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Posts posted by frogfish

  1. Let me re-introduce myself.


    You may have known me here on wetpixel as just "rdelfs" - with a little fang blenny as an avatar. But long ago, on a diving board far far away, I used to be "frogfish", and I decided I liked that better.


    So I asked, and the administrator agreed to change my name, but it's still me.


    I've been shooting underwater for about five years, film until last summer, when I acquired a digital camera and housing. Currently, we live in Indonesia, which is a very nice place to dive. If you haven't been here before, I heartily recommend it.


    Robert Delfs

  2. Great pix and a nice report, Eric. I just wish I had broadband net access.


    Incidentally, the restaurant we went to is the Batujimbar Cafe. They do good healthy salads and great vegetable and fruit juices (the Rambutan and lime, and the Rambutan and tangerine are great now that rambutans are back in season), as well as Indonesian/Bali dishes. It's just across the street from the entrance to the Parigata, where a lot of visiting divers stay, and which - as you noted - is reasonably priced. Next door to the Batujimbar Cafe is a very reasonably-priced Japanese restaurant, the Ryoshi.


    Next time you come through, try to make time for a few dives here in Bali.


    Incidentally, one of the posters mentioned visiting Wakatobi "while Steve Fish was still there." I didn't know he'd left - does anyone know where he has gone, and/or what happened at Wakatobi? He hadn't been there very long.


    Robert Delfs

  3. If there's no dealer in proximity to you (or where you dive), servicing might be an issue to consider. Not just annual servicing either. My understanding is that Poseidon regs are a bit tricky, you wouldn't want to hand your regs over to someone who isn't qualified and doesn't have all the special tools and spare parts.


    Robert Delfs

  4. John Bantin is the Technical Editor at Diver magazine (UK), and someone I take very seriously - he's one of the very few people in the business who will write a negative review of a piece of equipment (or a dive operator) he doesn't like or doesn't feel is safe. What's more, they even get into print! (He's also fun to dive and shoot with, and great fun to be on a boat with, but as to his views on using digital cameras underwater - don't ask. No one is perfect.)


    In the past, Bantin has been quite negative about Poseidon regulators, but he changed his tune in the October 2003 issue of Diver. "A beautifully tamed beast," John's review of the Xstream, was extremely positive.


    Go to Bantin's Review of Poseidon X-stream in Diver and scroll down.


    Robert Delfs

  5. Back on pynogonids, I think that's what this is. In the first image, it is playing (?) with a nudibranch (which I believe is a Flabellina rubrolineata. It seemed obsessed with this nudi, as well as another smaller member of the same species, which crawled beneath a bit of fluff but is still partially visible in the second image.


    The pictures were shot at Satonda Island, north of Lombok, in August.







    Robert Delfs

  6. Eric,


    Were these shot in a coral area, or more muddy. From the coloration, I'm wondering whether they might be Centriscus scutatus, rather than A. strigatus.


    (On the other hand, I've seen a lot of color variation in what I think were A. strigatus. At Puerto Galera in the Philippines, there is a lovely school of shrimpfish which hang out in beautiful white-colored black corals, and are almost completely white, lacking the median line found in most shrimpfish. And almost impossible to photograph.)



  7. Lovely picture.


    I think the compositional point raised in Christian's message might be addressed by recropping the image, chopping off part of the bottom of the frame, so that the nudibranch is positioned more centrally.


    Robert Delfs

  8. Cybergoldfish,


    Viz in Bali (or almost anwhere really) is always a crapshoot, but I'm surprised you had such bad luck in June. Viz on the Liberty Wreck is rarely ideal, but some days are much better than others. I'm still waiting for a "perfect" wide-angle day to shoot that wreck.


    I hope you have better luck in September. But that month is prime mola mola hunting time at Nusa Penida, so you may find it difficult to squeeze time out for any dives at Menjangan when bigger prey like molas are afoot.


    Meanwhile, to help "defuse" the situation, here's a couple more Sunday shrimpfish shots. The first shot is flawed by the out-of-focus whip corals in foreground - they were almost touching the dome - but I still find this shot interesting. I also think the exposure of the shrimpfish bodies is better than in the first shot I posted above.




