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oneyellowtang last won the day on September 19

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About oneyellowtang

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  1. My daughter shoots with the A7III (not RIII) and loves it. She has the Nauticam housing (which is pricy, but very easy to use). Very good for macro, and really shines for wide angle. Ikelite stuff is great value for the $. Why you don't see many really experienced u/w photographers shoot with Ike stuff is because they end upgrading to Seacam/Nauticam/Aquatica/etc. eventually. There a few reasons for this: - Nauticam/etc. tend to be a little more ergonomic (button placement, etc.) - Ike housings tend to be a bit larger than the corresponding machined housings for the same housing (because Ike housings aren't machined metal). - Some will argue that Ike housing a more likely to eventually see a flood (this is more user dependent than anything else). Having the option of a leak detector and vacuum pump makes the housings like Nauticam a little more idiot-proof. - The machined housings tend to be more robust (much less likely to be damaged during travel, etc.) And for me, the biggest reason - Nauticam is 100x better in being able to shoot with fiber optic connections to the strobes (I will never go back to electronic strobe cables...) Again - much of this comes down to preference - Ike is great value for the $.
  2. Few things: Using the 45 viewfinder for macro does take some time to learn, but makes it much better to frame shots once you get used to it. When I first read that you were bumping up against the viewfinder and that it caused a leak I thought you were talking about the housing - but then realized you were talking about your mask. My mask is up against the 45 viewfinder on every shot - haven't had this problem before... 45 vs. 180 viewfinder: I own both, and have used both, but after getting used to the 45 I've basically put the 180 on the shelf and use the 45 exclusively for macro and wide angle. Lots of folks are going to tell you that the 45 is for macro - the fact that I can rotate the viewfinder so I can easily shoot either portrait or landscape while basically staying in the same orientation to my subject ends up being great for wide angle. Also - when shooting subjects at the surface (my family was in both Moorea and Tetiaroa last year shooting humpbacks) the 45 is perfect, because you can float on the surface and shoot with the camera just below the surface (although we spent a lot of the time either shooting slightly downwards where the viewfinder doesn't help as much, or shooting level while free diving to about 10-15 feet - where the viewfinder is fine). Lighting while shooting humpbacks and sharks in French Polynesia: While shooting the humpbacks I think you are already know that you won't be carrying any lights (strobes, lights, etc.). You are going to swim, and swim some more, and yet swim even more to both get close to the whales and position yourself so that can shoot side on or face on. You are going to want to push the minimum amount of camera gear through the water. It's all ambient light shooting. For shooting the sharks at Fakarava and Rangiroa - I would absolutely take your strobes. Even a small amount of strobe lighting helps freeze the outer edges of the sharks against the water background. Because you will be shooting through several feet of water it will make a big difference (and if you shoot on the outer edges of the passes, you will be deep). Weight restrictions are reasonable on the inter-island flights, and scuba divers can check in an extra 5kg of baggage (on the larger planes). Maldives entries: I've been to the Maldives a number of times, and never had an issue with having my camera handed down to me (via the braided handle clipped near both ball mounts). Some of the dives can be "negative entry" - but never to the point where you couldn't quickly return to the surface to collect your camera. Personally, I would never jump off a boat with my housing, strobes, etc. I have made some "quick entries" sliding off a boat to get shots of dolphins or a manta swimming by, but that's been while snorkeling. Last - you can shoot as many or as few subjects as you want on a dive. However, Anilao is very much a u/w photo destination, and the guides are all (very) used to finding a subject for photographers then expecting them to spend 1 minute - 20+ minutes shooting that one subject. When you are shooting they usually wander off to find the next subject for you. U/W photographers usually only have 2 speeds on a dive - slow and stop. If you're diving with a (non-photographer) buddy, this can cause some tension... as you shoot more with your DSLR you will notice that you will start slowing down as you dive - and your buddy is going to end up waiting for you (sometimes a lot, as you find subjects you want to spend time with). My wife has put up with ~20 years of this, and I've noticed that I shoot a little less on a dive now when we dive together (it's a compromise). When I dive with either our son or daughter (who both also shoot underwater) we'll stay shooting the same subject for minutes at a time (and cover less distance).
