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oneyellowtang last won the day on July 20

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About oneyellowtang

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  1. @daveco2 Yes, we've been recently (also was there years ago). Re: the flights... we fly from the west coast of the US to somewhere in the Coral Triangle 2x a year for diving. We stopped flying straight through (with no stops) years ago. So much easier to spend a night in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, or Manila (depends where you're flying from). Seriously - the flight times used to require a stopover (usually in KK), now with the direct flights from the west coast, you can land early enough to make the connections (->KL->TWU) eary enough to still catch the ~hour boat ride out to whatever dive resort you pick. Highly recommend spending a night before flying to Tawau and then the boat ride... With the direct flights from KL to Tawau it's no longer difficult to get to Sipidan... Which leads to the next piece: If you've seriously looked at diving Sipidan then you know they work the diving on a lottery system. A week's worth of diving at any of the surrounding resorts (Mabul, etc.) will usually give you 2 days of diving at Sipidan. If you get lucky you might get 3 days, and if you're both lucky and smart you might get 4 (like diving w/Seaventures... which usually has fewer divers and more lottery slots, although it's not the most comfortable dive resort around). The diving around the area (Mabul, etc.) makes the other days (not at Sipidan) still very productive (all macro). Having said all of this - you mentioned where you've been. I would rate Tubbataha in the Philippines as better for wide angle, and I would consider either Komodo or Raja Ampat (Indonesia) better destinations overall. Is there a reason you are looking at Sipidan specifically? ~20 years ago it was easily one of the best handful of dive destinations in the world - it's still very good, but not what it once was. If you want to go to see it because it's on a bucket list then go... it still has the turtles (in numbers almost unimaginable), the small reef sharks, but the hammerheads are rarely seen these days (they are deep), and the school of baracuda are still there (just fewer in number).
  2. @Phil Rudin The Retra is significantly more expensive, but also 20%+ lighter (in air). X2 this will start making a difference. Cost spead over the life of a strobe is a consideration.
  3. @ROUS Finding a Garibaldi at Catalina is a bit like searching for a YellowTang in Hawaii. They are always there, they are always (easily) found. Nice video...
  4. @ChrisRoss I dove locally in Sydney back in the early 80's when I was school boy there. We used to dive North Bondi and South Bondi because they were both easy (on the right day) and cheap (access, etc.). Many other great locations as well, but those were easy to get to. The # of divers increased over the next two decades, but has gradually decreased since then. The average age of an open water diver is 29 years of age, and that age isn't getting younger. There are more divers connecting together (which is good), but the overall number is what drives the industry - and that is not growing (even w/the growing India & China middle classes - in part because diving isn't culturally significant in those communities, whereas travel [in general] is).
  5. @bghazzal You mentioned "It's somewhat paradoxical to feel a decline in UW photography in a context where - quality aside - it's actually exploding, since waterproof equipment has never been as cheap or readily available." - although you don't mention UW photography while scuba diving - we have data on at least part of this.The number of newly certified scuba divers (WW) has been dropping year over year for close to a decade - the industry has reported on this consistently for the last number of years (both within the US and across Europe and Asia). So with fewer divers, there is most likely an impact on UW photography. It's fairly clear that people are looking to capture their experiences while underwater, however with fewer divers the # number is likely down as well. To your other point: more people are traveling than ever before. As these people experience new places they want to capture these in video/pictures. It's the "diving" bit that isn't a priority...
