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jtresfon

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jtresfon last won the day on April 7 2015

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About jtresfon

  • Rank
    Wolf Eel
  • Birthday 08/11/1974

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  • Website URL
    http://www.underwaterimages.co.za
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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Cape Town, South Africa

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D300
  • Camera Housing
    Subal ND30
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Nikon SB800 Speedlight in Subal SN800 Housing
  1. Obviously just missed you there... Arrived the day of your first post, spent a week in Chuuk then moved to Bikini Atoll for two weeks! One of the divers on our trip had his dome crack when he touched it on some wreckage and lost his entire rig to flooding. Also two DCS incidents while I was there, one fortunately cured with a few chamber treatments and one rather serious case where the diver somehow survived despite having to be resuscitated several times and is now in serious condition with a doubtful recovery ahead. Rgds Jean.
  2. Second what Drew said. My first year I used a DX 10.5mm and found it slightly too wide. The following year is was a DX 10-17mm mostly at the 17mm end. Last few years I've gone the DX 12-24mm route mostly at the 24mm end. FX this year and will definitely use the 16-35mm. Gives you the option to go tight on the birds diving or go wide if something big swims in. Fisheye can work but limits your potential shot list. (9 inch Zen dome works fine) Rgds Jean.
  3. Are these domes still available? Rgds Jean.
  4. Have been on the Sardine Run for the last four years on the row... and will be going again next year! Yes it is difficult to get a great baitball shot because of all the variables that have to come together, but there is so much opportunity around in other areas. If you look at it as a Sardine Run only then you may be disappointed if the sardines do not arrive. If you look at it as an Ocean Safari then you will never be disappointed since there is no limit to the subjects available. Yes there are lots of boats and snorkellers around but that's life. There is an etiquette system in place and a lot of the time it works. It relies and the clients behaving as well as the skippers/operators and this does not always happen. Also when the water is murky it is best not to dive for safety reasons and clients can have a hard time understanding this. I have had two close encounters I would not wish to repeat, both times after diving in low visibility when I knew better but went anyway. For me the lesson is clear! I use Steve Benjamin from www.animalocean.co.za and have done for the last 3 years. I could not recommend anyone more highly. Steve is a qualified Zoologist, great skipper and the most enthusiastic guy you will ever meet. There are many good operators and some not so good, do your research and be sure to get referrals from past clients. The dangerous practices mostly amount to putting clients in the water when the visibility is not good. As a client you need to exercise restraint, even if the operator doesn't. South Africa is no different to any other country in terms of safety and security. There are good areas and bad areas and you need to appreciate that you have to look after your kit and not leave it lying around as temptation. At Port St Johns there is no real problem and security at most of the resorts is fine. The only real worry is that you have a great time... then you'll be like the rest of the addicts going back year after year! Rgds Jean.
  5. Definitely nobody injured in the making of these 2 images... This was one of those rare and special encounters where the animal initiates and dictates the interaction. He had plenty of room to move away and chose to come and have a look at us. Although the picture showing the proximity of Steve and the elephant is fairly dramatic, it was the only time in the entire encounter that the elephant even acknowledged our presence. He turned, gave Steve a shower and went on his way. I have plenty of other pics showing him ignoring us but of course they don't hold the same impact value. Having grown up in Africa we are all very aware of the dangers of messing with an adult african elephant, but in this case there was never even a hint of anger, aggression or unhappiness, just a beautiful moment in time that is forever ingrained in my mind... Rgds Jean.
  6. A group of divers from South Africa and Belgium have just returned from a week long diving safari in the Okavango Delta. The focus of the trip was to dive with and photograph the Nile Crocodiles, but in this wild place you never know what might turn up. After spotting a wild African bull elephant feeding on the river bank, we made a cursory check of the river for crocs and hippos then slid quietly into the water. We stood on a small ledge against the bank that gave us the option of simply stepping off into deep water and letting the current take us away if the elephant became upset. For 20 minutes the elephant fed quietly within just 30 feet of us. We kept low down in the water so as not to overly advertise our presence. Then he walked directly towards us and started to climb into the water, just 15 feet from fellow diver Steve Benjamin. Steve had his underwater housing and was keen to try for a split level. Doubilet and others have split levels of elephants in water, but in all cases these have been trained or tame animals and to the best of my knowledge nobody has done this with a wild African elephant for very good reason! The elephant filled his trunk with water, turned suddenly and gave Steve a thorough hosing as a warning to keep his distance, then plunged into the water and swam across the river. The water was slightly too dirty and the distance just too great with a fish-eye lens to get a split-level showing the elephant's legs under the water but still an incredible experience nonetheless. This is my view from immediately behind Steve... and here is the picture he took... Regards Jean.
