Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by frogfish

  1. The Divemaster coverage looked attractive, but I inquired and was told that they were not licensed to issue insurance to anyone who is not a resident of the UK.


    I've just signed up for the new camera insurance scheme inaugurated by the Nikonians - it's a website/organization for Nikon users. I've purchased coverage for EURO 17,500 work of camera gear for EURO 400. It seemed like a pretty good deal. Not strictly limited to Nikon gear (my Subal housing is covered), but I don't think I'd bother approaching them with an all Canon system. You have to pa for a silver membership level in Nikonians, which is not expensive.


    (Thanks to whoever put me on to this, by the way.)





  2. Orlando,


    Putting a ball on the light and using a clamp is the best way to go. A three-way clamp at the base of the arm works ok, but the light should be wide-angle, so you don't have to re-adjust it everytime the arm is moved, and you don't have to worry about visible hot spots.


    With my Hartenberger light, I bolted a ULCS ball fitting on to the handle. Because the control for this light is a dial on the back (with several power choices), this light has worked best in this configuration. The Hartenberger's come with an alternate wide angle reflector.


    With my old light - a big plastic-bodied wide-angle light (I forget the name of the manufacturer) that took 8 big batteries - there was no good way to bolt the ball fitting directly on to the light. I got a piece of PVP piping of a diameter that the light body would just fit into, cut a slot in the pvc pipe section for the light's handle and switch, and bolted a ULCS ball fitting to the outside of the PVC piping. A small piece of bungie cord with hooks at each end crossed over the back of the light and then back to the ULCS fitting, ensuring that the light wouldn't fall out.


    For smaller lights, you can get ULCS ball fittings pre-bolted onto a curved section of PVC pipe. The light rests in the PVC section, safely attached by two rubber loops cut from a bicycle inner tube.



  3. I have to acknowledge that I've had pretty good observation of the rules about the camera rinse tank from non-photographer divers on trips I've been on, including some when I was the only shooter. It's important that someone (ideally whoever's running the show, not me) explain this to non-photographers who may not have been on boats with shooters before. The sign on the camera rinse tank isn't always conspicuous, and it the reasons for segregated tanks aren't necessarily intuitive or obvious to someone who doesn't already know.


    I've also seen photographers snap at an uninformed diver/snorkeller who was about to commit (unknowingly) a rinse tank offense in a manner that I thought was pretty objectionable and very unncecessary. Owning an expensive camera rig doesn't buy anyone the right to act like an asshole.


    On the other hand, I do think photographers have become a lot more popular with non-photogs on dive boats since digitalarrived - people really enjoy seeing the quick compilatoin of peg selects at the end of the day, especially if they're in them.


    Better reef etiquette on the part of photographers may have helped too. Thankfully, the days when (some) photographers thought they had the right to lie down on live corals* ( or engage in heavy harassment to get their shot are (mostly) over. Though I can think of aeveral live-aboard operators who would still say photographers are by far the worst offenders by far when it comes to damaging marine life and harassment. But I think there has been real progress.


    *These were the same people who would normally dive over-weighted by 2-5 kg., so when I say "lie down on the coral' what I mean is major damage.



  4. Oh, and while we are on the subject, the Magic Filters complimentary flash filter might be available in the New Year.


    I already have one that works perfectly on land, but this is not ideal underwater and  I want to develop one that compensates for an approx 1 metre of light path (through seawater) from the strobe to the subject and back to the camera.


    I should add that there are no promises that it will be commercially available, but watch this space.


    I'm going to be experimenting with complimentary flash filters on my next trip. A pro-photographer friend is sending me a show-box filled with studio lighting gels of different temperatures and intensities. There should be some combination of cyan and blue gels that should work, though it may be necessary to customize it for different strobes and water/ambient light conditions. My thinking is that I should be able to just tape the gels over the strobe head, or else insert pieces of gels under a diffuser.


    I would also like to figure out if I can use gels under a diffuser to warm up my Inon D2000w's a bit. I'll let people know how it works out.



  5. On port covers, which several posters here have mentioned, I've never been completely confident of the protection offered by the thin neoprene "beanie" cover. Enough to protect against scratches from minor contact, but not nearly enough if someone starts swinging a weight belt around while gearing up in a small boat, or if someone picked up another rig by the strobe arms and the clamps were loose and the corner of a big strobe were to take a swing at my dome.


