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JackConnick

Member Since 29 Dec 2001
Offline Last Active Dec 04 2016 08:40 AM
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Topics I've Started

Beyond Here There Be Dragons! Komodo Island on Damai 1 - Jan-Feb 2017

12 July 2016 - 10:55 AM

Beyond Here There be Dragons! Komodo Island, Indonesia (Laboanbajo to Maumere)
Underwater Photo Expedition on the Damai I Liveaboard.
January 28 - February 8th, 2017

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Komodo National Park, located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, is composed of three major islands (Rinca, Komodo, and Padar) and numerous smaller ones, all of them of volcanic origin. Located at the meeting of two continental plates, this national park constitutes the “shatter belt” within the Wallacea Biogeographical Region, between the Australian and Sunda ecosystems. The park is identified as a global conservation priority area, comprising unparalleled terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The dry climate has triggered specific evolutionary adaptation within the terrestrial flora that range from open grass-woodland savanna to tropical deciduous (monsoon) forest and quasi cloud forest. The rugged hillsides and dry vegetation highly contrast with the sandy beaches and the blue coral-rich waters.
 
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The park is best known for the Komodo “dragon” monitor, the world's largest living lizard, measuring up to 8’ long!
 
Upwelling of nutrient-rich water from deeper areas of the archipelago is responsible for the rich reef ecosystem. Because of the strong currents formed by the tides going in and out of the north, the reefs off  Komodo have incredible species diversity.
 
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The variety of marine life that you can see in Komodo rivals any of the world's best dive destinations. From sunfish, mantas, dolphins and eagle rays to pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus, all are at home amongst a spectacular range of colorful sponges, sea squirts, tunicates and corals; Komodo is a macro enthusiast's heaven. For wide angle photographers there are lots of great walls, sea mounts, huge sponges and opportunities for larger animals like sharks, mantas, tuna and rays. It is also home to dugongs and other mammals.
 
In Jan/February, when we are going, there are generally less than ideal conditions up north, but good conditions in the south. Horseshoe Bay a favorite spot, is cold in the summer - in the 60's at times. But in the winter, it's bluer, clearer, and warmer, getting into the 80's, but still with incredible marine life. The other benefit of going to Komodo during the winter is that almost all other liveaboards have moved east to Raja Ampat, so it tends to be way more "exclusive", with very little competition for dive sites.
 
This charter is a re-positioning cruise, as the boat leaves the Komodo area and goes to Flores Island. Although 11 days in length, we are only being charged for 10! Access is good from both ports; easy non-stop flights from Bali.
 
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Our schedule in Komodo itself for the first 6 days mostly focuses on the southern parts of the area. Horseshoe Bay (Nusa Kode) includes world class dive sites Cannibal Rock, Yellow Wall, Torpedo Alley, Pelican Head, and Rodeo Rock (amongst others). One could easily spend a full week diving just this area, and be very happy and productive.
 
After day 6, we will head east from Komodo, crossing the N. coast of Flores, diving along the way. There will still be good diving, but more motoring than the previous week (there may not be night dives on the days with long crossings).  There are more macro opportunities in these few days, but also some decent walls, and a very interesting visit to Komba volcano for a dive and evening "fireworks" show (Vulcan willing).
 
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MV Damai I
This beautifully designed wooden boat been designed to offer a personal luxury service that only a vessel of this size that is dedicated to small groups can provide.
 
With an overall length of 40 meters (130 feet) and a beam of over 8 meters (26 feet) the vessel has 7 staterooms with a choice of single cabins, twins, doubles or two spacious master cabins. All cabins are furnished with queen or king sized beds, and ensuite heads.
 
The vessel has been designed with three large deck areas for relaxing in both the sun or shade and for enjoying relaxing massage and spa treatments.
 
Specifically designed for divers, the vessel offers large dive stations with individual rinse tanks and a camera room with separate camera work stations with integrated 110v and 220v charging station for each photographer. The vessel offers a divemaster/guide to customer ratio of 4 to 1, ensuring the best service underwater as well as onboard.
 
More on the Damai 1 Liveaboard Here.
Take a 360° Photo Tour Here.
 
Sign-up Here, or Call 800-359-1295 or Email us for more information!
Download a trip flyer Here.
 
Your trip leader Jack Connick from Optical Ocean Sales will be available to help you with presentation on subjects ranging from strobe positioning to Photoshop Lightroom. He is also available to help you with equipment issues. Take part in as much, or as little, as you like.
 
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Prices:
Twin Share Cabin (1 cabin - 2 spaces available): $5600
Single Cabin: $7350
Note: The boat is more than half full and cabins (1, 2, 5, 6, 7) are booked. The remaining cabins are large and comfortable for either one couple or a single. We do have the flexibility to take either female or male singles at this time.
 
50% deposit upon booking, final payment due Sept 2016.
All deposits are non-refundable, but transferable to another person for the same trip.
 