  7. Question for the guru's: Why would you use a f/4 16-35mm lens instead of the f/2.8 17-35mm lens apart from the obvious cost factor? I'm still a DX shooter so have no experience of using full frame lenses underwater. Is the 16-35mm better underwater or behind a dome??? Rgds Jean.
  8. Hey Drew Also not a fan of the show and think that Dirk Schmidt has a couple of valid points. However check out this statement from respected shark scientist Alison Koch regarding Dirk's petition... Seems there's been a lot of misinformation all round... Shark Spotters Statement regarding Shark Men
  9. Absolutely incredible day's diving & exploring in the De Hoop MPA yesterday! Up at 04h30, depart 05h30, drive 300km up the coast, on the sea inside the MPA by 10h00, back on shore by 18h00 after nearly 5 hours underwater and home by 23h00, totally knackered... Found 2 new dive sites, had bronzies chasing juvenile yellowfin tuna, shoals of big yellowtail, massive rays, schooling hammerheads, feeding raggies and even a batfish! I have a really bad case of POG (Post Oceanic Glow)... Regards Jean.
  10. The Cape Fur Seals of Duiker Island near Hout Bay in Cape Town are suddenly on hyper active duty... Steve Benjamin called yesterday to let me know that for some reason the seals are incredibly bold at the moment and even the smallest pups are unafraid to approach really close to divers. I immediately ditched work for the day and by 09h00 was sitting in the boat anchored in the channel off Duiker Island. What followed was the best seal interaction I've yet had... only it wasn't an interaction, more like a mugging with me as the victim! One seal biting each fin, one mouthing my head, two trying to bite my strobes and my actual subject gaping at the dome port!!! Countless times I had to reset my strobe arms after they were knocked out of position by the curious seals. Once I carelessly let my hand flap around and instantly there was a pup giving it a bite. At one stage I thought it might get out of hand, some of the pups don't seem to know where to draw the line and some bites are painful, but after moving position a bit things calmed down. Altogether an amazing morning... Regards Jean.
  11. @elbuzo the water temp was warm for our part of the world, 20 degrees celcius. Will say hi to Stevie... @ErolE depends on the conditions. When it's good it's world class, when conditions are bad it's really crap. Soon as the conditions are good we'll go back. @Drew nope, warm as toast! @errbrr sharks featured were ragged tooth shark, pyjama shark and spotted gully shark. Also there but too shy to get on camera were bronze whaler shark and juvenile hammerhead shark. @lianbt here is an extract from an article I wrote on the area: The De Hoop Marine Protected Area (MPA) is probably South Africa’s oldest and largest marine reserve. Following the coastline of the reserve and extending five kilometers out to sea, the De Hoop MPA runs for forty-eight kilometers from Stilbaai Point (the name of a small bay just south of Saint Sebastian Bay and not to be confused with the town of Stilbaai near Jongensfontein) in the east to halfway between Skipskop and Ryspunt in the west. The De Hoop MPA was declared in March 1986 and is a no-take reserve, meaning that no fishing or harvesting of any sort is allowed. The MPA is situated close to the Agulhas Bank making it a crucial habitat for recovering fish stocks.. The reserve is also home to around two hundred and fifty different fish species as well as many mammalian species such as dolphins and otters. Sharks also occur in abundance, and there are few better places for shark photography. Diving in the reserve is like diving in an aquarium. The fish life is plentiful and the individual fish are all a decent size. Older divers diving here for the first time often remark that it is like diving “in the old days” when there were still lots of fish around. To me this is clear evidence of the efficacy of the MPA concept. The diving to be had in the De Hoop MPA is on a par with the world’s best dive sites. Whilst being extremely beautiful, the area is also potentially very hazardous and the diving is certainly not easy. This is not an area for first time divers, but more experienced divers should have no issues. It should be pointed out that the conditions are not always consistent and temperatures, visibility, currents and surface conditions can vary greatly, even from day to day. During the summer months the wind often picks up strongly from late morning. The entire piece of coastline is exposed to the ocean swells without the protection of a headland. Although the De Hoop Nature Reserve and MPA are well advertised, there are not many people that have actually dived there. Snorkeling is possible from the shore inside the nature reserve, however for SCUBA diving a boat remains the only real option. Access is either from Witsands and the Breede River mouth in the East, or from Arniston in the west. Both launches are potentially very hazardous when the swell is running so take care. Those fortunate enough to have dived here will have experienced the fact that often while still descending, even before the reef comes into view, divers are surrounded by shoals of small baitfish such as the Karel Groot-Oog. Many of the offshore reefs are made up of huge rocky structures that stand well proud of the