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Everything posted by ATJ

  1. Thanks, Nick. I think those sites will be useful for tropical species. There's a few species from around Sydney that I'm yet to nail. I have quite a few general books (e.g. Gosliner et al, for tropical inverts and Edgar for temperate Australia) but the more the merrier.
  2. Anyone know of some good references for echinoderms and mainly sea stars? That's the big hole I have in my arsenal.
  3. The blue excitation filter is just a filter. It will filter out all light longer than a specific wavelength. However, if the spectrum of the lamp you are using doesn't include enough of the shorter wavelengths, it won't matter how bright the lamp is. i.e. it may just be bright in the longer wavelengths and be light on (pardon the pun) on the required shorter wavelengths. Note you are on the right track with the colour temperature of the lamps, but remember that artificial light sources usually don't have a continuous spectrum and may not cover the entire range of wavelengths. The other thing to consider is the excitation and emission wavelengths of the fluorescent pigments you are trying to capture. While Charlie's filters are very good, they really only cover a narrow range. They will work very well for certain pigments - generally those that emit green or yellow but not so well on some other pigments, e.g. emission of red.
  4. I guess the housing sentry will decrease the maximum depth you can take the housing seeing as it increases the differential between inside and outside pressures.
  5. What if you have 2 different people taking a photo of the same scene one ofter the other with similar hardware and getting the same shot? (I know that this may be unlikely because people are different, but it is quite possible to get a similar image).
  6. Sorry, Marli, I missed the thread earlier. Yes, I agree the second is likely to be Turbinaria without seeing the whole colony it would be difficult to determine the species. Even when shooting macro it is sometimes a good idea to take a shot from a bit further away. Even if the shot is of poor quality, it could be useful for identification. How much magnification is there in the first one? If the magnification is high, it could be Montipora. If the magnification is not huge, I suggest Echinophyllia. Again seeing a shot of the whole colony would help a lot. By the way, the first shot is stunning.
  7. Most importantly, what shutter speed and aperture are you using on the camera? The shutter speed is important as if you set it to fast it won't synchronise with the flash and you'll either get a dark image or a partially chopped image. If you set the aperture of the camera too small, the flash won't be bright enough to light the seen. For starters, set the shutter speed to 1/60s and the aperture to f/8, then try taking a shot of something close, e.g. a cup or something around that size lying around the house.
  8. I voted "No" as has everyone else (at the time I voted). I much prefer to watch (and, if I'm lucky, photograph) natural behaviour. I am often rewarded on dives around Sydney with feeding cuttlefish which is always a huge thrill for me. I even got to watch a (naturally) feeding flamboyant cuttlefish at Kapalai last month. By the way, by "frogfish" do you mean anglerfish (Antennariidae - which are often called frogfish)? There is different family of fish, Batrachoididae, also called frogfish.
  9. Not sure if you meant to suggest that aspirin and acetaminophen were the same thing. They are not. Aspirin is aspirin. Acetaminophen is the same as paracetamol. Probably best to have both in the kit. Maybe Ibuprofen, too, as not everyone can take them all. Note that there may be legal issues with giving painkillers to another person if you are not licensed to do so - there's even a special note about medications in the DAN First Aid & Emergency Care guide.
  10. I saw grey reef sharks being cleaned at Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea in August 2008. Interestingly, it was my 6th trip to Osprey Reef and I had not seen the behaviour before. Richard Fitzpatrick was on board, had only described the behaviour to us the day before and then I got to see it in person. I then got to see a school of 20-30 hammerheads up close.
  11. JP, One of my 2 DS125s died 2 weeks before a big trip. Basically, it stopped charging. I knew it would take too long to get it repaired before the trip so I bought a brand new DS161 (I was planning to buy a spare anyway, it was just the timing that was forced on me). At the same time I sent off the DS125 to Ikelite to quote for repair and upgrade. I included the battery, too, as it was quite old. I was quoted $125 to replace the battery, $129.50 to repair the defective electronics (to get back to a working DS125) , $625 to upgrade the strobe head to a DS161 and $700+ shipping to replace the battery pack and upgrade to a DS161. I went with the $700 plus shipping. The brand new DS161 arrived a week before my trip and I took it away with me. The upgrade arrived a few days after I got home from my trip. Other than the serial numbers, I can't tell the brand new one from the upgrade. i.e. they sent me a brand new DS161 to replace the faulty DS125. Now, I don't know if they will always do this, but I thought I did very well to get a brand new DS161 for just over $700.
  12. Thanks. I had actually been using the online version of Fautin and Allen and didn't feel their description sufficiently covered the exception to the saddle: I guess it is all in the interpretation of "partial to complete white bar". I interpreted it incorrectly.
  13. There was a family of these anemonefish in an anemone just off one of the resorts on Mabul Island in the Celebes Sea. I can determine what species they are. The closest appears to be Amphiprion clarkii but the tail being black and the third white band being quite thick suggest otherwise. Here's a juvenile: Here's an adult (probably the female): Any ideas?
