Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by oneyellowtang

  1. @sinetwo Go with the 60mm (for the D500). This is the "go to" lens for macro and small fish portraits for this camera... I have been shooting with this combo for years. Very versatile lens... (actually prefer this lens to the 105 on the D500).
  2. @sinetwo I know this introduces more complexity, but both my friends in Bali and the tourism minister have now said Bali is opening (for a limited set of tourists) in October. Both the US & the UK are on the list of countries that will be allowed. Entry will likely require a negative test and proof of vaccination, There are 3 reasonably good flights from the UK (all involving 1 stop) - Turkish (through Istanbul) Singapore Air (through SIN), and Emirates (through DBX). Bali's R0 number is now <1, and the they are close to crossing the 70% vaccination rate (a condition for opening their borders). The north coast of Bali has excellent macro - often overlooked because of travel time, etc. As an aside, we spent several weeks in the Maldives this summer - great diving, but almost no macro (handful of nudis, a few other critters in two weeks of diving) , but we were there for the big schools of fish, sharks, mantas, etc.
  3. @Barmaglot "and on many sites there, you simply don't know what you're going to get. At Richelieu Rock, I can see a group of harlequin shrimp, or an ornate ghost pipefish, turn around, and there's a big ball of trevallys or barracudas." And this is (unfortunately) is an example of why Thailand was amazing 15 years ago, and now is approaching "good..." 15 years ago anyone who had dived Richelieu would have finished your comparison with... "turn around, and there's a whale shark swimming by you..." Richelieu was (and still is) an amazing dive site, but it wasn't so long ago that it was a one of the top 10 sites in the world. I remember my 2nd dive there where while trying to get a picture of a seahorse the DM taps me on the shoulder and points up... It took me a few seconds to realize the sun was being blotted out by a whale shark (vs. a boat...) swimming over the top of us.
  4. @chipdiver For what it's worth... my daughter dived with an A7III with the WWL-1b, then recently upgraded to the A7R4, and used it with the WWL-1b extensively in Belize this summer. No issues with burping the lens (she forgot on several dives with no negative effect)... AF on the Sony (shooting with the 28-60) and the WWL-1b is fast (as in did not really hunt in any scenario we can recall). Where I would say the biggest difference lies is that her A7R4 vs. my D850 (or my older D500) is when shooting macro - the D850 is just faster finding focus on subjects, small, moving, low light, etc.
  5. @Draq & @TimG, Being lucky (daft?) enough to have both a D500 and D850 (both housed in Nauticam housings) there are really only 2 scenarios where I lean towards shooting with the D850 over the D500. 1. Wide angle where I can shoot the WACP on the D850 (with the old 28-70mm lens, for example). I don't take the WACP on every trip, and when I do it means lugging around another piece of luggage just to hold the WACP (small to medium suitcase just for it). The optics are really nice however (w/good corner sharpness), so if you there's a good chance to find large(r) subjects it often makes sense to bring it (like in the Maldives this summer). 2. Blackwater diving - the D500 with a 60mm is very good, however I've found that the D850 with (the same) 60mm is virtually as good focusing, and you can crop into the image a little bit more, so you tend to keep a few more shots. For regular macro I actually prefer the D500 - I find it to be more flexible framing subjects and it's really good in low light or where a subject is being a bit elusive. Also, shooting anything "fish-size" I prefer the D500, might just be that I've shot with it longer, but it feels a little bit more flexible.
