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About richneely

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    Sea Nettle

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    Sacramento, California

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  1. Hi, I am off to T&C next saturday for a couple of weeks diving. I have a D200 in an Aquatica housing, Ikelite DS-125 strobes, and I have the Nikon 60mm f2.8. I'm new to SLR, having done about 25 dives with this set-up, half of them using the Tokina 10-17 also. I want to practice macro much more, and I'm wondering if I should just stick with my 60mm, or invest in a 105mm. I also see people talking about 2x diopters, 4x diopters, telelconverters, woody's diopters, some say you need them, some say you don't. I understand that with a diopter I'll be able to focus on something much closer, so I guess much smaller much better, is that right? I also get the impression that there is not a diopter available which will fit on an Aquatica macro port, but I can go ahead and buy the new slimline macro port from Aquatica, which means I wasted my money on the original port, so I don't want to do that...... Does anyone know where I can go online to see pictures of diopters, teleconverters, on and off macro ports? I also see that there is a 2x hinged magnifier available for many housings for $600, are these things really this expensive? I think my question really is: Can I get pictures of minute commensal shrimp climbing on nudibranchs etc etc like you see in the magazines with my 60mm? Thanks for any input!
  2. I am heading out to the Cayman Islands in april and I've been looking at Advanced Diver Magazine's 2009 Photo Week, aimed at CCR/Tech OC/ and OC divers. I've got around 1000 dives experience with a Sony Cybershot/Sea&Sea YS110 set up, and since leaving my job as a dive guide I've been able to do around 25/30 dives with my D200/Aquatica/DS-125 setup. I have been happy/ecstatic/surprised/confused/disappointed/frustrated with my results, and I would love to spend a week on a 'proper course' with some pros and experienced phtotgraphers, and now perhaps I have the chance. I guess in all I'm looking at spending $3000 if I do it. Before I commit, I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience of any previous ADM photo weeks. If so, can you tell me if I would fit in as a recreational BSAC OWI/PADI MSDT. I see that there will be several competitions, but I can't tell how much educational time (classroom etc) they offer. I'm just starting to look into it, as I decided to travel just last night. Any pointers to other photo courses around that time would be much appreciated. I don't have to go to the Caymans, I'm based in Sacramento, California, anywhere warm will do..... Thanks in advance
  3. I have a D200, which gets plenty of use above the surface. I'm finding that my pictures have dirt spots, very visible in blue skies, almost constantly. It seems that no matter how much cleaning I do on the lens, and senser, these spots still appear, in different places every time. I've heard that you should never touch the sensor, which I don't, I just flip the cover up and inspect for dust, and blow down with the bulb cleaner until any spots are gone, until the senser 'looks' spotless, but it doesn't stay spotless for long. I've also heard that there is a glass protector over the senser, so I can clean it more thoroughly, is this true? Is this just a problem I have to live with when shooting on land? Very annoying...... Thanks!
  4. I have the Tokina 10-17mm lens and an Aquatica 8" dome port. Having only used the whole setup on roughly 10 dives, my (beginner) pictures look fine to me, but am I missing something? I've been reading Lou f's post and I'm feeling very uneducated! Should I be using an extension ring or a diopter to give me more versatility with my lens? Thanks.
  5. I am thinking of buying a diopter for my Nikon 60mm lens (I have a D200 in an Aquatica housing), but I don't know anything about them, other than that I see great shots of extreme macro critters, mostly taken with diopters attached...... I met a guy recently who had a Woody's diopter, attached to the outside of his Aquatica housing with a piece of 4" plastic waste pipe, looked pretty rough but did the job (like a few scuba instructors I know....). From what I can make out, the Woodys diopter fits a few different diameter ports, but perhaps not the Aquatica port (#18426) because of it's tapered/ridged design? I have also been reading some old threads from 2005, and it seems that people are/were divided over whether the 60mm is practical with a diopter, well, whether the nudis find it practical, not having room to pose, as opposed to the 105mm giving a bit more room to manoeuvre and position strobes. Someone also recommended a Kenko 2x teleconverter for my 60mm. Would this reduce the image quality at all? Thanks for any advice you can give!