    In the second shot, Sandy's face is cut in half above and between her eyes, which is too bad, as this could have been a nice shot showing a diver looking at an interesting subject, something I almost never try to shoot. The truth, of course, is that she was trying to help me "herd" the shrimpfish into position, while I was holding the housing well to the right in my right hand, at the same time "herding" the shrimpfish with my left hand, and so shooting completely blind.




    And to get back on topic, what is most interesting to me about these shots, technically, is that I was simply never able to take wide-angle close-ups like these successfully with my film housing, using 20 mm lens and the SWB dome. Shooting digital with the 12-24 mm lens is a different world! I certainly plan to try to do more. Wide-angle Mandarinfish?


    Robert Delfs

  9. No, and I didn't have diffusers on the strobe either. :D


    Seriously, I usually do use diffusers for wide-angle, but wasn't on these dives, and I may give them up altogether when using my "back-up" strobes - Sea & Sea YS-90DXs. My "main" strobes - Ikelite SS200s - and a pair of spare batteries are already on a boat that we will be joining in March in Sorong. The strobes and the batteries weigh a ton, and we will probably be flying to Sorong on a small plane, with a tight weight allowance, so it seemed to make sense to preplace the heavier strobes and my old film housing on the boat before it left Bali.


    The YS90DXs are fine for macro, but don't have near as much "punch" as the SS200s for wide-angle, and adding the diffusers cuts the power even more. This shot, by the way, was shot with TTL. I think there might have been -0.5 stop flash exposure compensation, I bracked 0, -0.5 and -1.0 while trying to shoot the shrimpfish in close.


    Menjangan is a pretty reef, and the shallow water corals have recovered nicely since we were last there about five years ago, when all the acropora above 10 m. had pretty much been wiped out by the 97/98 El Nino bleaching event. We'd done a couple of not very fruitful dives at Secret Bay - we were in the wrong place - the day before. Secret Bay is just around the corner from Menjangan, so the two areas make a nice combination for several days of diving. Pretty much pure muck at Secret Bay, and a very nice reef to dive at Menjangan when you get sick of the empty expanse of mud and algae. There are some nice places to stay in the area.


    We only did two dives at Menjangan, the wall under the sandy point on the north of the island and the area near the Anker wreck. Based on that, I'd say the area probably doesn't have anything like the diversity of Tulamben, but as walls go, it's very pretty and surprisingly healthy. (The drop-off dive at Tulamben was badly damaged by a silt-out after heavy rains last January/February, but it is coming back nicely - good marine life the last time we were there in December.)


    We'll be going back to Menjangan soon. There are Mandarinfish in the small mangrove bay next to the Mimpi resort, and I'd like to do as many dives as needed to finally get a decent shot of one of these wonderful creatures. The Mandarins come out in the afternoon, so it should be possible to do a combination of one or two dives on Menjangan in the morning, then come back to try the Mandarins later in the day. Followed by risking DSI in the hot sulfur baths at Mimpi.


    Robert Delfs

  10. This school of coral shrimpfish were at Menjangan Island, Bali, Indonesia, last Sunday. I'd always had trouble with this subject shooting film - the highly reflective bodies tended to burn out and over-expose. I was disappointed at first that I didn't have a macro lens, but I'm happy with this wide-angle.


    This, by the way, is the reason I'll always want to have the +2 diopter on with this lens. I did some tests the week-end before last using the 12-24 lens without a diopter. It was fine for distant coralscapes, but I couldn't focus on anything closer than two or three feet. These cooperative shrimpfish were only about one foot away from the dome port.




    Fuji S2 Pro, Subal Housing, 12-24 DX lens, FE2 port. f/8.0 at 1/90.


    Robert Delfs

  11. I think it's definitely a digital mock-up, what somebody imagines a new camera (successor to D100) would or might look like. I don't think this is official Nikon stuff, just some folks speculating.


