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About alien-bob

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    Salt Lake City, UT
  1. Hmm. I've been somewhere similar before and argued this from Murray’s side, but I've changed my mind. I think. I had some direct experience with a related dilemma a few years back when I decided to try to "re-career" as a science writer/editor. Sounded great: work from home, work my own schedule, just take projects that interested me. Problem is those benefits allow a lot of other people to pursue that line of work "as a sideline." Many of them, people with working spouses for example, can afford to work for far less than I could. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I realized that if I have to charge decent money for something that someone else will do for less, I'm not competitive. Duh! Taken to the extreme, why should someone pay for something that they can legitimately and legally get for free, regardless of whether they do it for profit or not? While I think Murray has every right to voice his opinion that a for-profit operation soliciting donations is unfair, I disagree with his point. If a professional has to charge for something that to a layman is indistinguishable from something one of us--for whatever personal reasons we care to name--is willing to provide for free, that professional needs to figure out what he has to do to make his product worth paying for. I understand--very personally--how frustrating it can be to feel "I'm trying to make a living doing this and these jerks are screwing me by providing something similar at unrealistic prices," but that's just the way it is. I cut my losses and changed direction again when I met too many "competitors" who were happy to admit that they could afford to work for peanuts and simply enjoyed feeling they were being productive. Similarly there are an awful lot of very talented amateur photographers (uw and land) who like to share their pics and love to hear "awesome shot, dude." I'm sure many of them (us) would jump at the chance to turn even partly pro. But there are only a very small number of people who really make it as pros, through dint of consistently getting shots that are unquestionably better, or by combining fantastic photography with a flair for telling a story, or who simply know the right people. And then there are a crowd stuck--like I was as a science writer--somewhere in the middle. I disagree that an amateur giving out pictures for free is "at the expense of others who are trying to make a living doing the same," and believe (and this is probably going to sound harsh) that this kind of competition will force many of them to reconsider their career options while inadvertently pushing a few to the level where I'm willing to shell out my hard-earned cash for their work. I also disagree, as others have, with Murray's comments about the expense and risk and sacrifice we make to take uw pictures. C'mon, we do it for fun. I'll bet he also does it for fun; it's just that he's decided that maybe he can have his cake and eat it by getting paid to have fun. I know I would if I could! And donating my work diminishes its value? If my Ma could get a kick out of telling her bridge club that her lad got a picture displayed in the national aquarium, I'd say that's pretty good mileage--whether I donated it or not. Donated pictures don't have an overall negative impact to the uw photo community, they have (and this is probably also going to sound harsh) a negative impact on Murray's bottom line, which isn't--so far as I'm aware--our concern. I'm sure from what I've read that Murray is a nice guy, and I hope he makes it, but competition is the law of the jungle and, fair or not, he'll just have to deal with it. Finally, given all that, my personal position on my pics is that I'll be happy to donate to a non-profit organization but if someone wants to make money from them I'd want a cut. That's just the way I am, and if I fail to make a buck because one of you wants to give them for free, well, it's a jungle out there. (And that's not even getting into whether people pay to visit the aquarium to look at the nice decor or to look at the tanks full of fish...) Dang I've blathered on a long time, and all I wanted was to drop a note in the "hi, meet me" forum to see if anyone wanted to meet in Maine.
  2. Sheesh, you go away for a few weeks (figuratively speaking) and everything changes! Eric--the new software looks great! Awesome job. Looks like I have lots of catching up to do, but it will have to wait until AFTER I MOVE because I'VE GOT A NEW JOB!!! Sorry to "yell" but I'm still pretty psyched. In a couple of weeks I'll be moving to Bar Harbor, Maine, and while a local diver told me "it's cold and dark" there's supposed to be a ton of life in that area ... and it's so much closer to the ocean than Utah where I live at the moment. Professionally I'm a research scientist: biotech, and about to move from mainly microbes to mostly mice (Bill, I'd guess we'd have plenty to talk about). Snorkelled a lot with my Dad when I was a kid, learned scuba at university, and then gave it up for mumblemumble years when I got hooked on rockclimbing and biking in the desert. Started diving again about 18 months ago, recertified, and have been as obsessive about it as it's possible to be when you live 1000 miles from the nearest decent dive site. Into most things natural-history, in particular fungi above water and anything weird below. Shooting with an Ike-housed CP5000 and a DS125 that I seem to have a talent for flooding. Still very much in the steep part of the uw photography learning curve! Anyone in the group from Maine or Mass or somewhere close by interested in getting together to tell some lies or jump into the balmy North-West Atlantic? Bob.
