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Everything posted by randapex

  1. I'm using two Inon Z220s. Hadn't given it much thought until this thread, but these things have been on 100's of dives and never missed a beat. I'd still like to try the Subtronics as I'm looking for a bit more power on the W/A shots. But the Inon's overall have been great. And they are small, light and I've done 3 successive dives on one set of 4 AA's. Rand
  2. Congrats Alex! Yes, scan that thing so we can all see it. 9/10 hmm. Well, they left you some room for improvement... Seriously though, good job. Rand
  3. Agree with Joe's suggestion on water conditions. The best sun ray shots are when you can actually see them clearly in the water. Those will really pop in the shot. Rand
  4. I tend to agree with Todd and Rocha's input. But perhaps still caution against feeling totally "Safe" when diving with them. I did see the Tigers grab the DM's fin but then also saw on of the Reef sharks grab at one of Todd's fins as well. The most uncomfortable part of our Tiger dives for me was a relativley small but antsy little Reef shark that kept approaching me quite quickly. As for diving in the evening with a Tiger, I've done that. And lived to tell the tale...Right Todd Rand
  5. My 2 cents... I've dove with Bubbles Below in Kauai for 4 years (pics from the last three are on my website if you want to see the usual suspects) and have really enjoyed the freedom to do my own dives as well as the intensive critter breifing before each dive. Pictures of likely subjects, (They are usually all there too) are gone over so you can arrange with Linda or her DM before submerging on what you'd like to shoot. Usually, I follow the group down, let them all have a look and then spend as much time as I'd like shooting. If I catch up later fine, if not...so you may be able to do your freediving photography off the boat. Lots of Turtles around so they'd be perfect subjects for you. Linda is also good about trying to get in the water ahead of the Whales that time of year. And hope they swim by. My freediving skills suck so when I was next to a mother and calf, I didn't get much in the way of photos. I've done shore dives at Koloa Landing. It's a nasty road down. You can park above, gear up and walk down. Not all that far to the water. There's a dive shop fairly close where you can rent a tank or two. Watch the surf as it can push you around a bit on entering/exiting. Go straight out until you're in about 20' of water, turn right, and start looking in the coral and large rocks. If you're lucky, you'll spot the beautiful Dragon Morays that hang out there. Rand
  6. I'll echo the above, never had Cathay weigh my carryon. Qantas did though, at the ticket counter. Charged me $100 and said it was too heavy for the overhead and made me check it as an extra bag. On the return, Qantas was going to charge me again, but this time I was ready, explained about it being loaded with camera gear and some other lies I'm too emabarrased to admit to here, they still made me check the bag but didn't charge me. In future, if I were with another person, I'd have them watch my carry on while I checked in and then get it back from them afterwards. Rand
  7. I'm sure like everyone, there are several shots I took this year that are favorites. Each with a story or mood that makes it a "special" shot. But, since this is such an expensive hobby, I'll go with the shot with the best ROI... Turks & Caicos, D2x w/ 105mm-2x TC & Woody's diopter. Rand
  8. Thanks for the compliment James But it was the Island of Niihau that I shot the Monk seals, it's a bit (Well, a lot) further north. 2 hrs. north of Kauaii. Where I've dove in Feb a few times and seeing the Humpback whales and hearing them underwater is really cool. Worth the dive just to hear them. Not sure if the Whales hang out there or not. As I've yet to make it to Lanai, but the Mauai dive ops run over there so it must be fairly good for them to do that. I've heard the lava tubes have holes in the top where the sun comes in, that's pretty cool. So, could be a great spot for sunbursts. Probably wouldn't pack all my dive gear for just a couple dives though. Rand
  9. Congrats Alex. That shot caught my eye in your gallery before. But maybe more so because it's the super macro stuff I like anyway. The shot is flush with color so it really catches the eye. As Mike mentioned, having part of the photo pinched in the middle of the mag is a bit distracting. But I've got experience carefully removing the staples so it will hang fairly flat on the wall. And while I'm at it, the BBC Wildlife portfolio arrived in my mail and your pics are very well represented there. A true feast for the eyes. Rand
  10. The new regs don't really bother me. I'm not much for diving anyplace where my freedom is restricted, whether it be bottom time, no diving without a buddy, bee swarm follow the DM dives etc. I read the distance rules as saying: "No macro photography". At least the kind I enjoy. I'll admit to using the 1 finger on the dead coral area but this isn't always allowed some other places too. They should do everything possible to protect the reefs and of course photographers as a group get a bad rap for roto tilling the reefs. Perhaps they see this as an opportunity to tighten rules that may not have been acceptable without the Hurricane damage. I can't imagaine a future announcement saying: "It's now Ok to grab the reef, dive with poor bouancy" or whatever. A premier dive site in Roatan, Mary's Place, was closed for several years due to damage. I wonder if they are as serious about allowing the reefs to recover in Cozumel? There are other places to dive. Rand
  11. I'd like to congratulate Chis for his shot in Rodales Scuba diving magazine. Full page too!! pg. 76 Lessons for life article.. WTG! Rand