    The text is all about individual features of the camera, with the features that the new camera might have compared, mostly to the D100, with other references to D2H, D70, etc. E.g.,


    "AE/AF: Won't this basically be the same as the D100?"


    "[viewfinder] - Thought to be the same size as the D100, but it may be made easier to view."


    "Shutter socket - it is thought that the remote release socket on the D100 will be eliminated, replaced with a silver button.


    etc. etc.


    Robert Delfs

  12. I think it's definitely a digital mock-up, what somebody imagines a new camera (successor to D100) would or might look like. I don't think this is official Nikon stuff, just some folks speculating.


    The text is all about individual features of the camera, with the features that the new camera might have compared, mostly to the D100, with other references to D2H, D70, etc. E.g.,


    "AE/AF: Won't this basically be the same as the D100?"


    "[viewfinder] - Thought to be the same size as the D100, but it may be made easier to view."


    "Shutter socket - it is thought that the remote release socket on the D100 will be eliminated, replaced with a silver button.


    etc. etc.


    Robert Delfs

  13. Xinnian kuaile!


    Selamat tahun baru!



    ....and as many other ways to say "Happy New Year" as you can come up with.


    Everybody stay safe, keep wet, and have many happy frogfish in 2004.


    - Robert Delfs

  14. I'm not a marine biologist, but Debelius (Crustacea Guide of the World) says that Zebrida adamsii "seems not to harm its host".


    However, that's not necessarily true of the Coleman shrimp, Periclimenes colemani, which is often found on the same toxic fire urchins together with Zebra crabs. This shrimp is only found on the Fire urchin Asthenosoma varium - Zebra crabs will inhabit several different urchin species - and it occupies a place on the urchin that it cleares by removing tube feet and spines.


    I've never seen them clear a patch as large as the one in your photo, however.


    Off to Secret Bay tomorrow! I'll let you know if I see any zebras eating A. variums.


    Robert Delfs

  15. I've seen these (or what I think are the same things) before in numerous locations in Indonesia. Never was set up for hypermacro when I saw them, but I've looked at them through my magnifying glass. I've always assumed that they were juvenile crabs of some sort. You can get several hundred on one sponge (and none on other similar sponges in the same area), which suggests to me a recent mass hatching, or similar.


    Robert Delfs

  16. Mention of the drydock at PG brings back memories - there used to be a resident pair of harlequin shrimps about 15 feet away. It's the only place I've ever seen them, or been able to get a shot of one.


    Pedro (at Asian Divers) tells a great story about taking some divers to see the harlequins one day. They dropped in about 100 m or so away, and Pedro picked up a blue Linckia star fish to use to lure the harlequins out of their hole, holding the starfish in front of him as he led the group across the bottom toward the drydock. (Needless to say, the local supply of Linckia's in the immediate vicinity of the Harlequin's base was quite limited).


    Well, they got there, saw the Harleqins, etc., then did the usual blue-water ascent. On the surface, one of the divers exclaimed "That was incredible."


    "Oh, you liked the harlequin shrimp, did you?", asked Pedro.


    "That little shrimp. Yeah, that was okay. But what I thought was incredible was how you navigated using the starfish. You've gotta show me how to do that."


    (Now I can share Pedro's secret: always swim in the direction that the middle leg of the starfish is pointing!) :P


    Here's the harlequin from the Drydock at Puerto Galera:








  17. Ilanbt,


    What I was saying about sea beds and so forth applies to juvenile emperors (Lethrinidae), not juvenile emperor angelfish, which seem to be quite happy in corals and caves. This is the kind of confusion I was suggesting you might want to try to avoid.



  18. We know what you mean, but to avoid confusion, I'd keep with the full common name for Pomacanthus imperator - Emperor angelfish. Emperors are another family entirely, Lethrinidae.


    Juvenile emperors are not often seen, or at least not often recognized for what they are, as they look very different from adults and have different color phases as they change from juvenile to adult. Many live in seagrass beds and are highly camouflaged, so I was very interested in seeing your "juvenile emperor".


    Personally, I would have preferred a lighter background in a contrasting color. The dark bands on the head of this juvenile emperor angel merge into your dark background.


