trying to put together a passenger's gear, which had been (a) flooded and (b) additionally damaged - I think there was a pin sheared off from the sync port - and he stayed up for hours getting it to work while I went to bed and collapsed). Not a dreamy vacation by anyone's standards.

I think some of what makes it work for him, aside from his unstoppable work ethic, is the fact that he truly, truly loves diving and the ocean - we are always diving, even when the conditions stink, and he is always shooting, even on days that the conditions are so appalling that I refuse to bother. If I leave him alone on a boat for 10 minutes, I always come back to find him discussing diving and/or photogrpahy with another passenger, and he always tries to ensure that he comes away with a new contact - if for no other reason than we have someone new to split a local charter with us. He has maintained a lot of relationships from years in the industry, which sometimes brings him business from unexpected sources. He also has to be willing to shoot things that aren't terribly exciting, and he has to be enthusiastic and kind about doing so.

The final thing - Alex touched on this - is budgeting. Andy doesn't just run out and buy gear or even a new pair of flip flops on a whim. Everything is carefully considered, even when he has a few great months. You never know when money is coming in, and sometimes, invoices must be sent over and over and over... It blows my mind. The sporadic nature of his income would never work for me, I'd be a total stress case.

I think having home support is a factor, too, though maybe it's not primary - I do think it's helped that I'm a freak about diving and photography, as well - we bounce ideas off of each other and it's more fun to do presentations together, we're more prolific with articles as a team, and I hope it makes it easier when I can manage to be understanding about last-minute solo trips to places that I'd love to go...at the end of the day, this is his primary work and not mine.

I'll ask Andy to check this later and make sure I've got it all in here - oh, the one other thing he did mention was not giving work away for free - other than the occasional donation, compensation for work is critical. This is something that all of us must uphold...but I think Tony Wu has discussed this best on his blog, so I'll leave it at that.


#299956 Dry suits

Posted by vetdiver on 20 January 2012 - 06:08 AM

I currently have 3 DUI dry suits - a CF200 (mainly used back when I dove in New England years ago), a TLS350, and a FLX Extreme. I previously owned a Bare suit, but it didn't fit me as well as DUI's stuff. I can highly recommend DUI, and I especially recommend you look at the FLX Extreme (a reinforced trilaminate that dries as quickly as a TLS). I got it in spring of 2011 and have put over 200 dives on it...it is the best suit I've owned.

Keep in mind that I am biased towards DUI because I live in San Diego about 5 miles from the service center...but also because I regularly see one or more of their employees (at all levels of the company) diving locally. It wasn't long ago that we were diving a wreck on the Mexican border and surfaced to discover a few of them waiting for us to pull anchor.

Best, and good luck - as with all dive gear, it takes some time and experience to decide what works best for you :D