  6. Can you imagine how it feels to read, for the very first time since 24th may, nice comments from people who don't even know me? From the help I was offered before when enquring about what housing and lens to purchase for my D200, up to now, I can see that this site really is packed with genuine people, and both Ally and I are deeply grateful for your kind words. I am in the process of writing a 1500 word article to go in the september issue of UK's Diver magazine, so hopefully I'll get chance to tell the story then, but I'll also rattle out a comprehensive version and post it here as soon as I get chance. Some interesting lessons to learn, Ally and I were discussing this on the way out to dinner last night, we are finally finding the time and peace to look at the events from a different angle at last. By the way, if anyone here is interested in digital underwater photography....... I use my D200 in an Aquatica Housing, I have 8"/8"/4" TLC arms and Ikelite DS-125 strobes. At the moment I have the old Nikon 60mm f2.8 lens and also the Tokina 10-17mm FE, as recommended by some lovely people here. So far I have done 8 dives with it, and after doing a couple of thousand dives with a small Sony Cybershot DSC W17 with a single Sea&Sea YS110 on a Locline flexi arm, it's like learning to dive all over again every time I lift it up, particularly when I have the macro port on....WOW....it's heavy, haha. I've had a couple of 7mm neoprene sleeves made for the strobes for a bit of positive buoyancy, not tried them yet, I never got the chance to use it in Australia even though I did take it, but left it at my sister's home in Melbourne, lucky really as I would have had a real dilemma on my hands if I'd had it with me on the night of 23rd may.........!? Ally or the D200...... Thanks again to all who have replied and to all who have the same opinion of the trashy stories
  7. Hello everybody, my name is Rich neely, I was rescued last month off the Great Barrier Reef with my girlfriend Ally Dalton, I'm pretty sure some of you may have followed the story..... I have finally moved to california to be with Ally and I finally have a fast connection, and I have finally found the courage to have a peek at Wetpixel to see if there have been any conversations about Ally and myself. And the good news is, I hope, I can't find any. Or am I just not searching correctly? I am not too familiar with the wetpixel site, even though I am a member, I have been living in Thailand for 5 years and it's not easy to get a fast enough connection when you work on a liveaboard. If anyone can direct me to any chat about Ally and myself I would be interested, although terrified, wetpixel means a lot to me thus far, as I am entering the realms of DSLR photography now, and I don't want to be hated or berated as we have been everywhere else. If anybody is interested, I am more than willing to tell the truth about what happened to us. Everybody has read how we flouted safety, broke the rules, did what we were told not to do, PLANNED IT, sold the story, made a million pounds, should pay for our rescue etc and all of it is the exact opposite of the truth, but people believe what the media print and nobody wanted to print that Ally and I did what we were told and that we are deeply thankful to our rescuers. Anyway, I just wanted to get a general idea if I should dare to show my face on wetpixel again....!
  8. Having heard and read horror stories about the mis-treatment and even theft of various peoples' camera equipment I have decided to play safe and transport my DSLR rig as carry-on when I fly with Jetstar Airlines to Australia and then Bali later this month. I invested in a Lowepro Vertex 300 camera bag, which is a super bag, but it weighs 3kg when empty, leaving me with just 4kg to squeeze in a D200, Aquatica housing and ports, lenses etc in order to meet the stipulated maximum weight limit for carry-on which is 7kg....... Needless to say I 'squeezed' it all in and jumped on the scales at home only to find that I was sporting an extra 13kg on my back, and that was without my 2 Ikelite strobes! This will be the first time that I have flown with my camera, and I must say that I don't know which is making me more apprehensive, my bag being weighed at check-in (Jetstar's website says that the 7kg limit is 'strictly enforced') or the look on my girlfriend's face when I ask her to carry-on an empty bag herself incase we have to consolidate our (my) equipment! I have looked at ways round it and the options are: leave it at home or travel with no clothes, just our scuba gear and the Vertex bag full of metal, cables and chargers! I would be interested to hear if anyone has faced my predicament, I'm sure some seasoned travellers have a few hints and tips......'put your lenses in your pockets'....or.....'hang the camera round your neck' etc. Does anyone have experience travelling around SE Asia with Jetstar? Do they weigh every bag? I'm hoping for some comments to help me relax a little, I think I'll soon be having nightmares about this.....!?