    I recently had a local wetsuit/leather manufacturer make up custom covers for my large dome port and the macro port. The dome port cover has a very thick, shaped hard rubber insert built into it that completely protects the dome. I'll post a picture of it sometime when I have time. There's a few slight changes I'd make - this is really a prototype - but I'm very happy with this cover, and have thought about posting a thread to see if there are others interested in getting one of these. Now that he's made one, I'm sure he could run off copies fairly quickly and easily. The cost was surprisingly low - not much more than a new beanie from Subal.



  6. Bruce,


    Mike is right. Unfortunately, the Nikon 17-35 mm f/2.8 is a pricey lens, and for a wide angle, it's big and heavy too. (That's why it can open to 2.8!) I bought mine before there were DX lenses like the 12-24. I'm not sure I could justify purchasing it now, but I'm secretly very glad I have it. It's sharp as a tack from corner to corner (even on a full-frame SLR), cand olors somehow come out cleaner than they do with any other lens I own.


    Ive taken some of my all-time favorite photographs - above and under water - with the 17-35. I am more likely to use the 12-24 or 10.4 underwater most of the time, but it would still be my preference for sharks, at least shooting in the open. I've never done cage diving, probably never will.



  7. Eric,


    I agree that "the red channel would [still] be a huge mess" whether WB adjustment was done in-camera or post-processing. That might not be the case if the image was taken with a red/orange filter, which would still require a radical WB adjustment at some stage in the process.


    Although I don't participate in photo competitions myself, I am very interested in the question of where we as a community want to draw the line between reasonable and "illegitimate" post-processing techniques. I think we all have an interest in ensuring that photo contest organizers understand that position, assuming of course that something like a common view actually exists or eventually emerges.


    Personally, I expect within a few years that the film categories in photo competitions will decline in importance, becoming something analogous to a classic cars race limited to vehicles in 100% stock manufactured condition.


    As for shooting digital raw versus jpeg, surely that's simply a matter of personal choice and preference, related in large part to what we want to do with our images.



  8. I'm don't really care about competitions myself, but if there is a contest where basic white balance and curves adjustments to correct obvious color casts are not allowed, what would be the point of entering that competition as a digital photographer?


    On that shot, had Elli and Ted taken a white balance reading using a neutral gray target underwater first, then shot it as a TIFF or JPEG, the result "out of the camera" would have been very similar to the adjusted version on the right. Minus the slightly extreme sharpening, perhaps, but as we know, most digitals also do in-camera sharpening as well, and some offer a choice of sharpening intensities. And some digitals also offer the equivalent of a choice of in-camera tone curves providing more or less saturation too.


    I think we're long past the point where it's possible or useful to draw a rigid line between the kinds of digital adjustments (white balance, tone curves, sharpening) that can be done in the camera (or are done automatically, by default) as opposed to post-processing adjustments using a program like Photoshop.


    Shooting RAW, there is no absolute a priori setting for colour temperature. Inevitably someone (or some program) - the photographer, the programs in the camera, or the conversion program - has to make some choice - unless there's a contest with rules that state all digital shots have to be taken with white balance set at 5000 or something absurd like that. And if film photographers are allowed the option of using a highly saturated film such as Velvia or Provia, then surely digital shooters should also be allowed flexibility in choosing more or less saturated tone curves as well.



  9. Happy birthday, Eric.


    As you move ever closer to the blessed state of old-fartness, you'll be glad to know that the UltraLiteControlSystems people are looking into developing an adjustable buoyancy marine Zimmer frame made from black anodized aluminum (with cool clamps and built in strobe mount attachments) for us super-annuated underwater photographers.



  10. If it's been a quick trip back from the dive site to the mother ship, then a quick dip in the tank to remove salt is all that's necessary. If it is a longer ride back, or if the housing and I are sitting on the tender waiting for other divers to come back, then I try to keep the housing wet (and cool) by covering it with a wet towel or, failing that, dunking it over the side every few minutes.


    There will be times, however, when - for whatever reasons - these don't work and the housing may have been allowed to start to dry. If there is any possibility that salt has begun to dry in the controls, then you need to give the housing a good soak in fresh water as soon as possible, not wait until the end of the trip.