  14. Lightroom is all I use for my images. It is fantastic for cataloging and adding keywords which makes it very easy to track down images taken in the past. For example, I can easily find all the images I have of cuttlefish. I can do all the editing I need to do with Lightroom. Most of the time I need to do very little, perhaps a tweak to contrast here or there. Sure, Photoshop would be more powerful but I figure if I need to do that much editing I screwed up at the time of taking the image anyway. The automation available in Lightroom is amazing and there are many plugins available to supplement the built in functions. Lightroom is not perfect, and there are a number of bugs and areas that could do with improving, but overall it works well. You can download a free trial (full function for 30 days) and see how it works for you. If you are shooting raw I recommend using the camera profiles.
  15. Do they charge extra for fat people? If not, that seems a tad unfair, unless they don't think the overhead lockers can take the weight.
  16. I don't think it have ever crossed my mind - and my mind is nowhere near as dramatic. In fact, cr*p like this wouldn't even enter my mind.
  17. Either 60mm lens is good, neither is "incorrect". I use the older D lens and it works superbly for me. I believe the newer G lens might focus a bit more quickly (not that I can say that the D lens is slow). The D lens will be cheaper.
  18. Go for the VR version (which is the current version of the lens). You will appreciate VR if you start doing video as it really helps remove the jerky handheld look. If you mean for the 18-55mm, I don't a flat port would work well for that lens and you'd probably get a lot of vignetting at 18mm (and maybe before then). I use a +5 with my 18-55mm in a 6" dome port and I can get some macro shots, such as nudibranchs. It is not as good as a 60mm in a flat port but means you may get a shot you otherwise wouldn't.
  19. I have a Nikon D300 in an Ikelite housing so it is equivalent to your planned system with respect to lenses and ports. I use a Nikkor 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G as my all purpose lens. It is inexpensive and yet is plenty sharp and focuses well. I use it in the 5503.50 6" dome port with a +5 diopter. This lets me get magnifications up to 1:2.5. It is great for a wide range of subjects and I think will do better than the Sigma 17-70mm. I also use the Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D (the older lens) for macro work. For a dedicated macro dive I use the 5502.41 flat port. Most of my diving is in Sydney and the visibility is not always great so I sometimes use the 60mm in the 5503.50 dome port with a +4 diopter. I can still get to 1:1 (albeit with more difficulty with lighting) but it decreases the port to subject distance so with larger subjects I don't have as much water in between. Here's an old blog entry that might help: Under Water Lens Use.
  20. I bought a cheap netbook for this purpose. It was less than $300, weighs about the same, has a bigger screen. It is just a bit larger (to accomodate the larger screen). It came with 1GB of memory and 250GB HDD. I have already upgraded it to 2GB and could add a larger HDD if I wanted. Not only can I use it for storage, but I have Lightroom installed so I can already start my cataloging. I can also do emails, surf, etc.
  21. You want AF-C (for continuous). With AF-C, when you half depress the shutter button the lens will continue to focus while you or the subject moves, until you fully depress the button. With AF-S, it will only focus a single time when you half depress the shutter button. You'd have to release and half press again for it to focus again.
  22. Has anyone had their iPad (1 or 2) hang on them and the only way to get it back was restore? My iPad has never done this but I have an iPod Touch 2G that used to hang quite frequently in the first few months I'd had it and hung (when I wasn't even using it) last week. My only cause of action has been to restore from backup which means I lost everything on the iPod that hadn't been backed up. If this happens to iPads, this would make them unreliable as a storage/manipulation solution for trips.
  23. John, The automation possible in Lightroom goes a long way to helping me associate the photographs with the dives. In fact, I see that as one of the strengths of Lightroom. You can automate so many things. I have never used Aperture so I can't compare. I have heard they are similar. If I remember back to when I started using Lightoom (Feb 2008), I did find it a bit daunting, but I fairly quickly got the hang of it. Now I hardly have to think twice. It is just so easy to use. Here's a write up I did over 3 years ago: Lightroom That was with 1.x and many of the "bugs" have been fixed. Some new ones have been introduced, but overall, it just keeps getting better, especially the introduction of Camera Profiles.
  24. Taking multiple cards will be fine but how will you know you'll have enough? With my D300 I take between 1 and 3GB per dive. On a one week dive trip I can do perhaps 20 dives. You'll be there for 2 weeks. Even if you assume 20 dives at 1GB per dive you'll need 20GB for the trip. The big problem you will have with just taking cards is not really being able to view your images properly and analyse them. How will you know if you perhaps you have some settings wrong? How can you improve your images without looking at them? If it is at all possible, it would be good to take a laptop or even a netbook. I bought a netbook for less than $300 and it only weighs around 1kg. You could transfer your images to the netbook and review them each day. Shooting raw is almost always a good idea. Raw images store the image as shot regardless of many camera settings (such as white balance) which gives you more options for image manipulation and correction after the fact. Many programs, including Lightroom, allow you to manipulate raw images. Lightroom is a pretty good program for doing basic image manipulation - white balance and other overall adjustments, cloning, cropping, etc. More than that, Lightroom is great for cataloging and keywording - makes it much easy to find an image that you took 3 years ago. If you are going to use something like Lightroom, the sooner you start, the better as you get all your images into the catalog before you have too many. As Bill suggests, download one of the free trials and play.
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