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Everything posted by errbrr

  1. I've shipped dive gear ahead. It was expensive, but cheaper than the excess baggage on the flights I had. Then I took the camera gear and some more dive gear with me as per normal. Same rationale as the others in this thread - if the dive gear got lost, much greater chance I could rent a replacement on arrival while the bag was tracked down or replaced. The other thing to consider is that if you are shipping internationally you will need to declare the value of the goods and possibly pay import duties and tax on them.
  2. Agreed, I believe it's not possible. Go front curtain and wave the camera around while you do. Alex Mustard wrote a great article on slow shutter speed photography with different syncs to show the different effects you can get.
  3. More than possible, it can be fun But it does require a little more patient experimentation. Try taking photos of the same scene with the strobes turned off, then with them on low power in different positions, then with high power in different positions. Look at the results on the computer to get a better idea of where the backscatter is coming from. Look up "close focus wide angle" techniques and think about framing that minimises the amount of water in your background. Or, move your strobes so the light only falls on things close to the camera. I often shoot with the lens pointing up and the strobes pointing down at the reef. There's no point lighting the water when there's all that dirt floating around. If you live locally and get to know the conditions, you will get photos on good days that noone else gets. People don't travel to cold water locations with variable conditions because the chance of getting a "good" day is too low and even then the vis isn't crystal clear. Equally don't be too disheartened by the fact that none of your photos have red fan corals on pure blue backgrounds.
  4. It's a great camera, I wish you luck with it. I took hundreds of thousands of images with my two and managed a few nice shots.
  5. Back button focus, keep your f-stop narrow and use ISO/shutter speed to make things brighter instead. The 5D2 doesn't have very many focus points and the central one is noticeably better than the others. So if you are trying to track small objects in the blue, it will struggle until you get the focus point on the animal for long enough to work. I suggest focusing on your fin tip at furthest extension, then snapping away. If the animals are further away than that...either refocus, or try and get closer.
  6. I normally go in via new content as well, though I admit last time I wanted to start a thread I pondered where exactly to put it. Looks much simpler now. A silly question - are we going to see reinstatement of the photo of the week competition? That drove a lot of traffic to the site and improved the forums in turn.
  7. Congrats! Did you get some jewelry to go with the announcement?
  8. For photography I would go land based. Liveaboards will put the whole boat on the wreck of the day and make it hard to avoid other divers and their silt/bubbles through your photos. I dived with Blue Lagoon and appreciated the option of having just myself and two or three buddies on a boat. 15 to 25 minute run to most wrecks. We could pick our own wreck and not worry about crowds. One day we had a liveaboard drop a dozen divers halfway through our dive and the rest of the photos were a write-off as the engine room rapidly became zero vis. Blue Lagoon was also tech and camera friendly which was nice.
  9. Pick an airline that has reasonable charges for the extra bag(s) you will need. Then decide whether you love your camera rig or your breather more - whichever one wins gets to go as hand luggage. Hard case the other, check it in, and give yourself an extra day at the destination before you plan to start diving so the bags have time to catch you if they get lost. For reference I normally put the revo in a dive tub with the bailout regs and other small and delicate items wedged down the side wrapped in my undersuit. Second bag for drysuit, fins, lights, clothes and whatever didn't fit in the tub or doesn't need a hard case. Then camera rig fully constructed in a carryon backpack, and a shoulder "purse" with laptop, batteries and other electronics. Be nice to the check in agents and get the credit card ready to pay excess fees if they start getting excited about the weight. Make a "uff" noise when you lift your checked bag onto the scale, to give the impression that the backpack you're carrying doesn't weigh as much as the tub. If it looks like they are routinely weighing carryon at the checkin desk, get someone else to mind your backpack while you checkin (or go the pockets as per the above). Good luck!
  10. Very nice! Love your split shots, especially the last one. What lens are you using for wide angle?
  11. The weather's starting to get a bit average so I would pick your timing based on when the sea is flat during your visit. The boat diving along the Victorian coast in particular is very weather dependent - you want northerly winds for best conditions. There are no boat ramps along most of the Great Ocean Road because of the cliffs and the incoming Southern Ocean with nowhere to hide. One exception is the boat diving out of Melbourne (really Portsea/Queencliff) where you can dive various sites along Lonsdale Wall on slack water in most wind/swell conditions. The wall is beautiful - lots of sponge life and reef fish with big dropoffs down to 100m. Check out Red Boats for charter schedules. You might like to consider snorkelling with the seals in Port Phillip Bay as well as they are good fun. Melbourne shore diving is all about the piers - Blairgowrie Yacht Club, Rye Pier and Flinders Pier are good. Flinders on the end of a low tide/start of the incoming tide will only be about 2m deep so would be suitable for snorkelling and there are weedy seadragons there. If you are driving the (much longer) coastal route to Sydney there are a couple of scuttled tugboat wreck dives at Eden. And then the diving at Jervis Bay is excellent.
  12. I agree with Alex (because who wouldn't!) and while I struggled to pick it in side by side shots from different dives at the same site, I know my local dive sites and I prefer the photos with the retras. The retras gave me completely different (better) light quality from the first dive there, even with strobe positioning all wrong and backscatter through the shots. The colours are better and the hotspots/throw/eveness was nicer. Some of my negatives are teething issues that I will get used to. I just hope the reliability is there, because I've had a lot of problems with overheating Z240s and I'm hoping to move on from that.
  13. Inon were not all that responsive to my melted tubes/capacitor, but that may have been the dealer intermediary and their communication. Repeated full dumps at 28 degrees with no burn out sounds like a great improvement. Typically I would lose the tubes on one out of my six Z240s on each week-long tropical cave diving trip.
