Jump to content


Member Since 23 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 10:44 PM

#367453 Papua New Guinea - Milne Bay gallery

Posted by troporobo on 24 November 2015 - 04:23 PM

Great work, as always.  You guys captured some amazing diversity.  Thanks for sharing these shots.


It's very hard to pick favorites, but the free-swimming seahorse is an awesome shot (and it must have been very difficult to seize just that moment).  I really like the vertical version of the pink anemone fish against the green/purple anemone as that is a composition i have had in mind for a long time but haven't found in the wild yet. The little bobtail resting on the substrate is also excellent as those guys are usually so skittish I can barely get one frame before they bury themselves in fright.  Well done on all of them!

#367444 Anilao Nudibranchs EM10, 60mm

Posted by troporobo on 24 November 2015 - 02:55 PM

Nice shots.  I especially like the third one of the flabellina as they are usually entangled in something and hard to isolate visually.


Composition with nudis can be tricky.  Shooting down at the reef almost guarantees distracting backgrounds. Often though you can find them in a spot that allows you to get lower and eliminate some of the background. I've also been trying larger apertures  to blur the background.  Here's two examples from last weekend (also at Anilao) that are not particularly brilliant but show what I am trying:







#366865 Need feedback: newbie with new equipment

Posted by troporobo on 06 November 2015 - 05:32 AM

In general, it's not a bad shot.  For a first outing with a new rig, it's great.  Congratulations.


First the good: Composition is good, exposure is well balanced between the strobe-lit foreground and ambient background, and no backscatter so your lighting setup is spot on.  To get any more of the wreck interior would take off-camera lights. Then the not so good. Edges and corners are really soft. What lens / port did you use?  A smaller aperture may help. Also, I have come to abhor the Olympus "vivid" setting, it just never looks natural.  (full disclosure - I have the same camera and used the same settings for a long time)


Suggestions: In dim lighting, bump the ISO and drop the shutter speed (the strobes control motion anyway) to increase DoF.  A little grain is better than motion blur, and the E-M5 produces useable images at higher ISO anyway (in my experience, up to 800 and just maybe one more stop, under water).   Don't use camera JPEG settings, shoot RAW and adjust later.  With this one, you should be able to pull out some shadow detail and maybe add a little contrast and saturation (hard to know when looking only at this JPEG)


Good luck and have fun!

#366430 macro with diopters - finally getting the hang of this

Posted by troporobo on 24 October 2015 - 03:45 AM

I've been on a quest for a while now to get some decent shots of pygmy seahorses (an opportunity that I am fortunate to have regularly).  I started with the Olympus 12-50 lens on "macro" setting, then tried the Olympus wet lens on top of that, and now have finally acquired a proper macro lens and Subsee +5 and +10 diopters.  I can't believe I didn't just start with the right combination straight away!  I think that I am finally starting to get the hang of this setup.    


Although lighting the little buggers can be a challenge, and I have yet to convince one to look straight at the camera for its portrait, I am happy with these shots. These are pretty much straight out of the camera, with a touch of exposure and contrast correction, but no crop. 


Shot with the Olympus E-M5, 60mm macro lens, Subsee +5, and Inon S-2000 strobes.  



Attached Images

  • P9120096.jpg
  • P9120083.jpg

#364788 HELP!! Olympus OMD EM5 MARK II camera settings

Posted by troporobo on 29 August 2015 - 03:51 PM

Thanks for posting these Jack, its a very handy reference.

There's one change not yet captured in most descriptions I've read. Selection of the small focus point is now much easier with the firmware update. From the SCP, select focus options, press INFO, then up/down arrows to change.

By the way, the original post was spot on about thr Olympus menus, they are indeed a maze.

#364778 HELP!! Olympus OMD EM5 MARK II camera settings

Posted by troporobo on 29 August 2015 - 03:16 AM

How about the comprehensive guide posted by coroander here a while back? Even if the menu structure is different it ought to be possible to map these settings across to the new structure.




(I can't get the UW Photo Guide page to load for some reasons so I don't know if provides a different approach)

#363759 Comparison: Olympus m4/3 macro options

Posted by troporobo on 30 July 2015 - 02:11 AM

Small Collingwoods Chromodis nudi . . . 


Stunning shot!  You must be chuffed to get that on the first outing.


I'd be curious to know what your max magnification ratio and closest focus distance is with that combination?


I would have really liked to test the CMC but it's not available where I am, and I was not willing to take the leap of faith required to buy and ship one without testing. 

#363745 Comparison: Olympus m4/3 macro options

Posted by troporobo on 29 July 2015 - 05:25 PM

I have been on a quest to shoot some small critters (we have pygmy seahorses at two local sites, and lots of other stuff) and looking to get ever closer. But UW gear is hard to get here and expensive and I could not find the sort of lens comparison that I needed to be confident of having the capability that I wanted. I was also curious about the running debate about the Olympus 12-50 lens and whether it is worthwhile getting the expensive Nauticam port and gear to access the 43mm macro mode or just using the 50mm normal mode plus a diopter.