  3. Chilbal (& Wolfgang), I know these are supposed to be respectful & polite forums however I (respectfully) completely disagree, and I also believe you are looking at this issues too simplistically. For example: when fish are caught (with nets or cyanide or by any other mechanism) they are shipped in small bags of water (inside packing boxes) in the bellies of planes to whatever wholesaler is paying for the fish. The death rate of shipping reef fish in boxes like this is over 50% (I know this because I had a friend who ran a business in this space on 4 islands in the Pacific (for the N. American, Japanese, and Korean markets) - he let the business die after 3 years when he couldn't find economical ways of reducing the mortality rate. Wholesalers pay for live fish only - so collectors will always ship 2x-3x the number of fish ordered to make sure they fulfill their orders - they expect a high % of die off in transportation (due to stress, overheating, lack of oxygen, lack of food, etc.) Then add in the mortality rate for shipping to either retail or end customers, which is another 10%-20%. A huge number of fish are being taken off the reefs so that some people can watch these "pretty fish" in their tanks in their living rooms. Anyone who supports this trade and is also an underwater photographer is at a minimum a hypocrite, and more likely just selfish. I'll say it again - if you believe that it is unethical to keep a Cheetah as a pet, then there should be no reason in keeping reef fish in a private aquarium. Collectors for public aquariums are a totally different breed - and in many cases work for the aquariums themselves (like the Monterey Bay Aquarium) - in many countries they have to maintain a scientific specimen collection license, and must agree to a standard of ethical collection (and husbandry) practices. If you care about the reef don't maintain a private aquarium -go support your public aquarium instead.
  4. Not sure how much help this will be however... I have both a D500 and a D850 (both housed in Nauticam housings). I got the D850 primarily for topside photography, but then housed it when the WACP was announced. For U/W, I shoot almost exclusively with the D500. It's fast, razor sharp, and very flexible - and gets great results. The one exception is when I know I'm going to have the opportunity to shoot a significant amount of w/a on a trip - then I will bring along the D850 with the WACP. I'm sure you've heard about the "heftiness" of the WACP - you need to be committed (in more ways than one) to travel with it (right now it takes up about 1/2-3/4 of a suitcase by itself - depending on which bag I bring). For w/a, the D850 with the WACP gets me results that surpass anything I was able to get with the D500. However, I much rather shoot the D500 for macro and fish shots... There are a number of u/w photographers here that have gotten some amazing macro shots with the D850 - I clearly need some work in this area. One scenario where there is measurable difference (and where the D500 clearly outshines the D850) is during a black-water dive. Having dived with both setups in Anilao on black-water dives, the D500 (with a 60mm) clearly outperformed the D850 (with a 105 or 60) for me. The focus on the D500 was faster, and it didn't get nearly as "confused" with all the stuff in the water. Much easier to shoot in this scenario with the D500 setup. Topside: just came back from the southern Kalahari - the D850 absolutely shined in this environment. I had the D850 set up with the 200-400mm lens and the D500 set up with a shorter lens. The D850 was excellent.
  5. My daughter shoots an Oly in the Oly housing, and my nephew shoots the same camera as you (in the same housing). Dived with both of them in Lembeh about a year ago. They both never took off their 60mm lens - it was the right lens for everything but giant frogfish and when they wanted to capture whole fish shots (which was very rare, given the muck). Daughter also shoots the 9-18 behind the zen port - she has not been disappointed in that combination. We dove Bangka together 2 years ago - we saw the same dugong twice, but never got close enough to take a picture. You could dive macro ever dive there and not get disappointed, but if you want to shoot some of the sea fans or schools of fish you'll want some w/a capability. A wet lens would give you the most flexibility.