  6. @sinetwo I've lived this generational difference, as both our kids learned to dive at a young age, and then learned to shoot underwater only a few years after. My son is 18, shoots with my old D500 in an Nauticam housing, my daughter is 21, shoots with an A7RV, also in a Nauticam housing. Among their friends (and larger set of aquaintances) they are two of the very few that both have been certified to dive and dive regularly (a few times a year while they are in university). Many in their social group talk about learning to dive, a few have had a "scuba experience," with the vast majority fine with snorkeling to experience the underwater world at a destination. This has been discussed here before, but for this generation, the experience traveling to a location needs to tick the box on a number of different aspects (including what's "insta-worthy"). Dedicating the time to spend a week focused on diving/uw photography in a location doesn't align with their goals or social engagements. A illustrative example: Last summer our daughter's friends chartered a bare-bones charter boat in Raja Ampat (they wanted to experience something "really off the beaten path..."). They spent 8 days exploring the region, doing hikes to waterfalls, visiting villages, experiencing the region, snorkeling, etc. while posting an absurd number of insta-pics documenting their adventures. Of the 14 people who went, 3 were previously certified. On the trip they did a total of 4 dives. Think about any of us (here on Wetpixel) traveling as far as Raja Ampat and only doing 4 dives? So this thread is really about the photography experience (and equipment) of this generation. I would suggest that it aligns directly (and is driven by) the social constructs of this generation. Many of us prefer a guide and (maybe) a single buddy, on an empy dive site... this group would rather be together, capture moments over just subjects (both together are better), and get in, have the experience, and move on to the next. What does this lead to from an equipment perspective? It's a housed phone, with in phone post processing, and the ability to share widely, easily and quickly. Quality and resolution only need to be "just good enough..." (anything else is overkill), and mobility/ease of use is just as important. Watching our kids traverse this dichotomy has been interesting. When they shoot with me they likely represent much of how all of us here approach uw photography (although they are sometimes less patient), however when they travel with their friends they shoot (only) with their phones, looking for the group experiences, etc.
  7. @TimG I was in Raja Ampat earlier this summer - we did both the Dampier area and Misool (roughly 20 days of diving across both locations). For Dampier, we stayed at Sorido Bay. There are 5-6 world class sites in the region, and plenty of other really good diving. Misool has another 4-5 amazing sites, with other excellent diving as well. Here's the thing: if you do a liveaboard you will most likely get to see the top 3-4 sites in Dampier, and the top 3-4 sites in Misool, but not any of the other (off the beaten path) sites that are only dived by the land based operators. Given it's your first time, a liveaboard will give you the best opportunity to see the region, but less chances to dive some of these. For example, Cape Kri is one of the top sites in the Dampier region (and a world class site overall). Most of the liveaboards do this site once (or possibly twice) per trip, yet it's the "house reef" for Sorido Bay - we did this site 5 times (by choice). It's a site where you will want to hook in with a reef hook to experience it when it's really good... We are going back (in two years) to do a combination of liveaboard and land-based diving - balancing the two to get a chance to see the whole region while also getting time to return to some of our favorite locations. As for the currents: we have two teenage kids (both are experienced divers) - they did every dive with us. There are a few dives where you just "go with the flow" - fast drift over a flat reef. I would say that these were no more difficult to dive that anything in Komodo. There are only a couple in Dampier and really only one in Misool where staying near a point or cleaning station (for mantas) is preferred - so we used reef hooks. The vast majority of the rest were gentle drifts along a reef (we avoided finning into current). As an u/w photopgrapher, set up to shoot w/a on many of these dives, I didn't find the current tough to deal with (except on the couple of fast drifts, which were more "sightseeing" dives than anything else).
  8. @Draq I'm glad it makes you feel better. As for your "sense" that some people don't care, that is blatently untrue, and seems to be mostly just you projecting onto others what you want them to think or feel. I understand you want to negatively impact Adam's business(es) as some kind of retribution for him not following up on the trip you booked through Wetpixel - I understand why you feel this way. However, continuing to post this kind of response on Wetpixel isn't going to get you the results you want. As an aside, I don't get the impression the Adam is "continuing in the dive & photo industry without repercussion..." - if this is a concern, how about getting someone to investigate the current state of the dive school.
  9. @Draq If it makes you feel better to continue to repeat what has already been said multiple times, then feel free to continue to do so. It won't do much to get your money back, but I understand at this point you are left with few options. You say that you "have investigated and know where he is working" - this is not hard to figure out. he's owned a dive school on the west coast of England for 20+ years. He also had a home listed as a short term rental in the area of the dive school as well.