So I put together this simple and somewhat unscientific test to show what is possible with the lenses commonly used by Olympus m4/3 shooters. Lenses are the Olympus 12-50mm zoom and 60mm macro.  Diopters are the Subsee +5 and +10. Camera is an E-M5, housing is Nauticam, and port is the Nauticam with zoom gear. The nudibranch "model" is plastic!  Cutting to the chase, here is what I found: 


60mm macro: Maximum native magnification obviously, diopters take it to 2.5:1 and provide closer focus but not much magnification difference between +5 and +10 diopters, very short working distance with diopters is a challenge.


12-50mm using 43mm macro mode: Usable native macro but not good enough for the smallest targets, not much additional magnification with diopters, working distance with diopters probably too short. 


12-50mm at 50mm normal mode with diopters: Using the +10 produces results very similar to the 43mm macro mode with a useful extension to working distance. However not good enough for my purposes.


Data and photos follow.  Full size versions can be found here: https://www.flickr.c...157656370044855




60mm macro







60mm macro with +5







60mm macro with +10







#363658 18 Years - A Story of a Broken Curse

Posted by troporobo on 27 July 2015 - 02:11 PM

Really beautiful work, and a great story that makes it more powerful.  I am so glad you posted this, because I share your curse.  I've seen plenty of reef mantas over the years but never an oceanic, despite modest efforts to track them down (including an expensive wasted trip hunkering down under a typhoon in Yap).  I need to pick better destinations, but luck and bottom time are all-important. Your shots are inspirational for the unfortunate!


As for improving the film, I have only one thought.  I've always felt that remoras detract from the manta's beauty and are a visual distraction at best.  They look like toads riding Ferraris. Could you remove them?  :-)

#363412 Diving trip to Batangas-Anilao+Poerto-Gallera.....few questions PLZ(my first...

Posted by troporobo on 20 July 2015 - 08:35 AM

September is indeed a risky month to plan a trip in the Philippines. It has nothing to do with wet or dry years, tropical storms can happen anytime and are more likely from August - October. You will probably be OK but there is always a chance of bad luck. If you want to be 99% sure, come in November - May.

However, one of the great things about Anilao is that you can find diveable sites in all but the very worst weather. Diving year round is likely (we have been going to Anilao every month of the year for over 10 years and i can count on one hand the number of times we have not been able to get in the water). The vis might suffer but if you're shooting macro that doesn't matter.

As for resorts, please search here, there has been a lot of advice. In addition to Club O and Crystal Blue, Acacia is very much oriented to photographers. Dive Solana does a good job too.

In my opinion, there isn't much advantage to combining Anilao and PG. They are close together and the dives and marine life are almost identical, with more diversity in Anilao. The only reason to go to PG is if you are looking for a more social place with restaurants and (sometimes dubious) nightlife. Neither are present in Anilao.

Alternatives with more variety include Dumaguete and Apo Island, Bohol, Coron (wrecks), and Malapascua (sharks). Other divers have their favorites, i am sure.

#362364 Debating my first set-up

Posted by troporobo on 17 June 2015 - 04:15 PM

Start here - when you've read all 39 pages you should have a good idea of the potential, and the compromises involved when considering an all purpose setup like the E-M5 with a 12-50 mm zoom versus more specialized rigs:



#361922 mirrorless beginner

Posted by troporobo on 07 June 2015 - 01:16 PM

Full disclosure: I'm biased so take this for what it is worth.  I am very happy with my EM-5 / Nauticam / Inon setup and feel it is a great all round system. I had only the Olympus 12-50 lens for a couple of years and was having a lot of fun with the macro capability and occasionally playing with semi-wide shots.  I like the ability to switch between the two perspectives on one dive. If you have not yet found the comprehensive thread on this camera look here:




I use two Inon S-2000 strobes.  It's perfectly possible to get by with just one for macro.  However anything other than macro is going to require a pair.  These strobes are no good at all for wide angle.  By the way, I had an Olympus housing several years ago and hated it, and have never regretted buying the Nauticam.  


I will eventually go for the EM-1, but I would not buy one now, as Olympus is likely to update that camera soon as they just did with the EM-5 Mark II.  Either the update will be worth waiting for or the original will drop in price!     

#361123 Hypselodoris from Bali?

Posted by troporobo on 15 May 2015 - 05:01 AM

I would have thought that a chromodoris on first sight. It seems very close to c. boucheti 

#360582 New to Diving and Underwater Photography

Posted by troporobo on 28 April 2015 - 04:32 PM

I would find it pretty hard to give generic advice on this question.  But you can learn a lot fairly quickly from on line resources.  Here are a few good places to start in no particular order:








Like others often recommend, I found that Martin Edge's book "The Underwater Photographer" is an excellent beginner's course to get up to speed.


Looking at other people's work and trying to understand how they made an image is a very good way to learn.  There's Wetpixel of course, sites of the pros, competition results, the Nat Geo photo if the day UW category, lots of Flickr groups, etc


The trick is remembering all that you need once under water!


Finally, if you are a new diver, the most important advice I can think of is to get good at diving before even thinking about taking the camera along.  Buoyancy control, safety, and making sure you don't run out of air come first and need to be close to automatic.  You don't want any chance of photography distracting you from staying alive!

#359985 xenia crabs: two for the price of one

Posted by troporobo on 13 April 2015 - 05:36 AM

Thanks a lot guys, you've given some great ammunition. If only I had not just ordered a new BCD and air integrated computer . . . clearly my prioritization of life support over imaging needs a rethimk!