  14. Your first shot is my favourite - good eye contact and dynamic lines through the picture. I want to like the third one as I love the colours, but maybe it could be improved by angling the other way? Great shots all three regardless, good focus.
  15. I posted awhile back about using a backpack as carry-on to carry the camera fully assembled. In Australia they are in the nasty habit of weighing carry-on at the gate and roller bags get targeted. Temporarily sore shoulders and a smile like it only weighs 7kgs have saved me on multiple occasions. I replaced the red bag in the thread pictures with one exactly the same dimensions in a different material from the same manufacturer. It's been crap - multiple holes after just a few months. Then I worked out that the housing fits in my new carry-on bag I bought for work. It's the Osprey Porter 46, which is carry-on dimensions if you don't overstuff it. It has padded sides and incredible build quality. I'm much happier with it as I feel the housing would have a fighting chance if I am every forced to check it. It weighed 16kg last week with Nauticam 5D4 housing & camera, 8" dome and 14mm lens, 2 x retras and arms, macro port and 100mm lens on the side, eneloops, a couple of dive computers and other odds and sods. Slid easily into the overhead on an ATR-72, and under the seat in front on a Dash 8. I also carry on a "purse" with laptop, ipad, headphones, chargers, spare batteries that often weighs 5 to 10kg. I prefer it when they put the plane close to the gate (although it's good practise for staggering to the boat in full technical dive kit).
  16. Hi Oskar, Generally speaking I would commonly put fresh batteries in before a trip, where I may travel for 2-3 days before diving. I will now swap these out on arrival for freshly charged ones. In this instance I spent two weeks at work before travelling directly to the resort. I packed my camera at home where it stayed in the bag until I made it through work and onto the holiday. I would be more worried about leaving used batteries in the strobes for the trip home, where the strobe may continue to drain them until the batteries are completely flat and unchargeable. Something to be aware of for sure. I am having some reliability problems with one of my retras on this trip - I will see how it develops over the last two days and send you an email when I get home again. Cheers, Liz
  17. So I have now done this test. After 15 days in the retras, the battery indicators were showing one red dot only on both strobes. I pulled the batteries out and put them in the charger, side by side with a pair of eneloops charged at the same time, that travelled in a plastic case instead of in the retra. The batteries that were out of the strobe showed "full" within 5 minutes. The batteries that were in the retra took a couple of hours to charge. 15 days is not that long - there is significant battery drain going on with batteries that are installed while the strobes are off.
  18. The batteries left the retra appear to drain quite fast while off, even with brand new eneloops. It's annoying because I normally load batteries into strobes for travel to reduce the number of spare batteries I'm carrying. With the retras I then take them out and put fresh ones in on arrival. Then again, Z240s could have been doing the same thing and with no battery indicator I wouldn't know. I rarely run the Z240s flat with changing the batteries before every dive and have never had a problem with them going flat after only a few shots.
  19. Sounds like they consider more cameras/electronics/etc than specified to be likely to be sold for commercial purposes and want import tax paid on them. You can look at getting a carnet but these are expensive and painful for consumer levels of equipment. Even if they are "underwater photographer" consumer levels! Ecuador is not the only country that has rules like this. Pretty much everywhere has limits on alcohol, tobacco, etc, and most places have limits on electronics and other valuables too. But you usually have to make Customs suspicious that you're running a sales business before you get stuck. They want evidence that everything you brought in will leave the country again when you leave.
  20. If a tip is 10% of the total cost, that total cost is mostly fuel, wear and tear, consumables and hopefully some profit. Proportionally (depending on location) not that much of the overall payment goes to staff wages. So 10% of the total cost as a tip to the staff could well be 100%+ of their wages for that trip. Tipping as a portion of the wages bill would make some nice logical sense but I can see that it's unlikely to happen in this lifetime. On the advance tipping, I'm sure there are more sophisticated articles about the links and lines between tipping and bribery but let me share my opinion. You might be interested in the official definition of bribery: Giving or offering a benefit with the intention of influencing a person, to obtain a benefit not legitimately due. Tipping in advance or promising tips to individual staff for things that are not normally included or available, especially for goods or services that damage the environment or degrade the other guests' experience sits very close to bribery for me. When travelling to countries where corruption is endemic, it would be nice to see tourists from first world destinations modelling good behaviour - paying legitimate fees to the company rather than the individual, paying attention to instructions, following the rules. And avoiding "let me do what I want and I'll make it worth your while" attitude that I'm sure we've all seen in action on occasion.
  21. Nice work! I would say that "just off the beach" is accurate but perhaps doesn't describe the difficulty of getting to said beach in the first place. Whyalla is not close to much.
  22. Those little bits of brown dirt are burn out...sorry for your loss :-) The only "official" service available on a Z240 is complete replacement of the internals. Sea Optics has done one strobe for me themselves and sent one to Japan as well. While I appreciated that they could do it, in both cases this took a long time and many unanswered phone calls to them. Steve's website is here: http://www.tfmengineering.com.au/Full disclosure, he is a friend and dive buddy as well as a business owner. He did a fair bit of experimenting with one of my Z240s to find the right replacement tubes, and has since changed over four sets. It's nice to have full output out of them again.
  23. I use professional photographers insurance in Australia, which covers all kind of useful things like checked baggage on flights, stolen from vehicle, rentals while awaiting repair/replacement, etc. It also has a rider to cover water damage from leakage while in use in the housing. Taking the camera body out in the rain is not covered, on the other hand. Might be worth investigating if similar providers exist for professional photographers in your part of the world?
  24. Have a look at the tubes. If they are brown-ish on the weaker strobe, you've found your problem - overheating and burn-out. Steve at TFM in Melbourne has replaced inon tubes for me with success.
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