  10. @Glynn Phillips If you check a few of the forums you will see that Wetpixel isn't in a good state at the moment. The owner of Wetpixel (Adam) has not been active here for months, and there are a number of folks who have said that he owes them significant money for not following through on recent wetpixel trips. You can read the various forums for the details.
  11. @Draq I'll go a step farther... I don't think Wetpixel (in the state is was in even a year ago) was profitable. The annual cost for running the site is very low (basically just hosting & registration). There is zero paid staff (the moderators are all volunteers), and the only real cost is time. I think Adam likely purchased WetPixel from Eric for a fairly low price (potentally a few thousand $), and has been trying to figure out how to turn it into something that makes $ (so far, fairly unsuccessfully). I understand that people are upset (rightfully so) about their money disappearing, however if Adam has taken ~$100k (the high end of the range suggested) this would still be a whole lot of work for relatively little return (and certainly little to no chance of future income). For the trips that did go, previously, Adam might have been clearing a "free seat" (for him to dive) and a few thousand $. Not profitable, and barely sustainable. Which may actually suggest why Adam ended up doing what he did (not a great answer, but potentially true)
  12. @Draq Re: current advertisers... as someone who has worked in the web market for many years, my interpretation of the Wetpixel situation is that the site is getting little to no (read $0) advertising income, and hasn't for months (and possibly for a year+). The ads on the site are all quite old, and haven't been changed (at all) over the last number of months (even accounting for Adam's disappearance due to health issues, etc.). In addition, there were several ads that were displayed well past their expiration (anyone remember the ADEX ad that ran over a year after the event?). My guess is that Adam has left the old ads run in place (without payment) to make it look less like a "ghost town" for other advertisers. There may be a few ads that pay montly/quarterly, but if this was really the case, we would have likely seen ads change over time. That doesn't seem to be the situation. So although informing advertisers of your concerns may feel like a logical thing to do, I don't think it will have any impact (because I don't think there was any revenue coming into Wetpixel other than through the trips). We all know that Adam was trying to build out the Wetpixel Live series of video podcasts as a new channel to reach people. My guess is that his plan was to attempt to monetize that with ads once the views reached a certain level. Referencing the Socialblade site as a way to estimate potential earnings on these videos to date, it shows the entire Live series could have generated a whopping total of ~$175/year, based on viewers and subscribers. I am not trying to be the bearer of any (more) bad news, however my read of this site is that other than the small (but very active) set of users, I think we are all experiencing a neglected, decaying web property (in real time).
  13. I spent ~10 days on a Cocos trip with Stan on his last go around on the Sea Hunter (he was a good friend of the owners). The stories he told each evening were amazing, including one time getting paid for working as a videographer documenting a treasure hunting expedition in the Dominican Republic with a chest completely encrusted with coral. It was only after the chest was cleaned up did he realize all the metal work was silver and gold.
  14. @Kamaros I also shoot with a D850, switching between the 8-15mm, and the WACP, depending on the subjects. First - your 8-15 (at 15mm) will be perfect for the mantas in Socorro. If you stay relatively calm over open water, the mantas will swim within touching distance above you. At times you might even need to sink down a bit to get the larger ones in frame @15mm. This is also the lens you will want to use for any whale sharks that happen to swim by. Sharks are problematic almost anywhere (with possibly the exception of Tiger Beach). For me, shooting the 28-70mm with the WACP has been a reasonable compromise, although you will still end up cropping into many images during post. Socorro introduced a different type of problem (at least for me) - what dives to set up with the 8-15mm, and which to dive the WACP. For the mantas is was a clear choice, but for dives where there may be mantas and/or sharks it was a harder choice. In those situations I went with the 8-15mm. As others have mentioned - the difference between a fish-eye and rectilinear in a consideration, but for the subjects in Socorro (mantas very close, possible whale shark encounters, and then sharks a little farther away) this is a reasonable choice.
  15. This statement is inaccurate. You don't "need" more floatation, you may want more floatation. DIving with a more negative rig is a choice - some people may prefer it. You may want more to get back to neutral, but you it's not a requirement.
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