    The biggest rinse tank etiquette items that I can think of are:


    1. Don't just dump your camera gear on top of other people's rigs (or mine). If there isn't room to keep the rigs clearly separate, wait your turn, or at least ask for permission. The person whose gear is in the tank may be ready to take it out.


    2. If it's necessary and/or you have permission to put your rig in on top of others, be very careful about uncovered dome ports, flat ports too. This is often where they get scratched.


    3. Nothing, obviously, but camera in the camera rinse tank.



  11. It should still be fine in March/April, though that's getting near the end of the "season" in RE. I used to have a chart showing monthly variation in rain and sea conditions, but I can't find it at the moment. We had rain a few days last year, otherwise perfect weather (and the rain helped with our fresh water problems) - that was the only time I've been before.


    Anyway, it's not like you're going to change your plans if I told you the weather wouldn't be perfect, right?


    I strongly urge you to check out the REA (Rapid Environmental Assessments) for RE on The Nature Conservancy's Coral Triangle Center website


    TNC Coral Triangle Center


    Click on reports on the left-hand side. There are two very useful reports there:


    - Donnelly R., Neville D., Mous P. 2003. Report on a rapid ecological assessment of the Raja Ampat Islands, Papua, Eastern Indonesia, held October 30 – November 22, 2002. Report from The Nature Conservancy Southeast Asia Center for Marine Protected Areas, Sanur, Bali Indonesia. 246 p (pdf, 5,500Kb). High resolution version (pdf, 15,250 Kb).


    Or jump Here



    - Erdmann M.V. & Pet J.S 2002. A rapid marine survey of the northern Raja Ampat Islands (Eastern Indonesia). Report from Henry Foundation/The Nature Conservancy/NRM/EPIQ. 36 p (pdf, 699 Kb).


    Or jump Here2


    There is also a very good REA done by CI (written by Sheila McKenna, Gerald R. Allen and suer Suryadi) that used to be up on the site, but it seems to have been removed.


    The only problem with the direct flights between Manado and Singapore is that I don't get to meet people who would otherwise be transiting Bali.





  12. I do the same, separate labelled zip loc bags for the 2.6 mm and 3.0 mm (and another for the Ikelite SS200 o-rings which are almost the same overall diameter, but even thicker. I agree it's fairly easy to tell the apart if you have the two side by side.


    My problem came (I think) because I transferred an o-ring form my macro port (small size) to a 50 mm extension ring which I thought also took the same size ring, but it turns out that my two 50 mm extension rings take different size o-rings, and I didn't realize I was using the ring that takes a larger ring.


    Just one of those little things....



  13. Agree that a fisheye or superwide is too wide, unless you're very lucky. In PNG, shooting silvertips and greys with a full-frame film SLR, I found that a 28 worked better than a 20. For similar situatins now, shooting a (educed frame) digital camera, I go with the 17-35 mm, which gives the full frame equivalent of about 24-53 mm. If you can't pull them in with that, they're too far away.



  14. I'll probably be taking anti-malarials (malarone) in this trip, at least until I get a sense of where Larry likes to anchor the boat. Malaria mosquitos don't like to fly over water, but sometimes the boat ends up close enough to shore for them to make the journey. Also, I got bit pretty bad on the forehead while shooting over-unders on snorkel in the mangroves on my last trip to RE. It was midday, so those probably weren't the malaria kind (but they might have been the dengue or encephalitis kind!). Anyway, the next time I try that I'm wearing a hood and drenching my head with DEET. Malaria is doing well in West Papua this year, credited with causing or contributing to the deaths of 55 people last month.


    Note that malarone doesn't really protect you against vivax, just falciparum malaria, but that's the one you really want protection against. Vivax just makes you sick, falciparum is the one that can kill you.


    Larium (meflaquine, if I'm spelling it right, in the US) is definitely what you don't what to take as a prophylactic, for lots of good reasons, but it's good to have some on hand as a treatment drug - better than malarone in case you actually get it, and it's effective against vivax as well as falciparum. Once you take Larium, the diving stops, of course.


    I went to see Widja (H20) today to see about the flights to Soring, still have no f***ing idea. But she said she'd send me an email with the flights that would work. I'll sort it out later in the week.