sea bed. The sheer biomass on the reef is incredible. Game fish such as Yellowtail and Leervis often patrol the surface near the top of the reef. Musslecracker are in abundance and I have had a shoal of large Poenskop follow me around for most of a dive. Big Coppers are slightly rarer but are there and at the bottom some really big Yellow Belly Rock Cod can be found. Of course any place that has fish in such abundance also attracts its share of predators and many different species of sharks can be found here. Patrolling the top of the reef the Spotted Gully Sharks circle about, often in groups. There are many depressions in the reefs that form natural amphitheatres and at the bottom of these areas Ragged Tooth Sharks can often be found circling slowly. It is a truly magical experience to sink slowly to the bottom and have the Raggies circle slowly around you, often no more than an arm’s length away. Thanks for the comments, video's not really my thing but every now and again it serves a purpose! Rgds Jean.
  12. Cape Town, South Africa: Following reports of a band of warm blue water along the Overberg coastline, Steve Benjamin and I decided to spend the day diving in the De Hoop Marine Protected Area. In my opinion this is one of the top dive sites on the planet! We were primarily there to capture photographic stills, but I stuck a GoPro HD Hero 2 on top of my camera housing and this was the result... Regards Jean.
  13. My bread and butter photography work is architectural photography, most usually paving and building installations commissioned by the product manufacturer. Every 2 years in South Africa there is a massive industry wide competition called the "Awards For Excellence" where project teams submit their projects under various categories (Paving, Masonry, Roofing etc) for judging and the winners are awarded major prizes and much prestige within the industry. As the judges cannot be expected to travel the length and breadth of the country to visit every site, the judging is based on photos of the projects submitted. One of my clients spent a great deal of money on his entries and I spent many hours shooting and processing images for him. I was very chuffed when his company won the overall prize based on my photos, but my ego-stroking was short-lived. One of his major competitors lodged an official complaint (through an attorney) that he cheated by having his images "photoshopped" and broke the rules of the competition. They demanded that the results be nullified and a new winner announced. This caused a stink in the press and looked to turn messy. The competition rules were very vague stating that the photos "should be submitted as a colour print (untouched)". The client asked me to respond in writing to the competition organisers and in doing so I gave some though as to what constitutes "untouched". My reply touches strongly on the topic under discussion so I have included part of it here: ---start--- As I understand the complaint, the three issues at stake are that: 1. The images are not in the “original” format 2. The images have been modified using a computer program 3. The images do not fit the Oxford Dictionary definition of “untouched” If indeed these are the official rules of the competition then it is patently obvious that neither the complainant nor the person that set the rules has even a basic understanding of photography, and especially not modern digital photography. Please allow me a brief (and simplified) explanation of the modern photographic image making process, starting at the moment the digital camera’s shutter button is pressed. Millions of bits of information regarding colour and light levels are recorded digitally and stored in a RAW file on the camera’s memory card. Much more information than is needed for the final image is stored during this process. RAW files however cannot be used to produce a final image and this information now has to be converted to the final image format (JPEG or TIFF) and this can be done in camera or on a separate image editing computer, either automatically or manually. The recorded information has a number of criteria applied to it (assignment of a colour profile, levels adjustment, sharpening, contrast adjustment etc) and much of the original image information is discarded during this process. The final image is then used by the photographer. This is the process that happens with each and every digital photograph ever taken. The digital camera itself fits the definition of a computer as it is a piece of hardware controlled by software, and in fact most of the digital cameras available as I write this (including my own) have the ability to conduct advanced image editing within the camera’s own software menus. In reality it makes no difference whether an image is edited in camera or on an external computer as it generally amounts to the same thing. So before I continue, I can state the following as fact, without fear of contradiction: Not one image submitted to the competition by any competitor is in the “original” format. Every single image submitted to the competition has been modified using a computer program. Not one image submitted to the competition by any competitor fits the Oxford Dictionary definition of “untouched”. In the case of a professional photographer, the images are usually shot in RAW format and then