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newmanl

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newmanl last won the day on July 22 2015

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About newmanl

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    Wolf Eel

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  • Location
    Port Coquitlam, BC

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    Canada
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Canon 7D
  • Camera Housing
    Aquatica
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS-160 x 2
  • Accessories
    iTorch Video Pro 3, ULCS Arms

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  1. I dive with a DSLR rig that is fitted with a Sola 600 focus light which I use as a focus light - obviously, but also a bit of a dive light. My can light is draped around my neck with the light-head hanging over my left shoulder - pointing straight down when not 'in use', and handy when I need it. I leave the can light turned on - of course. I can then take my left hand off the photo rig between shots and look around with the can light - without having to unclip or flex my hand funny ways as I used to do while shooting in caves with it on my hand (Goodman handle). This way I can still function as a good teammate with prompt and 'readable' light signals with the can light, as well as take photos unencumbered.
  2. Here are a couple from my 'backyard' (Vancouver, BC) all taken less than a 40-minute drive from the city. Tim - love the red crinoid image!
  3. Lots of great advice in this thread, and often the solution is a blend of varying approaches. I work on my underwater photographic education by reading articles, and books (especially the ones mentioned above). I also avoid places that impose guided diving - how am I going to learn how find critters if I always have someone doing it for me? I also do not want to rely on a guide for navigating the dive - seems a bit like a 'trust-me dive' to me. I've also resisted the urge to join photography-prioritized tours/trips for the same (and other) reasons. I'm fortunate to live in a place with easy access to the ocean (even if it is cold!) with unlimited, unguided shore diving - so, as a diver I continually work on things like knowing the site conditions (wind and tide), natural u/w navigation, gas management, and buddy/team skills, and as a photographer I get to take my time and not feel rushed. When I travel, I look for the same kind of places - such as Bonaire, California and Hawaii. I do enjoy the social part of diving, just not while I'm underwater!
  4. Photo aspects aside - as they have been covered, I'm pretty sure it's a trumpet fish. The photo clearly shows a number of characteristics that identify it as such. It has a chin barbel, rows of fine scales and a laterally-compressed mouth. Also, the eye is comparatively smaller (eye diameter as a % of S.L.) and less oval in shape. Cornet fish, on the other hand, lack a chin barbel and scales - rather, they are either scale-less or have rows of hard plates in the skin, and the mouth is somewhat dorso-ventrally compressed. The eye of a cornet fish is comparatively larger and much more oval in shape when compared to a trumpet fish. In terms of the photo - either is challenging to get an engaging shot of! I'd echo the comments on exposure and focus - nice job!
  5. I'm in the market for a focus light as well. Presently I use an I-Torch Video Pro 3, but the threads are wearing out on the body section at the back end despite my slightly OCD-ish attempts at cleaning and lubing. I've looked (over the internet) at lots of lights - mainly at specs, and find that most lights sold as focus lights also do double-duty - given enough intensity, as video lights. In my mind, providing a little light so a lens can focus - usually a macro lens, and illuminating a scene for video are two entirely different propositions! Regardless, I recently tried my wife's I-Torch Fish Lite 24 and found the wide beam angle (110 degrees) very distracting and annoying. Even in the relatively low vis of our local waters, it lit up a large area in front of me and washed the foreground in light that I found very distracting. The Video Pro 3 has an 80 degree beam and is very useable for macro, although unfortunately too hard-edged for wide angle work. So, after a few days spent wandering the internet for a more modest beam angle, white and red settings, a user-replaceable rechargeable Li-ion battery and a depth rating of at least 300' all in a robust and sturdy package, the only option that fits most of the criteria is the L&M Sola 800P. I've yet to try one, so I don't have any useful comments on its performance at this point. Sorry for the ramble, but hopefully it helps with criteria for selecting a light. Lee
  6. Hey Rob, I've held off commenting until now, mostly because I have zero experience with mirror-less and 4/3rds systems! As you know, I shoot with a Canon 7D (started with a 30D) in an Aquatica housing - so nothing light or cheap about it, although I realize those are not your primary concerns. With the 100 macro and two DS-160 strobes (single arm section on each side) the rig is about 22lbs topside. Anyway, I've never owned anything other than an SLR/DSLR so it was a natural extension for me to take one u/w. I was used to the behavior of the AF and most of the limitations of the few lenses I own. Having said that, shooting macro with the 100mm (the non-L version) and the 7D is often as rewarding as it is frustrating. In our local waters, not only are we plagued with challenging vis conditions much of the year, but we also have to contend with significant schlieren given the amount of FW entering the sites at times and the seasonal mixing of very warm water with cold - again, of which I'm sure you're well aware! When conditions permit, and if you're comfortable moving the AF point around (I always start with the center point selected and then change it as required for the comp), the 7D and 100 make a great team. I'm sure the 7DII would be even better! As you have likely read, the non-L version of the 100mm macro is a pretty slow-focusing lens, but still works well u/w if you can comp with enough contrast - and have a good focus light (in order to assist with the amount of contrast). I've been lucky on occasion to shoot a really small nudibranch in a field of hydroids and had every shot tack-sharp. Had the opposite happen as well... The nice thing is when you nail a shot, you have 18MP (or 20MP if shooting with a 7DII) from which to crop, if necessary. The working distance with the 100 makes it possible to get a frame-filling image without having to get so close that you impact the critter or shot in some way. The only other thing I can suggest, is that we plan a dive or two together and you try mine. Bring a CF card with you to the site and blaze away getting a feel for the rig before you do anything rash! Oh, it will feel like you're taking a one man submersible with you at first, but you do get used to it. I regularly dive with my rig on tech dives, with doubles, a stage, a deco bottle or two and sometimes a scooter. It gets to be very manageable with a bit of practice! Hope that helps. Lee
