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Member Since 04 Jan 2009
Offline Last Active Feb 21 2018 10:37 PM

#334863 Grey Nurse Shark Rescue

Posted by Aussiebyron on 26 July 2013 - 03:28 AM




It basically started out as what I do almost everyday and that is go out and take photos/video for myself and for the Diveshop I also work for (Sundive, Byron Bay).  In recent weeks we started to see you annual aggregation of Grey Nurse Shark which move into Julian Rocks Marine park over the Winter and Spring months.  With the Grey Nurse Shark here on the East Coast of Australia being classsed as a Critically endangered species we are fortunate enough to get close interaction with good numbers of the Sharks in a small area around Julian Rocks. I have seen how even in recent years the numbers of sharks that visit increase from only a handful to numbers which are hard to count  (as you can see with the video clip posted above showing the amount of Sharks in a un cropped 5minute clip). From my posting of Video and stills on Sundives Facebook page which also included shots of GNS which had large stainless steel circle hooks:




From these stills and video above the staff from Sea World on the Gold Coast decided that they would come down and check if the animals are still in the area. Couplr of dives later and we confirmed that the two GNS where infact still in the area and the rescue mission was given the go ahead for the next day.  Here is a few photos of that event taken from my iphone as I had my camera housed as a backup camera.



Heading down to Julian rocks onboard the Sea World research and rescue boat.



Back of the boat waiting for divers to return after the first attempt of capture.



2.4m Male captured after a 10 minute fight from being lassoed



Shark with a stainless circle hook from commerical long line fishers



The size of the hook removed after bolt cutters where used



It was actually an amazing story to have one of your photos start something like this rescue and to be able to be there through the whole event. 


Regards Mark


#334182 Zen minidome for Aquatica - advice required

Posted by Aussiebyron on 11 July 2013 - 06:14 PM

Simon I believe you wont see many Aquatica users with the Zen mini dome as they normally, like myself buy the Aquatica mini dome because its basically the same thing but $200 cheaper and its made for your housing. 


I had a quick look at the zen website and there are different models for the Zen 100mm for each manufacture and also lens combination http://www.zenunderw...ts.php?prodID=4


Aquatica mount:

  • DP-100-HCR for the Canon 8-15 FE
  • DP-100-AN for the Nikkor 10.5mm FE
  • DP-100-AT for the Tokina 10-17mm FE

Maybe double check to see if you have the correct dome for the setup your using?


Regards Mark

#332533 D7000 shooting video; AF settings??

Posted by Aussiebyron on 07 June 2013 - 08:02 PM

I do a bit of video on my Nikon D7000, mainly with the Tokina 10-17mm.  The Tokina is very forgiving with focusing especially if you shooting in at 10mm.  I leave the AF on AF-S and what I do is focus through the viewfinder first and then turn on liveview for the video. Trying to use AF through liveview will make it hunt and it bascially isnt worth bothering with. 


Here is a video I knocked up with the Tokina 10-17mm and the D7000 using the same method........(watch in HD so you can see how sharp it is)



Regards Mark

#332139 Wobbegongs

Posted by Aussiebyron on 31 May 2013 - 01:51 AM



We get 3 species of Wobbegongs here at Byron (Ornate, spotted and Hale's Wobbegongs) and respect must be given to them.  I think Jim is correct regarding the comment that Wobbegongs bite more people than any other Shark species in Australia.  Several of my friends and myself included have been bitten over the years and my case was with a 3m Hale's Wobby.  The Wobbegong are famous for biting and locking their Jaws onto their victim, even to the point where I have seen spearfishermen walk up the beach with a Wobbegong still attached to some part of their body.  Its been suggested that fresh water flushed down a Wobby's throat soon gets the animal to release.  I also beleive that most attacks are from people not seeing the Wobby and putting their hands/feet/bum on the animal with it biting as a defence. Yes you heard right, a couple fo my mates have been bitten on the bum. Also the size of a Wobby doesnt put them off as I have seen foot long Wobby's come up and bite full grown man.