Included in your Package:
• 12 Days/11 Nights on board the Damai I Liveaboard
• 4 dives a day offered
• Photo presentations & assistance
• All meals served in a fine dining environment
• Beer, drinks and 1 glass of wine each night onboard
• Airport transfers to/from boat
 
Not Included: Airfare, $110 for Nitrox, Equipment rentals, Park & Port Fees. $42/day all-inclusive rate available.


Trip Report: Egypt & The Red Sea Aggressor Photo Expedition

30 March 2016 - 11:33 AM

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Trip Report: Egypt & The Red Sea Aggressor Photo Expedition
 

The last time I saw the Egyptian Pyramids was 18 years ago. A lot has changed, and a lot hasn’t, having already all ready lasted 5,000 years. One of the things that was new is the lack of tourists, mostly due to misplaced fear. Fear of different cultures, and fear of the unknown. Some is founded on media hype, and some is due to mistrust, but most of it is misplaced.

Divers, however, are a strange breed. When somebody yells “shark”, most people run away, but divers say “Where?” and jump in the water. Underwater photographers are even worse. They’re experienced divers who want to take shots of the most unusual animals and situations. They may be apprehensive and careful - that’s a good thing - but never so scared that they miss a great opportunity.

Our Optical Ocean Sales Photo Expedition was for two weeks; Feb. 22 to March 7th, 2016. Twenty people had signed up, but as usual we had a few drop out due to work conflicts or health reasons, and a few join in. Several dropped out, however, because they were afraid of the political situation or for their safety. And I’ve had several inquiries since we’ve been back asking if we had problems, or if the Egyptian people were hostile to us. We all found that the answer was quite the opposite. We had a great time. We felt quite safe. People were extremely warm and friendly, just as they were on my last trip to Egypt, 18 years ago. Some things in Egypt, like the Pyramids, don’t change. It’s all a matter of perspective.

We started out our land tour in crazy, raucous Cairo (“why use your turn signal, when you can use your horn?”). This is a terribly over crowded city, with heavy, 24/7 traffic. Cairo is the very definition of urban sprawl with 24 million people. It now surrounds the Giza plateau, which was once well out into the desert.... Continued

 

Flickr albums:

(all photos with a Nikon D800)

Diving

Cairo & Giza

Luxor

 

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Correcting Lens Distortion in Underwater Photos

18 February 2016 - 09:59 PM

New blog article:
Correcting Lens Distortion in Underwater Photos

 

Fisheye lenses are generally the preferred wide angle lens underwater due to their close focusing ability, sharp corners and wide field of view. Divers can get very close to their subjects, filling the frame, and eliminating water which makes their photos lack sharpness, color and definition.

But there is a drawback to fisheye lenses; when shooting the straight lines, commonly of a pier or wreck, models or other similar subjects - optical distortion is introduced.

It's easy to correct in Lightroom with most lenses, and micro four-thirds lenses have some base correction built in, but it's usually not enough. For them a quick trip to Photoshop does the trick.

This new blog article shows you how to correct these problems in Lightroom and or Photoshop.

 

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FS: Fisheye Fix UWL 28M52R Wet Mount Lens

11 February 2016 - 03:17 PM

FS: Fisheye Fix UWL 28M52R Wet Mount Lens

 

I have one Fisheye Fix UWL28M52R wet mountable lens for sale. Demo unit, has been lightly used on a trip or two and some shop dives.

 

Comes 52mm, but an adapter is available to convert to 67mm. Full price offer will include this adapter, normally $13. Works great on compact cameras and many housings including Nauticam, Fantasea (RX100III & IV), Olympus and others. Very good FOV.

 

Has one very tiny pinpoint nick that doesn't show when underwater. Otherwise in excellent shape. In box, with cover, manual, etc.

 

Normally $400.

 

Now $225, includes cc/PayPal and free ground shipping in cont. US.

 

Email: Jack@opticaloceansales.com

800-359-1295


FS: Nauticam LX100 housing System & Camera - Demo, as new

11 February 2016 - 03:07 PM

Nauticam LX100 housing System & Camera - Demo, as new

 

We have one Nauticam LX100 demo system for sale, very lightly used on one trip and a couple of shop dives (probably a total of 10 dives). As new, in boxes, full 1 year warranty. Has all the latest features including the remote trigger and vacuum valve. Included as well is the LX100 camera in very good shape with box, etc.

 

Includes:

#17710 NA-LX100 Housing with standard port

#25612 M16 Vacuum Valve

#38702 N50 Acrylic dome port

#71204 Nauticam Flexitray Wide, with left handle

#71204 Nauticam Flexitray Right Handle

#71311 Flexitray Strobe Mount Balls (2)

Above has full 1 year warranty.

 

Panasonic LX100 Camera,

boxes, manuals, flash, charger, etc.

Spare battery

 

New this system is $2800

Now Only $2100

Including paypal/cc and free ground shipping in the cont. US.

 

I will consider selling it without the Flexitray system for -$200.

Email: Jack@opticaloceansales.com

800-359-1295