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Steve Douglas

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Everything posted by Steve Douglas

  1. Stumbled on here again to see if there were any follow ups on the many cases brought up here. I would just say that Camdiver Mark has as much right to express his views as anyone and, as a shooter and editor, he was a real asset to the community here but I totally understand why he stopped coming by. It is our loss. I think it terrible for someone to write that it would be best if he stayed away just because he is of a different opinion with a different perspective. At the same time, I do not agree with Mark on this. As large a community as Wetpixel is, it is small in the scheme of things and we owe it to each other to share our experiences, both positive and negative, with shops, charters et al. That so many lost so much due to their interactions with H20 is the issue and word needed to be spread to prevent others from getting fleeced. If you recall Mark, when you were thinking of doing a dive t shirt operation several years ago, I told you I would have nothing to do with H20 and warned you as well. This was well before the shop went down and companies stopped their relations with H20. You might have gotten fleeced as well if not warned and what kind of a friend would I have been to you if I kept my thoughts to myself and not warned you? On another note, Adam and Eric probably work harder than any of us can imagine to keep this very valuable site open to any and all divers and I hang on no one's coat-tails. At any rate, Mark, I do hope you and your new wife are doing well and that you are doing what you enjoy. In my mind, your experience and knowledge are missed. Steve
  2. Had a Gates housing flood back in the SD days with a Sony 2000 in it. The flood was completely my fault. Replaced the port and the housing was fine due to no electronics. The camcorder still sits in my back room as a reminder never to rush and makes a great doorstop. Steve
  3. All batteries have been sold but one battery and one charger. The camcorder and underwater housings, wet lens, monitor and Fathoms ports are still for sale. The NVIDIA Graphics card has also been sold. Steve
  4. Sold! Thank you for reading. Steve
  5. While I have never had my carry on's weighed, one thing I always do and that is that if the person taking the ticket before actually boarding is on my left, I keep the carry on diagnally on my right so it is out of her line of vision. The opposite would apply if they were on my right. I am pretty sure this helps. Unfortunately, when taking a hopper from San Diego to LAX, there really is no room for carry ons and they give you that valet ticket. Then as we march out to the plane, I explain to the baggage person that it has fragile gear in it and ask if he would load it last. They always say yes but, even then, I don't board the plane and just stand there so they see me watching and then put my carry on last so nothing is bouncing on top of it. This has served me well. Steve
  6. Dustin, No matter what arms you choose, never lift the housing by them or allow crew to do so. That is asking for trouble. Steve
  7. Since this thread is making suggestions, I am guessing that its ok for me to make one as well. My carry on is usually heavier than my checked bags and my cam and housings are always in carry on these days. I agree that the Pelican case these days is a bit heavy but I used to put it with the housing in the rattiest dive bag there ever was with only one, central compartment zipper that actually worked, and checked that in. No one would ever suspect there was anything of value in that bag and I traveled all over the world with it without a problem. I have used the Lowepro bags and they are of high quality. Unsure of all the sizes they come in but I currently use a ThinkTank International bag for my carry on stuff and have no problems fitting the housing, lights et all in it when I travel. I have to put it in the overhead horizontally but haven't had problems with the airlines because of it. Steve
  8. Wasn't there a law recently passed in California banning the sale of shark fin soup? I think there was but with the provision that restaurants were allowed to sell off and use up their remaining stock. Would like clarification on this if at all possible. STeve
  9. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/shark...-201036464.html Steve
  10. Here are two additional documents regarding the Argalita Project. Most of you are probably already aware of the issue as it has received a large amount of press in the papers and TV news worldwide. Steve JOIN THE HISTORIC 2012 ALGALITA/5 GYRES JAPAN TSUNAMI EXPEDITION Algalita Marine Research Foundation, 5 Gyres Institute and Pangaea Explorations LLC offer an unprecedented opportunity to scientists, educators and interested parties to sail through the projected debris field left in the wake of two of nature's deadliest forces....a massive earthquake and devastating tsunami. Join our research expedition through the North Pacific Ocean sailing aboard Pangaea Explorations Sea Dragon . May 1, 2012. The first leg is scheduled to leave from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands through an area of the North Pacific Gyre referred to as the “Western Garbage Patch” where little research has been conducted on plastic pollution. Following arrival in Japan on May 23, there will be a week layover in Japan. May 30, 2012 The second leg is scheduled to begin May 30, traveling due east from Japan to Hawaii crossing the Tsunami Debris Field, arriving on Maui, Hawaii, July 1. Nine crew spaces are available on each