Having said that I still dive with these sharks on a very regular basis and you soon get to know when a Wobby isnt in the mood for its photo to be taken.  I take it for granted that Julian Rocks Byron Bay is cover with Wobbegongs and not as much attention is placed on this interesting and unique shark.


Here is a shot on the fly at small area which I counted 20 Wobbegongs of different Species.  You can see the bigger Hale's Wobbegong in the middle top of the shot.




Regards Mark

#331944 Byron Bay Macro

Posted by Aussiebyron on 27 May 2013 - 04:21 AM

Alastair when all the wide angle action slows down I will take you on a Macro dive and show you all the cool stuff.  Hugo's trench is the best place for Nudi's at Julian Rocks. Its common to find 15-20 different species on a single dive.


Regards Mark

#331943 Housing Sentry Vacuum Seal

Posted by Aussiebyron on 27 May 2013 - 04:05 AM

Did you press every control button on your vacuum housing on the surface before the dive?


If I leave my manual pump connected to my vacuum housing on dry land and test every control button wouldn't this also find out potential control button o-ring failures.  One could also find it easy to located which control button o-ring is failing and doing so in a much safer environment (outside of water).


Regards Mark

#331927 Housing Sentry Vacuum Seal

Posted by Aussiebyron on 26 May 2013 - 10:10 PM

One feedback on the Housing Sentry is that many people prefer to remove the hydrophone since they don't use it anyway (and complain that the cord gets in the way).  The Housing Sentry uses a differenct port.  I personally like the option of having a mic available but honestly have not used it yet.  I will when I get into experimenting with video this year. 
I use my housing sentry on my Hydrophone port of my Aquatica AD7000 as you can see by the pics on the first post.  Honestly with Video there isnt much difference between using the Hydrophone and not using it.
Here is a video without using the Hydrophone.


Honestly I would much prefer a vacuum seal as standard housing part than a Hydrophone....


Regards Mark



#331887 Byron Bay Macro

Posted by Aussiebyron on 26 May 2013 - 03:58 AM

haven't tried macro in Byrons bay yet but i will do... didn't see as many Nudibranchs as i was hoping for.....


Just need to know where to look Alastair ;-)

#331753 Old wives of Sydney

Posted by Aussiebyron on 22 May 2013 - 07:35 PM

Just use your Iphone panorama Matt ;-)

#331583 Housing Sentry Vacuum Seal

Posted by Aussiebyron on 19 May 2013 - 06:10 AM

I actually put my housing together and vacuum seal it the night before or hours before I am diving. Then I test to see if there is a vacuum just before I go out on the boat.  If the seal is going to fail it will most likely be during this time. I dont see the point in an electronic part to keep monitoring the vacuum during the dive especially if it cost an extra $200. 


Regards Mark

#330546 Critique appreciated

Posted by Aussiebyron on 29 April 2013 - 04:56 PM

I personally would be trying to darken the back ground more especially if your at 30m and you have a sunburst or at that depth a sun blob coming through.  I feel that the Lionfish fills up too much of the frame and a bit of the low fins are right on the boarder of the frame.


As other have said a wider aperture like f8-f10 for better depth of field.  I would be shooting at your lowest ISO and shooting a higer shutter speed or the highest you have which syncs with your strobes.  Higher shutter speed darkens the background and I feel gives a better colour graduation when you have the Sun in the back ground.  Regarding strobes try the same shot in TTL and then try manual strobes with 3/4 power and then full power.  I prefer to shoot manual for wide as you know what they are going to do everytime you shoot. 


Have you tried just shooting the 8mm Fisheye without the TC? Just have to get use to getting really close and having good strobe placement.


Write down some different setting on a slate and when your in a position to do so and take a few shots with those different settings and when your back infront of a computer decide what setting you like best and go from there. 


