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oneyellowtang last won the day on August 17

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About oneyellowtang

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    Moray Eel
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. )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.
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Nice video... were you specifically looking for rays? I didn't see any in the video...
  8. Just to level set - given all the issues people have been talking about, am I one of the few that travels with n+1 strobes to account for potential field failure? I normally shoot with 2 strobes, so I travel with 3 (now two Z330s and one of my older Z240s). When my daughter comes along it's a total of 4 (she shoots with a single strobe, and with my son shooting (single strobe) it's 5.
  9. Video would be a reasonable reason to go with the A7RIII, however the lack of great (equivalent) lenses and the relative lower performance of the AF (for macro) means that after shooting with both, there is no way I would shift from a D500 to the A7 (RIII or III). I did get the opportunity to shoot with an A7RIII before buying the A7III for my daughter - basically she wasn't going to use the video capabilities, and underwater the higher res view finder and review display felt like overkill (for her). The additional mp might be useful in some situations, but with a D500 and the right glass you can easily get equivalent (or better) images. Having shot with a D850, there are only a couple of situations where I prefer it over the D500 (one is W/A with the WACP for large subjects...). I absolutely prefer the D500 over the D850 for any macro situation (so much so I didn't even bring the D850 to Anilao in April, after shooting with both in Dec. in the same place). Again, video might be a reason to switch - but I wouldn't for virtually any other reason.
  10. Referencing the comparison to a A7 III (not the RIII) below: Currently shoot with a D500 (and occasionaly, the D850, both in Nauticam housings). Upgraded my daughter to an A7 III (from an Oly) earlier this year. We took a trip together to Anilao in April - after playing with her rig (in a Nauticam housing) I would say it's a great system, but not anywhere near enough to wanting to give up my D500. The overall weight/size of the A7 III was a nice plus, but other than that, the D500 was just better in every macro situation we experienced (faster AF, better in low light, etc.). We didn't shoot any W/A so that they may have evened things up a bit, nor did we shoot any video. Why are you considering moving away from a D500?
  11. As mentioned above, economics and (our) consumer choices have led to the current situation. Inon consolidated a significant percentage of the market when they moved from selling in mostly Asia to worldwide. Yet, even the worldwide market for strobes is relatively small (there is very little competitive pressure for them to up Z330 production, hence the continued shortage in the US). Sea @ Sea quality has definitely degraded (likely due to both passing of the company's day to day operations to the next generation and the choice to manufacture "off shore" - with less of a focus on quality inspections). Meanwhile, Ikelite, which was built on "legendary service" has lost much of the US market to the smaller, cheaper strobes by the companies mentioned above. (as a side note - I would have continued to buy Ike strobes even to this day if they had just made the transition to fiber optic 10 years ago. Their strobe are heavier for sure, but the quality is great, and they can take a beating. and their service is world class). Retra stepped in as they spotted the market opportunity, produced a few strobes, then went back to the drawing board. (Hopefully they will be back, but will they ever get to volume?) For those looking for better service options - I'll start by saying that I would love for such a think to exist, but drawing an analogy to consumer electronics - do you really expect your $600-$800 flat panel TV to get "serviced" if it breaks, or just replaced? (who pays for the replacement is dependent on when/where you bought it). Strobes are becoming no different than other consumer electronics. Last - we are clearly in a world where we are the dinosaurs - those of us that shoot with SLRs, compact, and mirrorless cameras underwater represent a shrinking (or certainly not growing) global market. I do not expect the quality of our lighting systems to either get measurably better or measurably cheaper - the market doesn't dictate enough interest for that. Look at the innovation at the low end of this market - combination strobe/video lights, smaller strobes for compact cameras, etc. have dominated the newly released models for the last year+. What I hope for is that as lighting tech advances, there remains a market for providing underwater strobes profitably for a number of companies. As the technology improves, hopefully the simplicity of the tech drives greater quality opportunities as well. As an aside, I now have both my two teenage kids diving with cameras (one with a Sony, one with an Oly) - they love the opportunity it gives them to capture images from their own perspective (sometimes it resembles u/w Instagram, but hey - it's something...). They've both now won (small) local photo competitions with their underwater images, so it also helps them develop their sense of self at a time in their lives where they are trying to figure out what makes them unique. For those that remember their economic theory, choice is supposed to drive to higher efficiency and lower cost, except in scarce markets, which is what we have here.
  12. Maybe I'm just daft, but what are people shooting at full power? If it's W/A and fast moving subjects at a slight distance - or a large reef scene - maybe, or (as mentioned previously mentioned) cave diving and trying to light up as much of the space as possible, but much of what I shoot is at 1/2 power (or less) to 3/4 power. I recently spent a week in Anilao shooting a D500, 60mm/105mm, and two Z-330's. I think I might have shot 5 shots (total) on full power (and 2 of those I was just experimenting with the light to see how much coverage it really had). The one place I deeply appreciated have larger/more powerful strobes was Cocos, and even there recycle time wasn't an issue (except for that whale shark.... Some of this discussion feels a little hypothetical - what are people actually shooting at full power repeatedly with needed fast recycle times?
  13. A follow on from my original ;post - after waiting for months in the US, I decided to buy a pair of Z-330's in Singapore on the way to Anilao. I bought them through DiveSea, a small but very cool underwater imaging store in Singapore. If you have a few extra hours in Singapore I highly recommend stopping by... Strobes worked well all week. Definitely appreciated the additional power and faster recycle times vs. my older Z-240s. They are also have much better ergonomics than the Z-240s. I was in Anilao in April as well - several other divers were shooting with Z-330s - didn't here about any problems with them, but might have happened before/after I was there. Also worth mentioning - DiveSea has stopped recommending the YS-D2J's - because they are seeing quality issues even with Japan-sourced ones.
  14. Rick, Well... when you look up the top 10 dive locations for Pelagics the list looks something like (taken from two different sites): Socorro (not between HK & UK, unless you go the other way around) S. Africa (as mentioned, wrong time of year for Sardine Run) Mozambique (just hit by a massive cyclone) Guadelupe (wrong direction...) Galapagos (wrong direction...) Palau (disagree w/this one on the list) Maldives (as I mentioned...) Cocos and Malpelo (would be my first choice, done them both, but wrong direction) Red Sea (already mentioned) As for you experience in the Maldives - I've had several whale shark encounters in the Baa Atoll along with the mantas, and several different shark species (not just grey reefies).
  15. the Baa Atoll in the Maldives will have mantas until about October, and you can still see sharks on some dives (as well as the occasional whale shark). As an aside - not sure what Rick was referring to - I've been to the Baa Atoll 3 times and it's both very fishy and has always delivered mantas during this part of the year. Marovo Lagoon, Solomons - large number of sharks, both mantas and mobula rays, large schools of fish.
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