  6. Dove Belize (turneffe) this summer, then did a family trip to the south of the Maldives (Laamu) - both during the Covid "lull" in June-early July. My daughter also spent 3 weeks in Sint Maarten this summer working towards her DM (diving was good, but not great... sorry @TimG) Fiji is opening up next month (although we'll see who they actually let in, flights are now showing availability from N.A.). And I'm cautiously optimistic as one our own WetPixel members just returned to his (work) home base in the Philippines, with the expectation that we might not be too far away from seeing the Philippines open up (could be months, but hoping...) There is some new research (published in partnership with Delta Airlines) that shows a required molecular Covid test (negative result) within 3 days of flying actually resulted in infection rates on COVID-19-tested flights of 0.05 percent or 5 in 10,000 passengers (significantly less than ambient community infection rate at the time). I fully expect travel (for the foreseeable future) to require proof of full vaccination, a negative test before travel (and potentially a negative test upon arrival or shortly thereafter), and masking throughout. Now if we only had some reliable therapeutic solutions to treat infections I think we would see many locations start to open up (there are 600+ drug therapies currently in development, and over 400 trials currently under review).
  7. @PeteAtkinson Interesting... I have both a D500 (+Tokina 10-17) and a D850 (+WACP) - both in Nauticam housings. For wide angle (and disregarding travel weight) I prefer the D850 w/the WACP over the D500. Corner sharpness being the primary advantage... This doesn't apply in all situations, but for the most part...
  8. @lbaldwin99 The above commentary is spot on... I will add just one thing (more as explanation than adding something new). When shooting against a blue water background we're usually taught (early on) that your shutter speed will control your background hues (light vs. dark, and some foreground details). As some people say, "dialing in the blue..." You then use your aperture (and strobe power) to control the amount of light hitting your subject in the foreground. There are edge cases to this but is generally a way to think about your situation. As mentioned above, I would definitely shoot aiming for a darker blue background (by shooting with a faster shutter speed, if possible). One challenge here is that there is a limit (using strobes) on the sync speed with the camera, so this will only work to some degree. In your case your background is light in color (both because you are fairly shallow and because of your aperture setting), and then we add in your strobes which are lighting the foreground (in this case slightly blowing out the eye(s), which are already "light" because of the natural light in the scene). As others have said - If you are shooting these subjects shallow I would be shooting at the fastest shutter speed in which I could get the strobes to sync (to help w/the background color), and then for this scenario I would be looking to shoot higher than f10/f11 (if I'm below the squid(s) I might try to get to f16/f18) and then definitely dial down your strobes (while also trying to paint with the edges of the strobe light cones, not aiming the strobes right at the subject - because there is light drop off on the edges of the cone vs. center). Having said all this - daytime shooting of this highly [highly] reflective animal is tough, and you will likely end up needing to post process (potentially darkening the image, background separately from the subject) to get good results (without the perfect shot). Shooting them on a blackwater dive is tough for other reasons, but it's much easier to get a distinctive (contrasting) background. EDIT: should have added, move your strobes to closer to 9-3 positions as well. Your strobes may very well be closer to your subject than your lens, which makes this a tiny bit harder for you.
  9. @TimG Sure... however you are quickly stepping into the realm of the hypothetical. I would argue near the top end the various housing/port combinations make the delta between the same camera/lens combinations (being housed) almost irrelevant. Nauticam vs. Subal vs. ? for the same camera/lens combination is mostly differentiated by taste, personal choice, and regional resource access (like service, etc.). I've shot the D500 in a Nauticam (preferred), Subal, and Aquatica housing... (and the D850 only in a Nauticam). So I would argue the housing/port have little to do with my above statement... So let's focus on the camera/lens combination for a moment: The A7R4 (shooting either with a native Sony W/A lens, or a Canon 8-15) is a pleasure to shoot with. It's fast and the rig is a bit smaller than either of the Nikon DSLR housed systems, making it easier to handle as well (which is an apple to oranges comparison, but...) The D500 and the Tokina 10-17 (with a small dome) is a great system, and until I shot a D850 with the WACP (either with the 28mm or the 28-70mm) I assumed you just had to finesse the soft corners issue. Although these lens/port combinations do provide different image perspectives, I've used them both to shoot sharks, mantas, etc (and the WACP is not the most easily manageable port out of the water, during travel, etc.) When given the chance today, I will shoot W/A with the D850, and macro with the D500, and other scenarios with whatever body/housing I have with me on a given trip (because I've been shooting w/Nikon for years, and I'm comfortable with these cameras). Having said this - shooting whale sharks with the Sony A7R4 was significantly easier than with either Nikon system, however the A7R4 was mostly hopeless shooting on a black water dive (tradeoffs). BTW - what you left out is the photographer skill level in all of this. Having spent years shooting with Nikon DSLR's, picking up my daughter's A7R4 (in a Nauticam housing) was relatively easy (once you get the menu options down). I found myself grabbing her camera rig on several dives where she wasn't going to dive, just so I could shoot with it (vs. the D850) - by choice.