  3. Just got back from my first trip with the TTL cord rather than the slave. Boston! -- not exacltly a "dive destination" but the diving is surprisingly interesting even though it's "cold and dark." I didn't get around to doing the "side by side" slave vs. cord I wanted to (as my DS 125 flooded again, back to Ikelite it goes) but, the bottom line is that the overexposure problems I was having with the slave seem to have gone away with the cord. Using the strobe in TTL mode with the speedlight power set at -1 to -2 seems to give decent exposures in the 2-6 ft range, although I'm still shooting several frames if I can. Closer and I have tended to use manual settings on the strobe, further and, well, the vis doesn't really allow photos much further. So, James, yes I'm sold on the cord. I do want to try a side by side sometime though, as it could just be that the exposures are getting better as I get more familiar with the setup. B.
  4. In addition to no typos :-o is putting it as the very last line in the post the only way to get the link to work? http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/scubalien2001/
  5. John, I haven't dived at Pulmo or with that outfit (avoiding the "club scene" that seems associated with anything "cabo" even though pulmo is up the coast), but I have dived from LaPaz for 2 trips (clubcantamar.com) and figured I'd share some of my transport experiences there. They are about 15 miles from LaPaz airport, about 8 from LaPaz itself. They have an arrangement with a local shuttle company who will pick you up from the airport and get you back there for your flight. That ride is included in their package prices. They also have a daily shuttle into town, the catch being that the return shuttle misses dinner at the hotel - so if you catch the free ride to town you buy your own dinner. Seems fair. I would guess you can make similar arrangements from Cabo. We found that the very limited use of a car we would have liked was easily taken care of by these shuttles. At Cantamar we did 3-tank days, boats leaving at 8.30 and not getting back until 4.30 or later (some long rides) and we dived 7 days straight. This trip, after washing gear etc we really didn't have much interest in trekking into town to rubberneck or party, so a car would have been a waste. At New year I had driven down there, so we did head into town and a couple of people had subsequent bad hair days resulting from un poco mas tequila and late nights :-) I have heard good things about the pulmo reef, but while I have been at Cantamar they have taken several groups of clients from Pulmo (complete with pulmo guide) on LaPaz-based trips - the "dogma" is that if you want to see "big animals" you need to get up to LaPaz. Last New year this was correct, we swam with very playful sealions and saw mantas and hammerheads (albeit at a distance). Oct is "peak" for this, with a good change of other big stuff like whale sharks. We tried to catch the very start of the season in July this year and got cold water and crappy vis! You get what you get. In any event, if you get a chance at a day trip to LaPaz from Cabo, I'd recommend it -- El Bajo is a 100' more advanced site for seeing hammerheads, LaReina and Punta Lobos seem to be the sites for Mantas, and Los Islotes is the sealion colony. (The Cantamar folks, Fernando and Benjamin in particular, speak good English, so a phone call for conditions and venues is easy). Some pics from my trip - my first with the digital rig - can be found on Yahoo at (and I'll probably mess up the link but the address is correct) [url=http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/scubalien2001/]http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/scubalien2001/ Have a great trip and let us know how it goes. Bob.
  6. Kasey posted a link to the Bonaire shootout in the housings forum. I was browsing around there while I was supposed to be working and noticed the rules for the contest. They have a list of things they consider unacceptable: http://www.theshootout.org/contest.html Quoted from there (without permission) They refer to these rules being established by "EPIC" - anyone know what EPIC is?