  9. Hi Spen, thanks for your reply. I'm actually in California right now, taken 3 trips off from Queen Scuba to be with my girlfriend for her birthday (so I know there will be Whale Sharks around, always happens when I am off), and I'm picking up the Aquatica housing with all ports etc on monday, to 'smuggle' back into Thailand at the end of the month! What was most helpful was your opinion on the Sea&Sea service, I had a similar problem when I sent one of strobes back, 3 months, and now I know it wasn't just bad luck, and I like to be able to contact dealers myself when I have something being repaired etc. Do you use your Iklelite set-up when you are guiding? It would be good to know if you have any feedback from guests. I am of the opinion that if you can carry your equipment and still 'guide/help' people, while at the same time take the odd photo here and there, then why not have a big camera? After all, it's not like we have to go mad when we are doing 80 or more dives a month, I find that 3 or 4 pictures per dive is plenty to keep me happy and not interfere with my 'job'. for the last 3 seasons I've used my little Sony cybershot with a single Sea&Sea strobe, or my Olympus 8080 in an Ikelite housing with a single DS125, both small enough to conceal, so it would be intereseting to hear yours or your guests' opinions on carrying a 'bigboy'. Well, we are quite often in the same vicinity as you, so maybe we can catch up and talk housings etc while on a boring surface interval around the islands. Cheers, Rich
  10. Hi, I am about to start using my D200 underwater, and do not have thousands of dollars to spare, so I think that the Seacam and the Light & Motion housings are out of my budget (I am tourleader on a liveaboard at Thailand's Similan Islands & Richelieu Rock, great job, but I lose money.....). I can get the Sea&Sea housing here for 70,000 Baht, around US$2000. If I want to get any other housing I have to go outside Thailand (therefore spending money on return tickets) or I have to pay extortionate import tax to Thai customs if I want a housing sent in. I see that the Aquatica housing is also reasonably priced, and I can get this from bhphotovideo, and I am off to the US next month for a couple of weeks, so I could bring it in when I return. I also had a guest on the boat who had a Subal housing for his D100, any comments? I don't often get time to scour the internet for loads of different prices as I get home from the liveaboard and have to get out again the next day, only a few hours to spend sleeping and having a short life, and the connections here in Phuket are slooooowwwwww, everywhere. As for a wide-angle lens, I used a guest's Nikkor 12-24mm on the top deck of the boat, loved it, it's 40,000 Baht here, 25,000 Baht in the US (even though it's made in Bangkok) but I also saw the Sigma 10-20mm for only 15,000 Baht in the US, but just from glancing at a few posts on this forum (I'm a new member, joined tonight), I'm now paranoid that I can only use the Nikon lenses with the Sea&Sea housing, so if I buy a Sigma lens it's no good to me if I want to dive, is that correct? I've seen the words 'lens gear' on a few posts, what's that? Sorry if I seem ignorant, I get to do 80 dives every month of my life, I take thousands of pictures in a year, with my little Sony Cybershot and my Olympus 8080 with their strobes, and I get time to talk the guests about all the fishes and corals, but never time to learn more about the gear I need when I finally stop tourleading the liveaboard and spend more time diving for me and my camera....! Any help and comments will be greatly received and appreciated. Hi to anyone who knows me , Rich from Queen Scuba Liveaboard, the Mantas are at Koh Bon already....
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