  10. @Architeuthis Re: Olympus AF experience... Both my kids started shooting with Oly's - our daughter started with an E-M5, then eventually moved to a E-M1 (our son inherited the older system as part of the upgrade). the E-M1 was a huge step up (esp. for macro) but was still not in same class as my D500 (which my son now has). Re: The Sony A7III was a negligible upgrade for macro (from the Oly), however the A7R4 definitely is an improvement (although the Sony 90mm F/2.8 is still not "amazing" in low light or with fast moving subjects). The A7R4 still trails the D500 both in low light and AF capabilities (an illustrative test: black water dives... the D500 outperforms almost every other camera except the D850, also with a 60mm lens). Where the A7R4 shines is wide angle, it's both more versatile than a D850 with a WACP and delivers better results that a D500 with a Tokina 10-17 (and dome). My daughter proved this on a daily basis during our recent trip to the Maldives this summer.
  11. @Jheard89 Just one additional comment: a number of folks have mentioned the Oly options - these are good cameras, however the comment above about the difference in AF is accurate. Both my teenage kids started with Oly cameras and both have moved away from these systems because of the AF performance (esp. in low light). My daughter moved to a Sony A7iii (and now an A7R4) and my son moved to a D500. The D500 AF is "magical" as someone mentioned above.
  12. D500 with a the 60 or 105 lens, and a single strobe would be a good set up for what you are looking for. For gobies in particular, the 105 will be the preferred lens as it will give you more working distance from the subject. Having some experience shooting gobies (in the sand) specifically for ID shots, I ended up switching from the to the 105 when I was helping catalog a reef population in the western Pacific. You will benefit from the cropped sensor as well. For the most skittish ones, we played around with using a tripod and remote trigger - worked okay, although framing was still an issue.
  13. @Architeuthis - the Cathedrals sites (in Lanai) can/do silt out somewhat easily (if someone fins near the sand bottom). The challenge then becomes not backscatter (because you are not using strobes) but rather a "milky" effect showing up in the resultant image. Letting this settle a bit before shooting was helpful.
  14. @imacro I've dived Cathedrals a number of times (also looking to capture the light rays that filter through the openings in the ceilings). First suggestion: Talk to anyone else on the boat and ask if you could either take your images before they enter or several minutes (like ~10) after everyone exits. The Cathedrals sites can silt up fairly easily. One diver swimming through is all it takes to silt up the view for a number of minutes... (although shooting without strobe lighting will help with this a bit). 2nd suggestion: Check both the tide and swell (you can talk to the dive leader about this if needed) - several of the sites silt up a bit when the swell comes up (as will the tide). 3rd suggestion: 1 diver in the background will look a lot better than 3-4 swimming in front of you. If you want to frame a diver in the background plan the shot ahead of time. Last - we had the most success early AM on days we were the only ones on the boat.
  15. I have dived with a combination of Z240s, Z330s, and the new Retra Pro strobes... (and started years ago with Ike strobes). I've mixed and matched along the way (quite frequently) with few issues. Mixing a Z240 and Z330 won't lead to many significant issues, other than a Z330 is somewhere between half a stop and full stop more powerful than a Z240 (depending on the power setting you are using). You will need to adjust for this... The Retra strobes are almost another full stop more powerful (again depending on the power you are shooting on, and angle of your subject), but I've been able to adjust to that as well. Color can be an issue, but again - knowing what you are looking for and using a color correcting diffuser on one (or both) strobes helps significantly. Clearly shooting with two of the same (or at least similar) strobes would be ideal, however I've seen many serious photographers mix & match strobes effectively (esp. shooting wide angle).