Leg. Requirements: Personal medical insurance must be in place prior to any point of departure. Valid Passport/Visa Cost Per Person: Leg 1 - $9,500. Leg 2 - $15,500. A deposit of $4,000 and $5,000, respectively, is required at the time of registration. Proceeds from the fare will support Algalita’s and 5 Gyres’ cooperative research and science-based educational outreach. Cost includes: Berth space, meals and participation in scientific activities throughout the Expedition. Cost exclusions: Land lodging, including the layover in Japan. Transportation to and from vessel points of departure or arrival. The 2012 voyage is open to anyone 18 years and older, regardless of sailing experience. Participants will travel with four professional crew members and will be expected to earn their sea legs and rough hands by hauling in lines and hoisting sails. They will also conduct research side-by-side with scientists, whether operating a trawl or collecting and cataloging plastic marine pollution material and sea life. CONTACT JEANNE GALLAGHER AT ALGALITA MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION WWW.ALGALITA.ORG OPSADMIN@ALGALITA.ORG 562-598-4889 WE WELCOME SPONSORS Sponsor_Benefits_Options_Letterhead_2_8_12.doc
  11. Over the last few years I have been very conscious of and concerned about the giant garbage patch making its way around the Pacific. The Japanese tsunami has only added to that. I called Jeanne Gallagher who heads the Argalita Project which has, for the last few years, been sending out research and clean up expeditions regarding this and personally have learned a great deal. It appears that with the lessening of government and organization grants, the research is threatened by the lack of funds. They have two legs of research vessels planned for this spring and summer. If anyone is interested in joining them, I will add attachments to this post to let you know who and how to contact them. The expeditions are not cheap. For those who cannot take part, tax deductible contributions to this very worthy organization would be greatly appreciated I am sure. In late May they are holding a symposium in Japan that I hope to attend and will gladly share any information I derive from it. Right now, this organization needs our financial support so whether it is $5.00 or $2500., anything little bit helps. To get any further info feel free to contact Jeanne Gallagher Her email address is: opsadmin@argalita.org Steve Nat_Geo_Article_Letterhead.doc Call_for_Sponsors_Letter_2_8_12.doc Feb_2012_TDF_Press_Release.doc
  12. You don't say if you are using lights at all, and if so, it appears that in a couple feet of water they are not really necessary. However, that you are getting reflections off the fish leads me to believe that you are shooting down on them. I could be wrong on this but if I am correct, then try to get somewhat lower than the fish themselves and film them shooting slightly up. This applies to filming all marine life regardless of depth. When you shoot down on a subject it tends to flatten them out while shooting slightly up will bring out the fish's character and will produce a better composition for your video. This positioning should also help you avoid those unwanted reflections, though at only 1 feet depth, they might not be completely avoidable. Also, since you are filming in Auto focus, which I strongly advise against, the iris might be fooled by the reflections into going in and out of focus. Practice filming in manual focus only. My 2cents Steve
  13. Hey Dustin, It really comes down to a frame by frame, subject by subject situation. In general, the answer to your question is yes. Both lights would do well to cover your subject completely unless you were looking to create a specific effect via shadowing. Again, for WA work, if you are too far away, the lights will do little, if any good but for medium shots where I am perhaps shooting a reef shot from a few feet away, I will separate my lights enough to cover as wide a ground as possible but making sure that there are no empty lit areas at the same time. Not sure just how articulate I am being here and I have no experience using the 4000 lights or their angle of spread. The fisheye certainly will have a wider angle so I would focus your lights more on the actual subject and let the fall off on the sides appear natural. Since you are fortunate enough to have pool to practice in, bring in a few objects of different sizes and colors. Are your whiter objects blown out? If so, you will learn to adjust your lights to avoid that. Are your darker subjects too crushed in one area; again this will teach you to position them for each situation. With reefs you often have steps of subjects as well as crannies that may be darker and positioning for your composition will come with practice and experience. You are definitely doing the right thing by getting familiar with your gear before going on a trip. Steve
  14. It sounds as if you are shooting stills and want to know whether video lights are suitable. Maybe you should post this over in the photo forum here and see what they have to say. Steve
  15. Excellent point, out of the water, neither brand of arm is strong enough to support a heavy light topside. That said, before I pass up my system, I always bend the lights in so they are resting on top of the housing. This prevents a crewman from grabbing the system by the arms and protects both the lights and my port. I don't really care that they won't stand up topside, it is what they do under the water for me that counts. And yep folks, I always forget 'Locline' as fall back on loc tight. Just senile I guess. Steve PS Good to see you back Steve W. Hope all is well.