  7. There is a link on the ultralight website page www.ulcs.com to dealers by state. I was shocked and amazed by how much these things cost. My closest dealer is in Idaho, and although I haven't done a price comparison or bought from them yet their estimate was as follows for a 5"-8" combination to fit Ikelite housing: BA-IK fitting: $ 22.95 AD125 Strobe Adapter: $22.95 AC-CS Clamps (3) $22.95 ea. DB-05 Double Arm $47.95 DB08 Double Arm $47.95 Just over $200 plus shipping (in fact they had a little discount to $185) Is this about what I should expect pricewise? What combination of lengths do y'all use and what recommendations do you have? Bob.
  8. James has convinced me (see several other posts) to "stop monkeying around" with the TTL slave for now and to go for a direct connection between my CP5000 and DS125. No more calling me a weirdo, James! :-) Try as I might I was getting overexposed pics with most settings I tried, even with the exposure compensation set at -2 (no takers in my exif Q in the processing forum and I haven't had any joy with that Q elsewhere either). A conversation with the folks at Ikelite yesterday did confirm James' assertion that with the cord you can use the speedlight settings in the camera to tell the strobe to cut down its output (i.e. essentially use the strobe at 1/2 or 1/4 power but still in TTL mode) which does seem to be a control worth playing with. Of course, if my problem is that the TTL sensor in the camera is a little insensitive, the camera will keep the strobe on long enough to overexpose regardless of the strobe output power, but eliminating the bounced light feedback loop has to IMHO eliminate one more variable. Ordered the cord yesterday and with any luck I'll be able to do some side-by-side comparisons. Bob.
  9. Not a crazy dive story, but kinda crazy nevertheless. Title should probably more realistically be "Don't try this at work." My bookmark list tends to get unmanageable, so for places I visit a lot --like here :-) -- I just type in the URL from memory. A word from the careless-wise, www.wetpix.com doesn't get you here. I'm SO glad there was no-one else in the office at the time :-) -B.
  10. Getting worn out from all this globetrotting - how do I edit my profile to provide the missing information? I can view it but can't find a way to change anything in it. Thanks.
  11. NitroLiq, I did a pretty major trip yesterday, posted to wetpixel from both New York and Houston as well as an undisclosed location which was home in Salt Lake City, Utah. I suspect I'm posting from Thailand today in this thread. Great trips (or maybe it's a bug in the software?) :-)
  12. Dave, Could you (would you, pretty please) try to estimate the camera to subject distance (or port to subject distance) at closest focus and highest zoom the camera allows with the yellow "macro" flower with and without the wide angle lens? If the wide angle allows me to back away from the subject a little for the same image size it would be bumped higher up my list. Thanks, Bob.
  13. Jack, Replied to your other while you were following up here. No, I don't have the dome port or wideangle lens--my pockets weren't deep enough. In fact, at the moment I'd debating (hypothetically - no spare cash) which will be next, decent arms for the strobe I have, a second (smaller) strobe, or the dome/wide angle. My interests lean strongly towards the macro stuff, so I think the wide angle will be lower priority for me. It would be nice to get a bit more distance between the camera and subject to make the lighting a little easier, but I don't think the wide angle will do that. What say we keep further followup in this thread? Bob.
  14. Jack, Thoughtful responses re: what we can touch. Thanks. Common sense seems, as always, to be the thing. Very curious to see what other reponses that message prompts. I just put a note in the gallery forum just a few minutes before I typed my thoughts in the buoyancy thread. I have some pics online (sorry, just on Yahoo). 2 albums at: http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/scubalien2001/ As I said in the galleries forum, comments good, bad, or evil are very welcome. There are also some notes in that post about what I ended up using for some of the settings (mostly based on a thread in the housings forum "CP 5000 settings" or similar that I'm sure you've seen). Take a look at my pics and I'll be happy to chit-chat about details and further thoughts I've had. Bob.
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