Seaspace 2005 was held in the Reliant Center at the Astrodome complex in Houston June 4th and 5th. Eric Cheng and I attended the show together again this year, but this time, we did not have any duties, other than checking out the booths, seminars, and workshops of interest to the Wetpixel underwater photography community. If you are into large “scuba gear shows” like DEMA, then you would have considered this years event to be pretty small. However, from a photo-centric viewpoint, the show was perhaps the best of the 5 that I have attended. This article will be a brief summary of the show, as most of the information is contained in the photographs and photo captions.
—- New Gear—-
We visited the booths for Wetpixel sponsors Aquatica (Blake Stoughton and Mauricio Handler), Ikelite (Phil Stubbs and other staff), Reef Photo and Video (Ryan Cannon and Richard Perry), Light and Motion (Dan Baldochi and Russ Sanoian) and Underwater Photo Tech (Dave Marsh). We also visited Terrapin Wetsuits, makers of Eric’s now-famous “devil hood.” There were a few new photo gear items this year to try out.
Ikelite housing for the Fuji F810
The housing fits well in the hand or on an Ultralight tray. The buttons are well placed and the housing is comparable in price to the OEM Fuji housing.
Ikelite iTTL housing for the D70
It’s just like the eTTL2 housing for the Canon 20d, except now the strobe control buttons have been moved to the left side. If you have big hands (or retrofit your housing with adjustable handles) you can depress the compensation buttons with your left thumb—nice!
Nexus housing for the D2x
This looks like the smallest housing available for the D2x and also the most “affordable.” Quick inspection reveals that the AF Lock button is not easy to reach, but this was a prototype housing and a few of the housing through-hull shafts were unused. Two versions of the housing will be offered one that takes the F4 housing ports (large opening) and one that takes the Master ports (N90, D100, D70).
Aquatica housing for the 20D
This is the first time I got to hold the 20D housing. It is slim and has a good finish. Sarah commented that she also wished this housing came with adjustable handles, as she has small hands and couldn’t easily reach the shutter lever with her index finger.
Aquatica dome port for use with the Ikelite housing
This was a protype port machined from an aluminum plate with an Ikelite mount and an 8” acrylic port. This port will most likely ONLY work with the Nikon 10.5mm lens and Nikon 16mm or Canon or Sigma 15mm fisheye lenses. A different port with extension rings would be needed for other lenses.
Aquatica prototype Ikelite to Aquatica port converter ring
This ring, if sold as a production unit, would allow Ikelite users to mount Aquatica ports and extension rings on their housings. I have no idea how this ring/port system would work with a zoom lens and zoom gear.
Amphibico Phenom HD video housing
This unit was beautifully finished and full featured. It comes with internal flip filters for neutral density and white balance filtration. Eric looked like he REALLY wanted one.
Photoshop for the Underwater Photographer. I didn’t get to attend this workshop, but Wetpixel user Christa Loustalot reported that she learned about many features of Photoshop that she hadn’t used before.
Digital Underwater Photography. Sarah and I attended this 3 hour workshop and I was pleased that it covered composition and shooting tips, as well as camera and computer instruction. Jim also talked about managing digital images, making slideshows, and web galleries.
Dr. Richard Zingula: Critter Behaviour on the Reef
I didn’t get to attend this workshop by Dick Zingula, however Dr. Zingula is a very knowledgable critter expert and has been asked to give this workshop again and again by Seaspace and HUPS.
Norbert Wu - Around the World, Under the Sea
Pat Miller - Underwater Images - Basic Digital Editing & Workflow
Ken Knezick - Exploring Indonesia
Barry Guimbellot - Photographers & Models - How to Add Impact to your Images
—- HUPS Booth and Photo Gallery—-
This year, my local underwater photo society (HUPS) had an impressive booth and also put together a fabulous print photo display. There were over 100 16x20 prints featured, each was well lighted and easy to appreciate mounted on black display boards. I was happy to see that the club selected 5 of my images to display. At the booth, HUPS members gave short seminars and answered UW photo questions.
Before and after the show, Eric, Sarah, and I hung out with professional nature photographer and safari trip-leader Andy Biggs. Andy showed off his MASSIVE Epson 4000 printer and some prints using MOAB paper. We also got to have dinner with Norbert Wu, Jim Watt, and the HUPS Seaspace staff and friends. Unfortunately, Sarah and I missed most of the dinner, as our car got a flat tire [a BLOW OUT! -eric] on the freeway that afternoon.
Text by James Wiseman. Photographs by Eric Cheng and James Wiseman.