    Robert Delfs

  19. Andrew,


    This may be what you're looking for.


    The very negative MarineCamera.com tests which showed unacceptable pincushion distortion with the 12-24 and a diopter with the SWB port is located here. Their conclusion was that "any glass added to the [12-24] lens causd optical distortion" and that the 12-24 lens was unacceptable for underwater use.


    Craig posted the reference to this test in a discussion in this thread in September and some of his own tests with the 12-24 and the SWB port.


    The second page of that thread contains two posts iwth some test shots of mine with the 12-24 lens and the FE2 port that show what I consider quite minimal distortion.


    For me, it seems pretty clear that the problems reported in the MarineCamera.com tests were primarily related to the inappropriate choise of the SWB port. As far as I'm concerned, the FE2 (used with a 50 mm extension ring and a +2 diopter) is clearly superior to the SWB for use with the 12-24. This also seems to be Subal's position - they do not recommend use of the 12-24 or any other hyperwide lenses with the SWB port.


    Robert Delfs

  20. I recently bought a Spyder (and a GretagMacBeth color checker chart) to calibrate the LCD monitor on my Thinkpad. In the process of calibrating, the Spyder software changed the display significantly, leaving the colors noticeably toned down and more subdued. (Although this LCD has Red, Blue and Green controls, they are set in software, from the Windows Control Panel. Since I could not access the control panel while the Spyder software was running, I had to bail out of the program when it asked me to manually adjust color values. I re-ran the program, telling the Spyder program that my monitor had no color controls. It then took over the computer and made whatever changes it made itself. The curves in the monitor color controls remained unchanged.



    After calibration, as a test, I took an image I shot at Tulamben this past week-end, converted from RAW and then took the image into Photoshop where I followed my usual procedures. The final result looked great on the screen. But when I printed the image on my HP Cx970cxi, the result was garish and truly awful.


    Uncalibrated, my LCD monitor and the printer were closely matched when printing on HP premium photo paper - all I had to do was lighten the image slightly for printing.


    I now rather regret I ever started this exercise. If nothing else, I'd like to get the monitor back the way it was before I calibrated, but I'm not sure how to do that.


    Any help or advice would be gratefullly appreciated.


    Robert Delfs

  21. Another, but more expensive, option for WA is the FE2 dome port (8 inches vs. 6 for the SWB). The FE2 requires a 50mm ext. ring w/ the 17-40. The FE2 is supposed to be optically superior to the SWB however, when I asked if two pictures were hanging on the wall, one taken with the SWB and the other with the FE2 and all other things remain constant, could you tell a difference? the answer was "probably not". The SWB is $600.00 less expensive and smaller (therefore easier to pack) and was the Subal standard for lenses up to 14mm (on full frame 35mm film SLRs) before the FE2 came out. It will work just fine for the 15mmFE. For me the cost savings and smaller size of the SWB outways the supposed difference in optical quality and when I do buy a 15mmFE, or whatever Canan may come out with for DSLR WA, the SWB will work just fine up to the 35mm equivilant of 15mm. See Stu's pictures above for examples of this as he used the SWB with his borrowed 15mm.

    Just a quick comment on DeepDiscovery's remarks about the Subal SWB and FE2 dome ports. The SWB certainly is a good dome - I've used one for several years - and will give very satisfactory results.


    However, I recently acquired a FE2. I'd have to say that if two otherwise identical photos, one taken with the SWB and the other with the same lens through the FE2, were blown up and put on a wall next to each other, I'm fairly sure you could tell the difference. Obviously, there wouldn't be much difference in a small JPEG for the web, but printed even just at A4 size, the superior optics of the FE2 would be quite evident. Although I've only used the SWB with 20 mm and 28 mm lenses, my understanding is that the differences between the two ports is even more apparent with lenses wider than 20 mm.


    That said, DeepDiscovery is right in noting that the FE2 is considerably more expensive, and takes up more room in the Pelican case. It's also heavier.


    (If there is anyone unconvinced by what I'm saying who would like to buy a SWB dome port, mine is for sale.)


    Robert Delfs

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