  6. Diving Lembeh: my daughter shoots the same Olympus - when we were in Lembeh this year she shot the 60mm exclusively and never regretted it. 90%-95% off the critters you find can be shot well with that lens (yes, giant frogfish will be a challenge, as will a few other subjects like full-sized lionfish and scorpionfish). The challenge won't actually be the focal length, but the ability to get a strong focus in low light. Most everything in Lembeh moves slow, but later in the afternoon (and at night) this camera/lens combo will potentially struggle. I had my daughter dive with a focus light on every dive after the first day, and it helped a lot. For the 850: I have this camera as well - the 105 is the right lens for Lembeh. You will likely never take it off while diving there. The comment above about the working distance allowing for additional particles between you and the subject is right on - you'll need to be patient, and really work your focus (90% of the time I had it on the eye of the subject [or the part of the nudi I wanted to focus on). Diving Bunaken: you can dive the exact same lenses and shoot macro, or go wide and shoot the reef/schools of fish/etc. When the vis is good (much of the time) the blue water makes for a great background. The most common (largish) animals you will consistently find in Bunaken are turtles. I would go with your 16-35 (and shoot with a blue background to negate any corner issues). Diving Komodo: we just got back (2 weeks ago) from an 8 day liveaboard in Komodo. For the D850, I would stick with the 16-35 for all the wide angle opportunities. The big challenge you're going to have is managing the dome in some strong current (like at Castle Rock, Shotgun, Manta Alley, etc.). I shot with the WACP and when we dove shotgun I didn't bother shooting when we were hooked in - the current was just too strong (both before and after you get in the channel there were good opportunities to shoot schools of fish, etc.). One tip I wish I had before diving Manta Alley - most of the dive is a long undulating channel. Much of the bottom is dead coral, tiny outcroppings, rocks, or sand... however in the "gulleys" (where the channel dips down slightly) there are some amazing medium-sized coral outcroppings covered in soft coral (and other life) with many fish around them. They make great close focus medium/wide angle subjects. Get down and get close (the gulley will create a small pocket where the current won't be quite as strong - it's manageable). In addition, you will likely get lucky and get close enough to shoot a manta coming in/out of a cleaning station - this is where handling your dome is going to be hard - if the mantas are there, there will likely be some strong current. At the end of the dive I got lucky and came across an eagle ray being cleaned - as long as I didn't get in front of it I was able to get as close as I needed to - it just stayed almost completely still (facing into the current). My daughter shoots the 9-18 for wide angle.
  7. Let me throw in additional support for Mike @ Underwater Tribe. Did a wide angle 1:1 course with him a few years ago... really helped my w/a shooting. Completely custom course (focused on where I needed help), dived a bunch of interesting sites in north Bali, shot a ton of images (even a few good ones). And it looks like they have it really dialed in now - when I dove w/Mike it felt pretty "seat of the pants" from a planning, etc. perspective, but I've heard from a few folks who have gone out with them over the last year+ that things are now even better. Highly recommended. Also - Mike Bartik @Crystal Blue Divers (Anilao) is a true pro's pro. He's co-taught several of Blue Water Photo workshops that I've attended (and planning on returning this Dec.). He's excellent at providing feedback on images, technique, etc. (but you have to know that if you ask for feedback he will give it you Worth mentioning that he's probably the single most qualified person to talk about black water diving on the planet - they have this really dialed in at Crystal Blue.
  8. Whenever I travel for diving I now carry my laptop in a backpack with weather seals. It won't survive a complete dunking but the bag will keep water off a laptop for a short "excursion" in ocean.
  9. I should have mentioned one other important thing. Public (or research) aquariums (like the Monterey Bay Aquarium) collect their own fish or use licensed scientific specimen collectors that leverage ethical collection methods. There are some (smaller) aquariums that do buy species on the open market - if you find one of these, you should absolutely send an email to their executive director letting them know they are supporting the destruction of the very environment they put on display.
  10. Wolfgang, The question isn't if raised aquarium fish are better/worse for living reefs then fish caught in the wild. That's obvious... The real question is - for anyone like us (underwater photographers) is there any reason to even have salt water aquariums? You have access to the ocean and these beautiful fish & creatures through your hobby (or if you are lucky, your job). By supporting the aquarium trade at all you become part of the challenge - you're just willing to buy into the trade at a higher price point (for raised fish vs. wild-caught). It's still supporting a market that fundamentally hurts the fish we love seeing in the wild. Outside of public education or research, we are getting to a point where there is no need for private salt water aquariums to exist. Public zoos are going the same way (although they are playing a much larger role in species' DNA storage & diversity for preproduction these days - by necessity). 200 years ago shell collections were incredibly important for scientists to study biodiversity - today, private shell collections are (mostly) frowned upon (if collected in the wild - vs washing up on a beach). Times change.
  11. )Agreed - aquaculture-bred fish are at least more sustainable than fish caught in the wild. Having said this, there is a new train of thought that is making it's way through the aquarium trade - much like keeping wild animals as pets is now thought by most to be completely unethical, so is keeping any salt-water fish in aquariums (outside of institutions focused on education, awareness, or research). Many people on this forum would be appalled at someone who kept a domesticated cheetah, why keep a domesticated clownfish? Salt water aquariums should be a thing of the past - we have enough access to the wild versions to not need them in our homes anymore.