  15. Oh ho, this guy!  He sure fools a lot of people.  It's a benthic ctenophore, and it looks like the one calledd Coeloplana sp. 2 in Gosliner, Behrens, & Williams.  Unlike the usual planktonic forms these guys are found in soft bottoms & on leather corals & seastars. The twin lobes carry the branched feeding tentacles typical of all ctenophores.


    Requests?  Worms, worms, and more worms, of course!    :D

    That's the second time I've been fooled by a ctenophore - and I'm pretty sure it was you who set me straigt on the other one too.


    OK, you're on - worms coming up (so to speak.)



  16. As floods go, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I lost one S2Pro body and a 12-24 lens. The lens was the biggest loss. Had this happened next week, it would have been the D2X. This trip was supposed to be my last dives with the FS2 housing. (And it was, it's just that now I won't be selling this housing until it's back from servicing.)


    It's easy to tell the two kinds of o-rings apart when you have one in each hand. What's harder is, with just one o-ring in your hand and a port on the table in front of you, knowing whether that's the right ring for the right port. So yes, I do carry a small plastic caliper gauge in the u/w toolkit. (It sometimes comes in handy for other things too.)


    I do want to stress again that this is NOT a problem for anyone who has bought Subal gear recently, or who may be considering doing so now. All your ports and extension rings will be new style and all your port o-rings the same. It is only an issue for people who have been with Subal for awhile and have aquired both new-style and old-style ports and extension rings, or who are buying used Subal gear. In any case, the issue can be dealt with by being careful and well organized.


    I didn't realize that old-style ports could be modified to take the larger o-ring. That would be a better solution that runnings two nearly identical kinds of o-rings on the same brand of of gear. I plan o sell all my old-style ports (except the MF 105) and rings I have as a package together with the FS2 housing.


    UWPhotoTech.: Yes, the paper tag (not a sticker - that would be nice, unless this is new since I last bought a port) that Subal ships with new ports and rings does say which type of o-ring should be used. Having received that tag doesn't necessarily tell you which of two different o-rings, both black, of identical overall diameter but slightly different thickness, you have in your hand at 6:30 in the morning in a badly lit bungalow while rushing to get ready.


    I don't mean to criticize Subal here - I'm a fan. (I must be - at the moment I happen to own three housings.) And this flood, like most, was definitely caused by stupidity and carelessness - mine. But I do think that it would have been better had subal arranged for the 3 mm O-rings to be a different color and stamped in an obvious marking (ideally colored as well). This probably could have saved a number of floods, including mine. Failing that, I think it's important that any Subal owners who could be affected by the o-ring issue know about it.



  17. Leslie,


    Here you are. Some sort of opistobranch, I would have thought, but which one? The twin body bulges look a bit strange too.


    I'll email you with details closer to April - I'll be going back to Raja Empat in January, for three weeks, and yes, I do take requests!




  18. A friend once told me she thought u/w photographers might make good partner-marriage material. "After all", she said, ripping off the wonderful line from Joan Rivers, "you're already used to spending money on neat non-essentials, you exhibit patience and a willingness to delay gratification, and you've experienced lots of pain."


    As many here already know, I experienced the pain of my second flood in a lifetime a few weeks ago. The problem was the o-ring on a 50 mm port extension ring, which was not seated properly because it was the wrong size.


    This doesn't concern anyone who has purchased a Subal housing and ports new recently or is about to do so, but as anyone who has acquired a motley collection of newer and older Subal ports and extension rings is probably already aware, Subal changed their port-o-ring specification a few years ago.


    The groove in all the newer ports and extension rings is configured for a 3 mm o-ring (Part ORPTB3) while older ports and rings require a 2.6 mm O-ring (ORPTBJ). If you compare the two o-rings side by side, it's fairly easy to distinguish them, but looking at a port or extension ring, it can be difficult to tell whether it takes the old or new style o-ring. Except for the width of the o-ring groove, older and new models of ports and rings manufactured before and after the changeover are almost indistinguishable. There is no special mark or instructions on the new ports and rings telling you which kind of o-ring to use.


    I knew that my older 105 mm flatport took the old thinner o-ring, while my newer big dome port took the new, thicker ring, as did the 50 mm extension ring I normally use with the domeport when shooting with the 12-24 or 17-35 zooms. I've done a pretty good job of keeping the two different size o-rings straight over the years, but what I didn't realize is that my second 50 mm extension ring was older, and takes the older ring. On this occasion, I either mixed up the extension rings, or else I may have pulled the o-ring off the 105 mm macro port (thin style) and put it on the extension ring (new style) in a hurry. I'm not sure which, and the shitty lighting that in my room at the Paradise at Tulamben didn't help, but that's more or less how I ended up having a flood. Similar problems might have been the cause of John Bantin's recent Subal FS2 flood as well.