  7. Hi Folks, My wife and I are comtemplating a dive trip to Okinawa sometime this fall. We realize our timeframe coincides with typhoon season, but don't have a lot of choice over the timing at this point. We are both very experienced divers and self-sufficient with respect to dive skills - in the water almost every weekend and take at least two major dive vacations a year. We both like to plod along nice and slow looking for interesting critters. I shoot with a 7D in an Aquatica housing, and split macro and wide about 50/50. We've looked into flights - AC has a good route with, dare I say it, affordable fares. We intend to stay on the main island, unless there's a compelling reason to get on another flight. So, I was wondering if anyone had any tips or recommendations as to dive ops. Since neither of us speaks Japanese, we've looked at Reef Encounters and Piranha Divers. The former seems a rough around the edges given the reviews - not that we need pampering, and the latter appears to cater mostly to folks learning to dive. In the interests of full-disclosure, I haven't contacted either as of yet. Any info or suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks, Lee
  8. Hi Adam, Steve, I'm in the same boat as Steve on this - although the photo contest I won wasn't for u/w images. In terms of u/w images, I've had a few published in newspapers and magazines, and others used in ads, banners, and educational graphics. As requested, I've also given a few to good friends to decorate their office space or homes. I shoot to try to have other folks see the ocean and any other u/w environment the way I do - with a sense of wonder, amazement and with a great deal of respect. I also shoot because I really enjoy being u/w and being able to produce tangible memories makes it even better! That said, I have no issue at all with those that are able to make a living, or some part of it, from u/w photography. In my very humble opinion, shooting to win contests is the least noble of the reasons to go to such a place. Cheers, Lee
  9. I'd second Aussiebyron's comment/suggestion. I very recently replaced the aged battery packs on my two DS-160s with Li-Ion and really like the benefits - much lighter in the water (topside as well, of course!), very quick recycling and only have to recharge them every couple/few dives (I tend to average 50-100 shots a dive)! In short, they were a very worthwhile replacement for my well-used NiMH battery packs. Lee
  10. Hi, Are these still for sale? If so, would you be willing to ship to Canada? Thanks, Lee
  11. Great shots! Love Bonaire... Lee
  12. Nice images of reef fishes - not the easiest, or co-operative, of subjects! Lee
  13. Hey Stoo, I was in the same boat not that long ago - my A7D was as long over-due as your housing! Anyway, I sent it in Aquatica and they did an amazing job! They even replaced the somewhat scratched back LCD window! My housing came back looking, and working, like brand new. Definitely worth it for me! Lee
  14. Hi Folks, As usual, I'm humbled by the images that get posted here! While against my personality, I'm going to knowingly break the rule as well! I'm posting two of my favourite images from 2014. The first is an image from a cave diving trip to Tulum back in March. The image was made with one strobe, fired with a 15' extension cord so as to remove me (the photographer) from the image as much as possible (didn't need to slave it off another strobe). It was taken in a passage called "River Run" where a layer of freshwater sits on top of the infiltrating seawater. It is a magical experience diving this passage, and I hope the image offers some sense of it. The second image was made at Whytecliff Park, a little closer to home, and a popular Vancouver, BC dive site. The site is located on a fiord and as such, has a steeply sloping wall that starts in 20-30' and plunges down to over 700'. The cloud sponges, the main subject of the image, start at about 100' and are a favourite with technical divers. This image is actually the start of a little project to shoot the sponges with tech divers... if we ever get our winter vis! Thanks for looking! Lee
  15. Hi Don, When I started shooting in caves about four years ago, I tried mounting remote strobes between the doubles on my model(s) and quickly found that it limited my creativity, not only with the lighting, but also the type of shots I could make. Tank mounted lighting really only works (if one likes the lighting that tank mounted strobes produce) with "diver facing you" shots. It took a little trial and error (all done in open water!) but I settled - and my models preferred, hand-held slave strobes. Nothing is attached to the diver so in the event of a more pressing need, the strobe can be simply dropped. I had a short aluminum handle made that has the Ikelite strobe attachment end and then used the now-discontinued Ikelite EV Controller to trigger the strobe. There may be more elegant solutions to firing the slave with other types of strobes. However, the advantage of the controller is that its adjustable in terms of position. So, with the strobe (on the handle) being held by the diver (in the left hand, when shooting) the strobe can be pointed in almost any direction - so now I have options with front-facing, back-lit shots, from the back looking into the cave shots and almost everything in between in terms of shooting angles. I use one strobe (usually turned down in terms of power so as not to over do the foreground in an effort to reduce my (the photographer's) "footprint" in the photo, and the divers get to angle and position themselves for the shot with a lot of flexibility. Here's a photo that illustrates my description: And here's a photo of the remote strobe rig... Hope that helps! Best of luck with your cave photography! Lee
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