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Member Since 05 Aug 2011
Offline Last Active Jul 14 2015 04:03 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Best solution for a balanced macro rig

13 July 2015 - 07:01 PM

I haven't had any issues with the floats being in the way of putting the strobes where I want them. Just put them on so that the fat sides of the blocks face away from the other arm. The standard clamps are long enough that the arms can be nearly side by side.


Hello CamelToad,


I can see why arm floats work better for you than they do for me. You have longer strobe arms, with an extra section, compared to my set-up. That allows you to keep the floats above the housing, even when you bring the strobes in towards the camera. If you take a look at the first picture in my Flickr link, you will see why that doesn't apply to my set-up. Sometimes I have to pull the clamp up or down to direct the strobes as I like. Even if arm floats didn't bump into each other, I could never pack enough floatation on them to make my rig as buoyant as I want it to be. 




Should I convert to longer strobe arms, or should I be glad to have floatation that lets me get by with short strobe arms? What are the advantages of using long strobe arms versus short ones?


My Ikelite strobes, with NiCad batteries, are really heavy, and my plastic dome is very light. Without floatation, my rig has a tendency to turn upside down, so any floatation on the port would be counter-productive for me. Floatation on your port though, might be a good thing. Good floatation options are different depending on the equipment you are using.


I looked at your Flickr link - very nice pictures you got in Socorro. You did much better than I did when was there. However, I don't think longer strobe arms are the thing that would have improved my results.


John Mccracken

In Topic: Best solution for a balanced macro rig

12 July 2015 - 12:03 PM

As the title suggests I am wondering what solutions people are using for balancing/bouyancy control of their rig when shooting macro. I have been shooting u/w slr for about the last 8 years, but typically shoot w/a.  When shooting wide angle I have used to date a 4" ikelite arm, in conjunction with an 8" ultralight bounacy arm for each strobe (z240s).  I've used this set up over the last 8 years for w/a on the d70, d300 and now d800 and it works for me for w/a.

When shooting macro in the past it was with the 60mm and sea and sea standard port.  Now on FX I have moved to the 105VR, with a more compact port (less bouyancy) and have started to use the nautical smc.  Wooooww, it is negative in the water when I used the  4" ikelite arm, in conjunction with an 8" ultralight bounacy arm for each strobe, and very front heavy.  I see that there are solutions that fit foam on the port 9 (which I guess would solve the front heady issue) and other floatation arm systems. 

What are you using?  How well does the floats on thye port work?





Hello Darragh,


My problem with floatation for macro set-up was that floats on the strobe arms interfered with strobe positioning. That led me to make floats that suspended the rig from above. I spent a lot of time, and used a lot of Divinycell foam, to get the buoyancy just right for different set-ups. Now I have a better version of above-the-housing floatation that allows me to vary buoyancy much more efficiently. By adding or subtracting floats on a string, I can easily get close to neutral buoyancy. If I want to make it perfect, I stick a few quarter ounce (7 gm) tire weights to the bottom plate. 

The Flickr link below describes this solution.





In Topic: Using a mini-altimeter as a leak detector

09 May 2015 - 09:38 AM

Hello Albert,


I think people who are into rocketry use that device to record maximum altitude. Does it have a mode that allows you to continuously observe pressure changes within the housing. How long does it remain on? Something like that would certainly be an improvement over the usual red/green light indicators. 


I see that there is also an "altimetertwo" and an "altimeter3." Do you know how they differ from yours. I think the altimeter3 can de controlled by an iPhone.


Right now, I'm using a rather large aneroid barometer the same way. However, once installed, it shifted some housing controls out of alignment - to fix that problem, I had to I shave quite a bite of material off the bezel and off the back of the thing.     

In Topic: Do 15mm's need servicing?

09 December 2014 - 05:21 PM

Hello David,


In 1985 I bought a 15 mm lens that was used a lot until 1992. Then it was put away until 2011, when my son used it on an old Nikonos V during a trip to the Red Sea. That lens had never been serviced. The knobs worked smoothly, the pictures were in focus, and there were no leaks during the 40 dives he did.


The 15 mm lens is very complex. If it seems to be working OK, then I think there is less risk in taking it on a dive than there would be in having it serviced by someone who may not have worked with one for many years. Do you know anyone who could be trusted with the job?


John McCracken

In Topic: Cuttlefish action in Devon, UK

18 November 2014 - 04:50 AM



Wonderful images. I'll have an opportunity to do a bit of diving in Ireland in May 2015. Does anyone know if there are Irish dive spots where you could witness this kind of cuttlefish action in May? How long do these spawning aggregations last?


John McCracken