  16. You're probably right regarding the name, but why would you say they can't be moved? Don't understand. Steve
  17. I used the loc tight arms for a great many years and the Nocturnal arms for about 8 months. If I were you, and if I could, I would go to my local dealer if possible and try them out. The loc tights can be removed individually so you can set your own arm length. For the Nocturnals, I use a 12 " arm and they seem just fine for me. But its your call. Steve
  18. Hey Dustin, Yep, those are the ones I have been using. They have drilled holes for drainage which saves you from doing it. Every system seems to have a different way of mounting so if it works for you, go for it. They aren't as squeaky as the loc tight arms and I think the loc tights are just a bit easier to move around but they're pretty much the same and a lot less expensive. Steve
  19. Dustin, Those arms are certainly bullet proof but I hated wasting time having to adjust them to fit the shot which is why I went back to the loc tight arms. Actually, now I am using similar arms sold by Nocturnal Lights. If you stick with the ULCS arms, you will probably want two sections for each arm so that positioning and length will be more easily adjusted. I really don't recall the length of my current arms, but, at least 12" is necessary. By the way, back in the day I was using the loc tight arms in the very strong currents of Tahiti and the Cocos Islands with heavier lights than the 4000s and never had a problem with them being forced out of position by the current. Steve
  20. M43user, I agree, it should not be necessary at all. I learn a great deal from others here and people should not be afraid to express their experiences and opinions. I believe in helping others where I can and love when others like Simon, Real Drew, Dean and so many more folk share their experiences and opinions for me to learn from. You should be free to do so, as long as one is not obstreporious or disruptive, without recriminations. Steve
  21. I don't know why they use a slate at all. If you hold up a slate in front of a port, it is likely your lights are now aimed at the slate as well. Therefore, your cam is white balancing to a well lit white very close to the cam. However, when filming, our subjects are often lit by lights a couple of feet or more away from the lights, so White in that case is not the same white when it is so close to the port. I WB on my white fins with the lights on. In this case, I am WBing to, what I think, is a real world situation and thus is more accurate. Steve
  22. Hey Dustin, You are certainly focusing on an important issue. Everyone knows that lights are needed but you rarely hear discussions of lighting placement underwater while it is always a major subject when shooting topside. Not sure what light arm you are using and everyone has their preferences. Some use the ultra light arms while others, like myself, prefer the loc tight arms or arms similar to them. One thing to make sure of, and this can be affected by the port you are using and how wide its angle is, is to avoid placing your arms/lights too far forward as they can sometimes get in, and thus ruin, your frame. I have not used the 4000s but have been told by other users that they have a nice diffused light. However, if you see that there are any hotspots, try separating the two lights so that the diffused edges slightly overlap rather than have both aimed directly at the subject. This will provide a nice spread of light and avoid hot spotting. If you have a 3rd light, you can place it, unseen, behind a subject or reef for some nice backlighting effects as well. With two lights, you can position one aiming down from above the subject while using the spread of the second light more directly. This would be useful in medium or macro shots. Remember that even the best of underwater lights have limited throw in the water, often only a few feet, so for really wide angle shots of reefs or things in the distance, your lights will be of little use. While everyone has there own working preferences, if I see something I want to film, I will generally turn on my lights and get roughly the position that I think I will need before I settle down in front of the subject to film. Settling down first and then turning on your lights can often frighten your subject as opposed to gradually bringing them into play. I'm sure others here will have much more to contribute as well. Steve
  23. " " Amazes me how some are actually born knowing everything and never had to learn or experience things through their lives and careers." "Members will be too scared to ask questions soon in fear of being belittled " I was going to ditto Simon's comment until I got the PM below. We all have had experiences with different products and often people come to us either here or in person with issues hoping we can solve them, provide understanding or give comments. It seems that if I say something good, I am being criticized or if I say something negative, I am being criticized. So I guess what Drew is saying via this PM is that I cannot have an opinion or express it. I don't consider myself 'Industry' since I am not paid by any industry. I shoot and edit films like everyone else here and I do write reviews without remuneration. Here's a word Drew....Megalomania. "I've talked to you about your status as industry and your constant disparaging of brands you were formerly represented and promoting brands you received free merchandise from. Whether you are being factual or not, you are an industry member and cannot write disparaging remarks about brands you don't represent, especially those from unverifiable sources. Drew" Hey Drew, Are you the only one here with a valid opinion? I guess you must think so and from the many pms and emails I get regarding your comments, apparently others think you believe that as well.
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