downloaded to a separate computer for editing using advanced and purpose designed software (such as Adobe Photoshop). The editing process is carefully controlled and images are adjusted by the professional for maximum accuracy taking into account a myriad of factors (even to the extent of soft-proofing using the photo printing shop’s colour profiles for their printers). In the case of the most basic amateur, the camera is set to Auto mode with the picture quality set to JPEG. The button is pressed and the picture appears, which is then taken to the printing shop and printed, supposedly “untouched”. But even in this case there is plenty of “touching”. The conversion of the RAW information to the JPEG file format is done automatically according to a pre-selected set of criteria. Editing operations such as sharpening, contrast control and assignment of a colour profile happen whether the user is aware of it or not. Again when the JPEG image is taken to a print shop it is loaded onto their print software which automatically edits the image using correction software before printing. This happens with all print shops unless you specifically ask them not to correct your photos (most photo pros will have already done the corrections themselves and are aware they need to do this). If the existing rules of the competition are to be strictly applied then every single image submitted by every single entrant has to be discarded, including those taken by the complainant. Ultimately the problem that is highlighted by this complaint is that in the past people were aware that paintings where fanciful creations but photographs were expected to portray reality. However modern day photographs can be altered beyond recognition. So where should the line be drawn? A distinction needs to be drawn between image editing on the one hand and image manipulation on the other. Both are as old as photography itself, in the past having taken place largely in the darkroom with difficult to perform techniques. Nowadays with modern photo editing software the techniques are much easier to perform and are much more commonly done by even skilled amateurs. Image editing is usually taken to encompass aspects such as colour correction, exposure correction, contrast adjustment, sharpening etc, which in some instances take place automatically as has been mentioned. Image manipulation (or photoshopping as it is often called) is a much more explicit alteration of an image (for instance putting a different head on some person’s body) and generally encompasses aspects such as the adding or removing of portions of the image with the intention to change the content of the image. The resulting image may have little or no resemblance to the RAW image from which it originated. The ethics of photo manipulation are widely discussed and in some instances it is an acceptable art form. However it is frowned upon for most journalistic and documentary practices and I would consider that the Awards for Excellence Competition fall into this category. The National Press Photographers Association in the US has even gone so far as to set out a Code of Ethics promoting the accuracy of published images advising that photographers “do not manipulate images […] that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.” Most professional photographic competitions have a set of rules that are well documented and strictly applied, and although these differ from competition to competition, most share a common theme. Generally image editing is allowed and image manipulation is not (except in specific categories such as creative photoshopping). I would strongly suggest that the CMA follow a similar practice. Lastly it must also be remembered that the portrayal of so called reality has already been skewed before the shutter button on the camera was even pressed. The scene has already been edited by the photographer’s own interpretation and resulting choice of angle, lens, lens filters, lighting and composition. Often what is done to an image comes down to intent. Was the intent to mislead the judges or was the intent to produce an image that represents as closely as possible to the actual reality of the site? Is sweeping the paving on site before taking the photograph an alteration of reality? ---end--- As it turns out the competitor had not wanted to "waste" money on a photographer when he already had a perfectly good camera. He went to his sites and took the photos himself thereby saving a lot of money. And then could not understand why he didn't win! (and the photos were properly crap!) The competition organisers agreed with my response, upheld the results and rewrote the rule book with comprehensive digital guidelines for future entries. Regards Jean.
  14. Congrats Jeff on winning the OWU 2012 with this stunning image! Rgds Jean.
  15. After a week of south easter the Atlantic coastline of Cape Town is icy cold and crystal clean. On Sunday I took the opportunity to share the morning with a pod of playful dusky dolphins. Later on we moved into Hout Bay where the remnants of the mini sardine run are still being heavily predated on by the resident cape fur seal population. The water was dirty and heavily silted but there were some interesting photo opportunities. So far it's been a good week! Regards Jean.
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