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About Kilfoyle

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  • Birthday 07/30/1977

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  • Location
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D200
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS-125
  • Accessories
    Tokina 10-17mm
  1. French Polynesia trip report - Bora Bora and Rangiroa - July/August 2010 Summary - Sell your soul to get to Rangiroa if you have to. Close encounters with sharks, dolphins, and large pelagics galore with incredible vis on essentially every dive. You'll have an even better time (and more opportunities for post-dive cameraderie with fellow divers) if you speak a little French, although we had no trouble getting by with just English. Flights from LA to Papeete, Tahiti via Air Tahiti Nui Flights from Papeete to Bora Bora and Rangiroa via Air Tahiti No problems on either airline getting all equipment and baggage checked with no added fees. Weight restrictions on Air Tahiti to the outer islands (via ATR turboprop) were a bit stricter than the larger carriers, as to be expected. Although we tried to keep our weight to a minimum, we exceeded by several kg...luckily they did not charge us on any of our 3 flights. Tahiti - Stayed at Manava Suites. Very nice, reasonably priced, nice view of Moorea looking West across the channel. Limited snorkeling in front of hotel, but still some neat stuff to look at. Did not dive on Tahiti, but we did see whales passing in front of the hotel in the distance and were close enough to the outer reef to hear waves breaking when larger sets came in. Bora Bora - Stayed at Pearl Beach Resort. They have an in-house dive center, Blue Nui, which was well run and staffed by friendly folk who speak good English. Dive sites outside the fringing islands are on a sloping coral bottom with excellent visibility. A typhoon ~6 months ago had quite an impact on the coral, although it was not in the best shape to begin with. Still lots of fish, though, and saw lemon sharks and blacktips regularly. Inside the lagoon the visibility at our site was less than ideal, but we did still see mantas within touching distance on every dive there. Lots of cool coral formations (Agaricia, mushrooms, plating corals, etc.) in the lagoon. Everything there very expensive...$6 for a coke. Local beer is reasonably priced, though, and you can go to the store to get provisions and save a bit. Spectacular scenery and friendly people. Rangiroa - Stayed at Le MaiTai (formerly Novotel). Essentially everything on the island is in the villages of Avatoru and Tiputa, although there is still not much there. They did not start to develop it at all until the 80's, and still has that "way off the beaten path" feel to it. Dove with Raie Manta Club dive shop...first and oldest on the island, run by world reknowned filmmaker/photographer, author, and conservationist Yves Lefevre. Quite a treat to hang out with this guy. On our first dive we saw 6 species of shark (grey reef, silvertip, whitetip, blacktip, nurse, great hammerhead), dolphins, Maori wrasse, turtles, an eagle ray, and countless fish species. The coral reef here is absolutely exquisite. Most of our dives were drifts that began outside in deep water and took us through the pass at high speed and spit us out in the shallow lagoon. I would estimate drift speeds on some of our dives approaching 6 knots or more. Its really quite a ride! The "wall of sharks" at the mouth of Tiputa pass is worth the trip alone. On every dive we heard dolphins, and 75% of the time they approached us to within touching distance. Really cool. Our last dive was a sunset dive at the pass, where we got to watch several species of surgeon fish spawning en masse, the sharks coming up from the depths to cruise the shallows, dogtooth tuna cruising by at close range, and some frisky dolphins keeping us company the whole time. I cannot wait to go back to this place! They recommend visiting between November and March (peak Dec-Feb) to catch huge schools of eagle rays and hammerheads. They get frequent tiger sharks there as well, and occasionally the whales will show up. Can't say much for the macro-opportunities, as I was concentrating on bigger stuff at the time, but I know there are still some other things to shoot besides pelagics. Its no Raja Ampat, though, if thats what you are looking for. And bring a dive computer! The cleaning station outside Tiputa pass where the sharks typically congregate is at about 130'. And it just gets sharkier from there... Cheers, Kirk
  2. Thanks to all for your feedback. To update on this issue....I dove the setup this weekend with no dioptre. After doing more thorough tests in the pool, both with and without the dioptre, I decided I was not doing myself any favors by keeping it on. Distance focusing was great, as was focusing on objects that were directly in contact with the dome port. For general reference, this lens is a bit noisy, although not to the point of distraction. It also seemed difficult at times to tell if the image was in focus while looking through the viewfinder and housing, although the images looked okay on the computer afterwards. I chose the older lens version due to size limitations. The newer models are just too beefy to fit in my housing or to get a gear around. Might play around with this lens in the flat port on the next dive, just for schitzengiggles.
  3. After getting several recommendations, I picked up a Sigma 17-70mm lens (the old one - non HSM/OS) for my Nikon D200 in Subal housing. I am still doing trials with it to get it tweaked just right, but so far am having difficulty getting it to focus on anything past about 5 feet away. It is currently behind an 8" dome, with EXR-33 extension ring, and +2 dioptre. Close focus is great, but I really got this lens to shoot larger subjects like turtles, groupers, and sharks that are not within arm's reach. Not sure how useful this lens is going to be for WA work if I cannot focus on anything closer than 5 feet. I know the dioptre is an issue here with the infinity focus, but I was hoping it would behave a little better than this! Going to keep playing with it and maybe try behind the flat port. Anyone else run into this problem?
  4. Good advice, Ellen! I actually found the olderi (used but in "good condition"), non OS/HSM version of the Sig 17-70 at Adorama earlier this afternoon before reading your post. And yes, I plan to swing by Reef Photo for the zoom gear. I had consulted with Ryan and Tony last week about lens suggestions and they helped tremendously, as always. I have nothing but good experiences to relate when it comes to the team there at Reef Photo. Looking forward to the day the lens arrives, and my next excuse to splash the rig again!
  5. Yes, I've had several people suggest the Sigma 17-70. However, I have also heard that support for this lens on a D200 in a Subal housing is difficult. Specifically, the newer versions (OS, HSM) are too big to put a gear on. I'm looking for an older version (non OS, HSM), but have been striking out so far. The older ones that I have found don't specifically say they can be mounted to a Nikon camera body. Has anyone else had this problem? The hunt continues...
  6. Hello, I am in the market for a mid-range WA lense for my D200. I currently use a Subal ND20 housing, with FE2 dome port (and extension ring) and FP-90/3 flat port. I already have the Tokina 10-17, which is great, but I am looking for something that will allow me to frame large animals without necessarily being within touching distance of them. In particular, something good for fish portraits and skittish pelagics, but ideally still retaining some decent macro/close-focus capability. I've read a bit about Nikon 12-24, Sigma 17-70, etc., but am still trying to narrow down the field. Thanks
  7. Where are you located? Can I assume the housing is in excellent condition? Any scratches or other minor damage?
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