  12. Just returned from an 8 day live aboard trip (private charter) to Komodo. The diving was good, but not near the level we expected. I was wondering if Komodo is becoming one of those places that has passed the point of no return w/regards to the number of boats, divers, etc. To be clear... - Crystal Rock was excellent - we dived it 3 times and it was outstanding (although very few sharks). Definitely a world-class dive. - Manta Alley was very good - we didn't see a huge number of mantas, but did get a few. Rating this as (still) a great dive mainly because the current makes it both interesting, and let's you get close to mantas (and other animals - had a great time getting very close to an eagle ray getting cleaned for about 5 minutes). Note: I say "still" because some of the day boats are now dropping divers in right before the cleaning stations after they spot the mantas from the surface. Net effect of dropping 10+ divers in the water that close is the mantas tend to swim off rather quickly. - A couple of other dives were also very good... What wasn't great: - Batu Bolong: coral is still in great shape, but the number of divers being dropped (early morning) from liveaboards is absurd (easily 40+ divers on the lee side while we were in the water). Later in the morning it got worse with the day boats having permission to dive it between 9AM-3PM. - Castle Rock: dived it once at slack tide, and once when the current was ripping. Both dives were okay. Ironically there were more fish around at slack tide. As an u/w photographer, being hooked in limits your ability to shoot in current this strong. Don't get me wrong, this is a good dive, but I was expecting more (Uepi Point and Devil's Highway in the Solomons) are both better dives than this). "Shotgun" (the Cauldron): this was also a good dive, but again dive boats are starting to drop divers right in near the cleaning stations once mantas are spotted from the surface. Chased away all mantas we saw. Overall - the number of boats diving Komodo is at the point where it's almost absurd. About half way through the trip we did get a little further away (ended up at the same sites as the Arenui, Damai I, and then later, the Pindito) - this was a little better - fewer divers, more fish, better coral. The other thing I noticed is that a large number of live-aboards are using inflatables as their tenders. We only had 6 divers spread across 2 tenders, but with 6 camera rigs it was still a bit crowded. There is a strong need for some of the better boats to invest in some better tenders (Undersea Hunter group in Cocos is the gold standard for me). Overall - Komodo was good, but wasn't in my top 5. I had the feeling most of the week that it's one of those places that was likely outstanding 15 years ago and is now potentially in decline. Might have been the week we were there, the boat, etc. Anyone else been recently?
  13. A (counter) example... 1. New Guinea (7 years ago) 2 pelicans (from 2 different divers)taken at Jacksons International (Port Moresby) Airport. 1 was checked (never made it to the carousel, but was confirmed to have made the flight), and 1 was taken near the baggage claim when the person left it unattended for just a moment. Dive computers & dive lights (followed by regulator rigs) are the top items I've heard that have been taken from dive bags. I've known several divers who used to travel with branded dive bags that have experienced some level of pilfering while traveling internationally. Sticking a divider bag (or padded dividers or cubes) inside another bag makes sense (and is very similar to what I do leveraging CineBags and other soft-sided packing containers). I was referring to the post above that talked about going with a pelican case, vs other options.
  14. This is a great topic that comes up every so often... I'm definitely an outlier here - after ~30 international diving trips I've gotten to the point now where I always check my housing, strobes, and arms. Recently I've been traveling with 2 Nauticam housings (850 & 500), both in their Nauticam padded cases. These each go into a separate hard-sided suitcase (that look very beat up). I'm now a HUGE believer in the CineBags line of padded bags - every strobe, light, port, cord, charger, etc. go into these which I then split up across the various bags, usually also wrapped with t-shirts or shorts so not obvious to a casual observer if the bag is opened. I carry my cameras & the key lenses in my backpack - always with me on the plane. When I travel with the WACP I usually bring a small roller bag onboard with that as well. As to the above - I never put anything inside my housing for travel (other than the occasional bathing suit) because I put a t-shirt-wrapped light in a housing exactly once (on the way to Fiji) and managed to somehow bend part of the camera tray while in flight - never again). I know this has been said before. I (like many others) started out traveling with a pelican case. I've talked to too many u/w photographers that have had cases damaged or stolen - they tend to scream "expensive equipment inside!" If you are going to use a case like this please consider sticking it inside an old rolling duffle bag (or the equivalent). I stopped using them long ago... the corollary is the dive-gear branded bag - still surprises me that people want to advertise which bag has all their dive gear in it... I completely understand the anxiety of not having your u/w camera gear show up in the same location as you (at the same time) - you can optimize a bit, but eventually there's just a bit of faith that you have to fall back on.
  15. Nice video... were you specifically looking for rays? I didn't see any in the video...
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