  16. @RVbldr, My daughter moved from an Oly system to a A7III (with a Nauticam housing) and has been very happy with the results. This (mirrorless) system is significantly smaller and lighter than either the D850 I shoot with or the D500 her brother shoots with. She started only shooting macro, but we recently added the WWL-1B so she could shoot wide, and the results (both in Belize and the Maldives) have been really positive. The zoom through capability of this wet lens has made a huge difference in subject opportunity.
  17. @imacro, The pins in shackles work themselves loose fairly often (if not consistently tightened or without something like loctite applied, etc.). Vibration is the primary contributor to pins, screws, etc. working themselves loose over time. Initially I used connections to clamps like you pictured for my lanyard, but then got rid of the shackles entirely, and used stainless split rings (using the same hole that the shackle was in) to then connect my lanyard. Split rings virtually never fail, and given the amount of clamp material the split rings aren't coming off. With my last couple of Nauticam housings I've moved away from this as well - I attach my lanyard directly to the housing through the holes in the metal plates that connect the handles to the top of the housing. I've found this to be both more secure, and easier to handle (although a little harder to hand up to a boat for someone to grab).
  18. Daughter is shooting with the WWL-1 here in the Maldives at the moment. Very impressed with the image quality and ease of diving with it. Not just well balanced underwater, but small enough to not be a pain with heavy current, etc. (this coming from someone pushing a WACP-1 through the water on these same dives).
  19. @rwb500 - as mentioned above, it's not usually the leak potential that causes people to go fiber optic, it's the potential failures in the field when in the middle of a dive trip. If saltwater gets in to the pins you can lose functionality and get strobe misfires or situations where the strobes won't fire at all. It's definitely worth updating to fiber optic, although many still dive with electronic strobe connectors w/out issues, just have to be diligent.
  20. @Architeuthis Interesting question: in all the times I've used it I never really concerned myself with this (because the aiming light doesn't show up in the images...). Tomorrow I'll do a check - in a couple of the videos I've seen it looks like the aiming light turns off right as the strobe is firing [the image is not lit by anything the immediate moment following the strobe firing - then the aiming light will come back on).
  21. I have the Retra LSD, and have used it snooting using both a Retra Pro and a Z330. Bluntly, the Backscatter mini flash & snoot is a better combo than either of the above. It's *just* easier... Shooting macro now, I usually carry 2 Z330's, and the Backscatter strobe set up with the snoot as well. When snooting I just turn off the Z330s. The level of frustration snooting has massively decreased using this set up...
  22. We finally moved into a house large enough so that I can have my own (fairly large) closet for underwater camera gear. My wife and I started out by sharing the closet (roughly 50/50 camera gear and her knick-knacks). As she takes stuff out of this particular closet (to use, etc.) I subtly spread stuff out a bit to appropriate more space. I'm up to about 70% of the closet now, aiming for 90% eventually Having everything laid out on shelves (small bits in bins), lenses sitting upright, etc, makes it much easier to find stuff (and also makes you realize it might be time to jettison some stuff - why do I have 5 different housings, incl. one for a D90?)
  23. @Mwit If you can get the dimensions this is absolutely something you can have 3-D printed for you. I have several lens caps that were printed...
  24. @troporobo One point of clarification: The amount of viral shedding from someone who has been fully vaccinated has been estimated to be 5x-20x less than someone who has not been vaccinated. This is basic virology - the virus needs to replicate in a host to shed - the current set of vaccines slow/reduce virus reproduction within a host. There is currently no scientific evidence that suggests someone who has been fully vaccinated is either as likely/less likely/more likely to transmit the virus, there are only a few emerging reports on post vaccination viral spread so far (ex: from Israel).
  • Create New...