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Member Since 30 Aug 2013
Offline Last Active Nov 13 2016 09:52 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: OMD-EM5 won't always turn on

13 November 2016 - 09:52 AM

I had the same problem with my EM5 the last day of a 6 day live aboard trip in Channel Islands.

Try cleaning the battery contacts on both the battery and inside camera.

Regardless of how 'dry' I though my hands were during battery swaps some moisture caused minor corrosion / film to build up and interfere with the connection.

One of my buddies used diluted vinegar on q-tips and scrubbed the contacts clean, dried them and it has worked fine for past year.

Good luck

Adam Taylor

In Topic: Vancouver Aquarium Allegations

09 February 2016 - 11:01 AM

I will have to watch the video to comment on it's content, but have heard LOTS of chatter about it. From what I have heard the 'documentary' is very biased and some information has been used out of context.


Perhaps someone with more knowledge of the specifics can comment?


Having been involved in a number of Citizen Science and Marine Conservation initiatives with the Vancouver Aquarium I have nothing but respect for the individual researchers and the organization for it's efforts in those specific areas.


Before tarring the whole organization with the same brush consider both the source of the video, and the other initiatives the Vancouver Aquarium is part of (science, conservation, education, marine mammal rescue / rehabilitation etc)


I will reserve judgement on the whales in captivity part until I have time to watch the video.


This issue, and discussing support of the organization should be relevant to the Underwater Photography Community as they have a number science initiatives that local underwater photographers can and do contribute towards. Off the top of my head these include; Rockfish Surveys, Annual Lingcod Egg Mass survey, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, Glass Sponge Reefs etc.


Input from their researchers and support from the organization has helped with numerous conservation issues over the years which are directly relevant to Scuba Divers and Underwater Photographers. Some of these include creation of Rockfish Conservation Areas, reintroduction of Black Rockfish to Howe Sound and Bottom Fishing Closures for Straight of Georgia Glass Sponge Reefs. Aquarium staff are working with other non-profit groups that I am involved with on two other glass sponge reef initiatives;


1) Proposed expansion of Halkett Bay Provincial Park to include glass sponge gardens and glass sponge reef (bioherm) all of which are within recreational scuba depths.


2) Expansion of Bottom Fishing Closures to include ALL known glass sponge reefs in Howe Sound (5 of which occur shallow enough for air diving which is unique in the world).






In Topic: Sola Photo 800 query

31 January 2016 - 03:13 PM

Hi folk, I feel embarrassed at having to ask this, but I have just switched from a fantasea nano focus light - which turns off at crucial moment of strobes flash - to Sola photo 800 - which does not. Not had time or opportunity to use and see how it works....
I bought it so I could:
*use it with red light at night etc, and not to frighten creatures, and
*to use as general dive light.
*But ALSO, and most importantly, to use as a focus light; still photos not video.
I am mounting it with YS mount on top of camera housing (Canon compact S120 and housing; 2xInon s2000 strobes)
So -
Q1 if it stays on when the strobes flash, does it not completely overexpose? Is it just a question of trial and error?
Q2 Is it preferable (for the above reason) to use it on just red for photos? and keep the white for a general dive light
Q3 If so, does it significantly change the colour cast of the photo?
All and any help/advice very welcome

Hi Trwen,


I thought I would chime in as the vast majority of my diving is done in similar murky waters. (Howe Sound next to Vancouver, British Columbia has significant levels of plankton and tidal influences from 4 river systems meaning that fresh water mixing and sediment is often heavy down to 40+ foot depth. Apparently the combined drainage area of these rivers is equivalent to the land mass of Great Britain)


If your conditions are as bad as they sound you will be wanting as much light as possible, and for the price and flexibility the Sola 800 should be a good option.


I use a Sola Photo 800 with my Olympus EM5, initially mounted to a single 10" arm on one side with a YS-D1 strobe mounted to same size arm on the other. On high power it worked as a decent 'fill' light from the opposite side.


