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Member Since 23 Jul 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 04:18 PM

Topics I've Started

How do you shoot a black hole?

18 February 2018 - 12:14 AM

I found a very small black hairy frogfish recently but, despite working on it for a while, struggled to get a decent image.  How the heck do you shoot something that absorbs all light while it is sitting on a bright reflective sandy bottom?!


As shown, I eventually settled on using one strobe high and to the left to try to get a little relief from the lighting, but it was only partly successful.  Standard macro front lighting produced an unrecognizable blob as it just washed out all the texture. I wanted to also try backlighting, but was in less than 2 m of water, fighting the surge with nothing to brace against, and just couldn't get a good stable position. 


I'd love some tips for the next time I get this opportunity.




FS: complete Olympus E-M5 / Nauticam / Inon system

28 August 2017 - 07:26 PM

I love my system and it has served me very well.  But I am planning to upgrade, still Olympus and Nauticam, and can't hold out anymore.  So I would like to sell the following system in whole or in subpackages as listed.  I do not want to sell individual items at this stage.  Here's a photo of (almost) everything.  I am happy to send clearer shots via email if desired.  


I am based in the Philippines, but will be in California in a couple of weeks so would ship from there after 15 September.  Any questions, just ask!





Fishing at Anilao: bad and getting worse

10 July 2017 - 07:19 PM

We've been noticing a significant uptick in fishing activity around Anilao.  There have always been fishers out in small bancas, handlines here and there, and the teams with nets at night especially around Maricaban island and further offshore.  More recently, there are fishers casting from shore right in front of the resorts, and others mooring their bancas to the buoys at the recognized dive sites.  Perhaps most shocking has been sightings of the boat boys from resorts fishing while their diving guests are below!
The result is predictable - noticeable decline in fish life, and particularly, the disappearance of the popular school of bigeye jacks at Twin Rocks. 
But last weekend our group had a serious incident that really troubles me.  We were ascending from quite near Sombrero island, half way through a safety stop at 5m, when we spotted this coming straight at us:
There were three small bancas that had set a net and were pulling it into a circle, while boys were freediving down to grab their catch, with our dive group in the middle!  I fired off a quick photo for evidence before we quickly descended and waited for the net to pass before surfacing. I'm still shaking from the thought of getting tangled in a net with tanks low on air at the end of a 60 minute dive. 
There is no way this was an innocent blunder.  It was sunny and calm and our neon orange SMB was at the surface, clearly visible.  Our own banca was within 20 meters.  And when we got to the surface there were 5 other dive bancas in the immediate vicinity, all with groups down below, and no one on the surface had warned the fishers nor could they understand why we surfaced shouting in alarm.  
Now, I understand that fishing is allowed in all but three small protected areas near the shore.  And I have a lot of empathy for the poor fishers who are out to get food and make a living.  I know full well that they get no benefit from dive tourism and zero share of the income from dive passes sold (and enforced vigorously) by the barangay officials that are supposed to protect the environment.  But the irresponsibility of every person on the surface, knowing without a doubt that there were divers in the water whose safety was obviously at risk, was just unbelievable.
I also know that there is very little that we can do about this.  I have started snapping photos of the guys fishing from resort bancas while on dive excursions and sending them to the resorts, but have yet to get a single acknowledgement.  There's no point in taking up the issue of fishing at recognized dive sites with barangay officials because (a) its legal and (b) they are surely only interested in trousering as much of the dive pass income as they can.  But I am upset and not willing to just keep shrugging it off. 
I would welcome thoughts from the community on maybe starting an information campaign on safety, and other ideas on how to approach this worsening situation constructively.