    NOW (too late), I do know how to tell for sure which o-ring a port takes. The trick is to look at the thickness of the flange next to the o-ring groove. Subal has made this flange thinner on the newer ports and rings to allow room for the wider o-ring groove. If you compare two ports, one taking the old style o-ring and the other the new, the difference is unmistakeable. (See diagram, which I requested from Subal so that I could sort out once and for all which size o-rings and ports/rings are which.) I have added pointers to the flanges I'm talking about in their diagram so you can see what I mean.)




  19. I'm very impressed. Switching the internal connectors from the five-pin banks to the three-pin banks and removing the spring-loaded pin from the hotshoe connector took all of ten minutes. Better yet, I managed to do all this without tearing up the plastic bank connectors in the housing OR stripping the threads or the slots on top of any of the screws, or losing any bits and pieces.


    Best of all, it works! Both the new Inon D2000w's and my Sea&Sea YS90DX's worked fine in manual mode. A friend will be carrying my SS200s back from the US next week, so I'll be able to test and hopefully use those as well.


    (The Nikonos synch cords (single and double) for the new Inons are the same ones used by Sea&Sea, by the way, so anyone who is interested in these strobes who already has as much synch cord redundancy as they think they need, you won't need to buy new cables.)


    At full dump, the new Inons didn't seem to have as much oomph as the YS90DX strobes, but I may not be setting the controls correctly. Just looking at the test shot images on the back of the camera, the color temperature of the Inons seems considerably cooler than the YS90DXs.


    Thanks to all again. I hope to get the rig in the water for a few days around Xmas.



  20. Luiz,


    This is amazing. Yesterday I was stumped by the D2X-Subal-strobe wiring problem, and fairly sure (and I was correct in this) that I didn't really understand what was going on even after reading the posts on the topic to date. A few posts later, returning to check wetpixel after dinner, I knew I already had enough information to proceed and probably get it resolved. Then I wake up this morning and to find detailed color photos and instructions from Luis showing exactly what I must do and how to do it - and without having to cut the green wire. (The bystanders on the movie set are all relieved).


    Reiterating what I posted in response to Luiz's instructions on the DIY thread: this


    man is a gentleman and a scholar.


    Just to sum up what I think I might now vaguely understand, what the Subal manual should have told us was that:


    1. The two sets of internal strobe wiring can be switched from four-pin female connectors to the three-pin connectors.


    2. For use with housed Nikon strobes (e.g, SB800), the strobe wires should be left in the 4-pin connectors;


    3. Replacing the strobe wiring in the 3-pin connectors defeats the "monitor contact" pin and may be necessary (and sufficient?) for use with some strobes (i.e., Ikelite) in manual mode..


    4. With other strobes (e.g., Sea&Sea, Inon, SubStrobe, ???) it is also necessary to defeat the "ready light" pin, which can be accomplished by removing the pin from the hotshoe or cutting the green wire.


    Does this make sense?


    Thanks again all - Alex, David, uwphoto tech, ssra30, and especially Luiz - for all the help.



  21. Luiz,


    You're a gentleman and a scholar. I think even I might be able to do this without destroying the strobe wiring circuits in the housing. To sum up what I think I might now vaguely understand, what the Subal manual should have told us was that:


    1. The two sets of internal strobe wiring can be switched from four-pin female connectors to the three-pin connectors.


    2. For use with housed Nikon strobes (e.g, SB800), the strobe wires should be left in the 4-pin connectors;


    3. Replacing the strobe wiring in the 3-pin connectors defeats the "monitor contact" pin and may be necessary (and sufficient?) for use with some strobes (i.e., Ikelite) in manual mode..


    4. With other strobes (e.g., Sea&Sea, Inon, SubStrobe, ???) it is also necessary to defeat the "ready light" pin, which can be accomplished by removing the pin from the hotshoe or cutting the green wire.


    Does this make sense?


    Thanks again for the help, and esp. the photos.



  • Create New...