After purchasing a second strobe I went to double 8" arms and mounted the Sola  800 to the housing's cold shoe using a flexible loc-line arm. This allowed me to extend up over the subject for focus light and macro video, with the added bonus of twisting the arm down so the sola was alongside the port for use in lighting under boulders or into cracks. It's one thing to bounce your strobe light under a boulder, but completely another to have enough light to compose and focus on a small, skittish subject hiding in a dark crack.


On high power I have also used it as a fill light for Close Focus Wide Angle, especially when subjects are close up to a wider dome which sometimes casts a shadow.


Comments on your initial questions;


1) I have not had overexposure issues from the Sola, it really doesn't compete with the strobes unless they are manually dialed down to their lowest settings.

2) Red works well with skittish critters, and for my camera's autofocus.That being said the image on my LCD is so red that my eyes cannot adjust and fine-tune focus manually. Basically I cannot tell the difference between something which appears to be in focus, and something which is tack-sharp. With the Sola on white I can magnify 5-10X on my LCD and manually focus on the smallest details. On red I cannot even confirm focus beyond the shape of the subject.

3) Under normal circumstances I haven't really noticed any difference in photos when the light is on red. If I was experimenting with settings, a strobe didn't fire, or kelp floated between my subject and the strobe I would occasionally notice a change in colour tone, but those images were poorly lit and never keepers anyway.


My one main complaint is battery life for multiple dives, especially in cold water. When used mostly on low setting (with occasional medium setting) it will last over a couple of long dives . On High it will be drained by the end of a single long dive.


Based on 3 years experience with the Sola Photo 800 I would say it is useful for critter spotting, but not as good as a bright spot beam would be. Given the choice I would prefer a spot, or video light with spot capabilities for critter finding.


I bring this up as in plankton-rich or sediment filled water the Sola 800 throws a wide beam which lights up ALL the particles in the water column. With the light mounted to the camera which is typically held out in front it ruins your ability to spot things at a distance, and lessens your ability to spot things beyond the edge of the lit area (think octopus hiding next to a boulder)... The broad beam also casts a much gentler shadow from well camouflaged subjects. In low viz, especially on night dives I often find myself holding the camera up over my head so the wide Sola beam is pointing diagonally down across my vision, instead of looking through all the sediment from behind the light itself.


Please keep in mind I am making an apples and oranges comparison to my dives prior to carrying a camera. Previously I would use a halcyon canister light with intense spot beam that did not light up the entire water column. More importantly it provided significant contrast / shadows when pointed at a subject that was well camouflaged. It is too bulky and bright to use with my camera, but was an amazing critter spotting tool in murky waters. Given how little I now use It I should probably sell it and purchase spot capable video lights.






In Topic: Width and Height difference of RAW images wider / taller than visible in Ligh...

14 January 2016 - 05:16 PM

_alex_ said check/change the crop ratio in the CAMERA not in LR ;)


Camera settings are 4:3 settings in LR were 4:3 as well

In Topic: Width and Height difference of RAW images wider / taller than visible in Ligh...

14 January 2016 - 05:09 PM

Thanks Tom


I freely admit that I am relatively new to underwater photography and basically fumbling in the dark with Lightroom. I use LR to record keywords, make minor adjustments and crop images. I then export those I want to share as JPEGs... The rest of the LR functions remain a mystery to me...


The pixel count I gave above was from the JPEG files I created, one converted from RAW using Lightroom, the other using Windows photo gallery.


Looking at the RAW image EXIF data in LR I note that the actual dimensions are 3456 x 4608


On a whim I opened a RAW file using Windows Photo Viewer, made a JPEG copy which showed the 'missing' edges and then opened it using LR. The full height / width is now visible in LR and the EXIF info shows that the dimension count remains the same as the original RAW file.


I then made some tonal adjustments and synced the settings to compare. Of course I find that the colours of the RAW file appear more realistic, but prefer the composition / wider field of view of the converted JPEG. There appears to be a slight change in the shape of the sea lion's head so perhaps LR is applying a lens correction which may explain the 'missing' sliver along the edge of the images?


It's not a big deal, but as mentioned in my earlier post that extra little bit of space at the edges could make a nice shot even better.


Was hoping there may be an easy fix which I could add to my workflow when importing and reviewing images.


The mystery continues.


Attached are a couple sample images to demonstrate what I described above.