Regards Mark

#330484 Leopard Sharks

Posted by Aussiebyron on 28 April 2013 - 08:00 PM

Here is a collection of Leopard Sharks (aka Zebra Sharks to those in the USA) taken at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia. These graceful and often friendly Sharks visit every summer and often in large numbers.


Unedited shots taken with the Nikon D7000 and Tokina 10-17mm or Samyang 8mm.













And my current favourite:





Cheers Mark

#330483 Wobbegongs

Posted by Aussiebyron on 28 April 2013 - 07:49 PM

Here is a collection of Wobbegong images taken recently at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia.  The site in famous for Wobbegongs and the locals dont bother to point them out to people as they are huge numbers of them everywhere all year round.


Here are some unedited shots taken with a Nikon D7000 and either the Tokina 10-17mm or the Samyang 8mm:







Cheers Mark

#329961 I hate the dead blue faced zombie diver photos

Posted by Aussiebyron on 18 April 2013 - 10:50 PM

Don are you after something along the lines of these shots?


Unedited uncropped






Regards Mark


Don the whole idea of using filters on strobes is due to the higher colour temp of Inon strobes (5500K) when compared with the lower temp and warmer looking Ikelites (4900k).  This is the major reason why people who shoot alot of wideangle prefer to use the bigger and heavier Ikelites in blue water diving. 


I agree with Giles if your not getting close enough to the Subject your not getting enough light onto the subject and a colour filter will not do much to bring out natural skin colour. As you know the distance a strobe can light up a subject is greatly reduced when shooting through water and its a bit like trying to lighten up someones face when they are standing in a shadow. You need direct light on the face not a colour correction filter.


This is why alot of people use a Fisheye lens. Not because of the distortion it gives but the ability to get very close to the subject while not filling the whole frame with the subject. This allows then enough strobe light to light the whole subject.


My examples above are shot with the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm.  I am close to the subject, the subject is getting lite up by the strobes and also there is little distortion as the isnt too close to the lens. 


I agree with Giles again if your after shots of people in the water ask people before hand if they wouldnt mind. I dont think I have had someone yet to refuse me taking their photo underwater.


So borrow a fisheye like the Tokina 10-17mm, ask your potential models if they are willing, and get close as you can while still fitting them whole in the frame and I bet you wont be having the blue faced zombie faces again.


Regards Mark

#328548 Tokina 10-17 for sharks. mini dome or 8"?

Posted by Aussiebyron on 25 March 2013 - 05:34 AM

Another thing to consider that if you went with a Zeni min dome it is only designed for the Tokina 10-17mm with the Ikelite setups.  If you go with the Ikelite 8 inch dome you can use a huge range of lenses with the addition of suitable extension rings.  By looking at that I believe the most versatile dome for your Ikelite would be the 8inch dome and then choose which lens you want to house it. 


Honestly if you cant shoot a shark with a 10-17mm as its too far away when its going to be too far away to get any light from your strobes on it.  So you might as well shoot strobeless with the Tokina 10-17mm and crop to get the same ordinary dull  image ( unless your trying to get a silhouette image).  


If your after some sort of general purpose lens which has a large zoom there is the Sigma 17-70mm Macro.  It might be suited if you needed that extra reach for far away subjects.  I personally found the Sigma 17-70 a pain as it wasnt wide enough when shooting wide angle and macro was useless as you have to shoot the lens behind a larger dome.  Every time I used the Sigma for wide angle I wished I had just taken the Tokina 10-17mm out instead. Now the Sigme sits on my desk and never gets used (its for sale if anyone is interested in a Nikon mount).


Why I love the Tokina 10-17mm. It fast to focus. Focuses right up to the dome. and is wide enough to fit most large subjects in so you can get close fill the frame and light the whole subject up.


Here are some shots to show you what the Tokina 10-17mm can do:








Regards Mark