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Posts posted by bdickson

  1. Hi Steve,


    I read your patent and it seems to me that the Aqualung implementation of your invention is quite different than your original intention. Your drawings show a sausage mounted on the shoulder of the BC with a separate low pressure supply hose and a diver operated valve which allows independent inflation of the sausage and the BCD. I tried an Aqualung SOS in the pool on my Seaquest Balance BCD. In order to inflate the sausage I had to blow the BCD up completely before the sausage inflated. Problem was, the back inflation design of the Balance pushes the diver face down into the water when fully inflated.


    Why didn't Aqualung implement your original design?


    Bruce Dickson

  2. I use an S2/Aquatica housing with several strobes. My packing is like this:

    CASE 1 (checked) 62 pounds. Pelican 1620 wheeled case, contains housing, ports, strobes, tools, battery chargers etc. Also a Nikonos V setup as backup. (Tip: Discard the eggcrate foam in the Pelican lid and use a wetsuit instead.)


    CASE 2 (checked) 64 pounds. A semi hard sided Samsonite rollon which contains all my scuba gear including regulator and all my clothes.


    CASE 3 (carryon) 25 pounds. An anonymous looking backpack which is fitted inside with camera bag dividers. Contains S2 body, lenses, blank CD's, washkit and travel documents. Also my laptop, which is in a padded sleeve so it can be taken out and carried separately if required.


    This configuration has been accepted without question on all US (International destinations) and Carribean/South American Airlines I have travelled on. The other key is insurance. DAN Equipment Insurance covers all my photo and dive gear regardless of how it is packed or who has control of it (me or the airline).

  3. As promised, here are is a link to some images of my Inon Quad Flash and the custom port I made to fit my Aquatica housings. Also some sample images shot with the Quad using my N90S with Nikon 60mm. I haven't had an opportunity to use the Quad with my S2 yet. That will come next week in Bonaire.




    Things I like about the setup:

    It is very compact, and lets me get into tight corners that would be impossible with conventional strobe arms. The Yellowline Arrow Crab is a good example.

    It does seem to let me get closer to skittish subjects.


    Things I don't like about the setup:

    It is about 2.5 pounds negative, and makes my wrists ache. The automatic aiming light is not really bright enough on its own. The strobe, port and external 2:1 diopter cost close to $1,500.



  4. I have an Inon Z22 Quad Flash, and I'm very pleased with it. I believe it's the only one in the US right now. I had to buy it from Ocean Optics in London UK and import it. Then I had to customize a port to fit my Aquatica housing. I did this by buying a Sea&Sea port made by Ocean Optics for the Z22 and grafting it onto an Aquatica extension ring.


    I'll post some images, both of the Quad Flash & Port, and some results.

  5. There is no way (IMHO) that you can get a housed system into a carry on sized case. I have an Aquatica S2 housing with 2 ports and 3 strobes plus the usual accessories. I pack all this in a Pelican 1620 which is a double depth case with wheels and internal padded dividers. I have space to pack my regulator and dive computer in there as well. The camera body, lenses and laptop computer go in my carry on bag.


    As for locking checked bags, the simple answer nowadays is Insurance. I asked the DAN equipment Insurance people specifically about theft during transportation and they confirmed that the equipment is insured for any risk at any time.



  6. I have been on Solmar V to Socorro and was frankly disappointed. The trip is billed as "the greatest large animal diving in the world". Sure, we saw mantas but not in numbers I would have expected. The few sharks we saw were on the edge of visibility and never came close in. We only saw one or two huge schools of jacks and tuna. The trip overall was tough, starting with a 24 hour run out from Cabo San Lucas in reasonable seas. All of the diving was done from two very crowded RHIB's with 11 divers and 2 crew each, in mostly rough (6 foot plus) seas. The trip back to Cabo was very rough, taking 33 hours in 12 foot quartering seas.


    On the brighter side, the boat is very comfortable although the cabins are very small. The food overall is good, and the crew are very attentive.


    I have also been on Solmar V on its Sea of Cortez itinerary. That was much more enjoyable. I believe we saw as many mantas as we did in Socorro, and had the added bonus of up close sea lion encounters. The ocean was much calmer, and no long crossings.



  7. I can even tell you have a red/orange strobe from the flare...:-)

    Yes, the Ikelite 200 is a "warm" strobe. I'm fairly well convinced that this is flare from the strobe catching the port at just the right(wrong) angle. The fact that the marks show up on only 20 percent of the underwater images and on none of my above water images rules out CCD dust etc. I'll experiment with strobe positioning next time I'm in the big pond.



  8. Last weekend I used my S2 for the first time in the ocean. The setup was as follows: S2 in Aquatica housing with 8 inch dome port and shade. Sigma 14mm f3.5 lens, single Ikelite 200 strobe with custom diffuser. Settings: Camera on Hi-Res JPEG, Aperture Priority at f8, strobe on half power manual. The conditions were mostly overcast, with very poor visibility. I shot about 100 images, and on about 20 of them two patches of light can be seen as in the sample attached. I'm at a loss to know what is causing this. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  9. Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I was wondering how one would get the Sigma 12-24mm to work in a dome. As the the closest focussing distance is only 28cm, surely you would need a diopter?

    The minimum focus distance of a dome port is equal to twice the diameter of the dome. So, an 8 inch dome has a minimum focus distance of 16 inches. The 12-24 will focus ok in an 8 inch port without a diopter. If the minimum focus distance of the lens is 11 inches, then it should be ok in a 6 inch dome too.



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