  12. Thanks guys. My problem now will be contests that don't allow more than 5 published images a year.
  13. I wouldn't touch that offer with a 10' pole...(What's the name of the resort? ) Sounds like fair value to me as well. As James suggested, get it all in writing so there is no misunderstanding about their usage later. Rand
  14. This is a great thread. Thanks for starting it Larry. I'm going against the grain here I like the second one better. The fish looks soft in the first pic but has great detail in the second. Why this looks better to me is probably why every photo comp has differing results. Or maybe it's my monitor. OTOH, divingdiver2's does look oversaturated. Rand
  15. Thanks for the comments, especially the critique. I'm not sure how Rawshooter determines the white balance when opening a new raw file. But, as I wanted to get these to you "pure" so to speak, I didn't tweak them as then it would change the look. And I must admit to not white balancing underwater since I understand that it's done normally to shoot a specific angle with exact lighting. (I think). This filter reminds me of stacking macro lenses on the 5050, initial results weren't perfect, but I can see possiblities, once mastered, are really exciting. Rand
  16. Thanks Todd, guess I put everyone to sleep with this post...
  17. We had quite a successful trip to the Sea of Cortez, Whale sharks, Hammerheads (ok, I saw one way off ) and Sealions. My first dive with the Sealions was not the best as I'd not clicked my 10.5 all the way in and the AF wasn't working. The action was so hot and heavy, it didn't become apparent until after review on the laptop later. But my overall impression, fuzzy images aside, was the subjects lacked color, the baitfish were being blown out by the strobe and just a general feeling of taking "Point and shoot" pictures. So, a few days later, armed with Alex's Magic filter, we returned to Los Islotes (AKA: Sealion Colony) and gave the filter a try. Again with the 10.5. Although there are some methods to take the best of advantage of the filter, ie: White balance U/W, shoot level, with the sun to your back, this just wasn't always possible. The Sealions go where they will go and sometimes the best action was in the wrong direction. In any case, I felt the first try was, if not a total success, at a minimum, a vast improvement over my non-filtered shots. First, although not a controlled test, without the filter: And with: And for something a bit different, A Cormorant feeding on the baitfish. As you can see, these were all shot in very shallow water and the sun was very bright. Even so, in order to get good exposure, I was shooting arounf f8 @ 1/100 which is too slow for the darting Sealions. Not sure how many stops the filter costs you but next time, I'd up the ISO in order to go for a faster shutter. And as a matter of technique, would try harder to keep the sky out of the frame as it tends to give it a weird color cast at times. None of these images has been through PS other than to re-size. This is hard for me to post images that haven't been tweaked and sharpend. But you need to see the Raw images I think to really judge the results. Rand
  18. Jeez Dan, do you really have to cloud the issue with facts...
  19. Actually, the introduction of the d200 has made me happier with my D2x purchase. Had I not spent the extra money and gone with it, I'd probably now be upgrading to the D200. If in 8 or 9 months Nikon were to announce the D300 or whatever, (and I'm sure they will ) maybe a 13MP camera for $2000, I'd of course have to be upgrading to that as well. This of course would require a new housing too. So, in the end, I'd be spending about the same amount of money trying to stay "Up to Date" with the latestest and greatest. Maybe this is just me, and I can't speak for others. It just feels good to sit back and not have to be looking at an upgrade every year. Now, if I could just figure out how to make the flash pop up, I'm set... Rand
  20. For me, in the biggest picture, the best win would be against all comers. As Alex mentioned, the prestige associated with his wins elevates him to a level most of us can only dream about. If the contest is clear with the rules of entry, I've no problem with Pros entering at all. The organizers obviously set the income level in a manner that allows most if not the majority of U/W photographers who make money through their photography to enter. One contest (which shall remain namless ) Has the word amateur bolded, but then uses a relatively generous term to define a Pro. So, is their goal really to prevent Professionals from entering or just the creme de la creme? As an aside, I see the U.S. contests growing considerably over the next few years. Digital photography is exploding and a logical step for most of us, after learning the basics of U/W photography, is to enter these contest to test our skills against others. Perhaps the organizers will expand the categories to include specific levels of talent beyond Novice. I might suggest, for a start, a category for fat, bald guys... Rand
  21. Congrats to the winners. Beautiful shots this year. The D2x oversaturates images so that's my excuse
  22. Pretty slick Larry. I like the Lizard. Rand
  23. Todd pleaded with me to post these shots of him I'm not sure what you have in mind Eric but here's a couple:
  24. Lots of sharks! I really like the setup on the sharks near shore. That O/U with the hut in the background. Rand
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