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Everything posted by randapex

  1. Thanks Marli! Yea, they called the cute one a frogfish or a toadfish. Just local names so I put the frogfish down and called it good. Only one I saw and wouldn't trade it for the Whaleshark. He was high on my list. Rand
  2. Hi wagsy- Great stuff. I just jumped around a bit on your site. Lots of info and great photos there. I'll come back and take more time with it as there's lots of information there. Thanks for sharing it. Rand
  3. Thanks James- Guess you can say I played it safe this time. Didn't really do much with DOF and with the shutter issue, no chance to play with rear curtain or blue water backgrounds. The cleaning stations are frustrating at times. The fish will dart off before even one shot at times. The Goatfish had its' butt toward me for quite a while. Finally it turned. And yes, Alex took one of the less attractive subjects and just nailed it. It's a beauty. Overall size on the D2x Subal isn't too much bigger VS the D70. Once under and shooting, you kind of forget about it. It's a bit heavier, still can one hand it for a bit but I found myself putting my left forearm under the housing to help support the weight at times. The viewfinder was the most notable improvement on a consistant basis. Looking through and seeing a somewhat brighter subject is a plus. The magnified viewfinder will help with the compostition issues I had at first. Took me a while to figure out to use the center square as a reference point. And the magnified viewfinder stands off the housing back several more inches. I'll be able to get my mask up to it without hitting my regulator. That should allow me to see the whole viewing area. Rand
  4. Thanks for the comments everyone. Editing: Everything was shot in Raw and converted to Tiff files using RawShooter. The program was downloaded on my way out the door to Australia, so, along with the new camera and housing, I added another layer to the learning curve. The color space is sRGB. I'm not really up on this type of thing so perhaps something isn't right. It would help if those that see the pics as too dark, would look at my other galleries and let me know how the Ningaloo one compares. I edit on a Toshiba Tecra laptop that does indeed have an extremely bright screen. I've run into the issue of seeing edited shots a bit darker than I desire when viewing them on my office PC. In any case, they can be adjusted brighter and I'll keep that in mind when my next trip photos go on my site. Saturation: When Alex posted his first D2x shots, they looked a bit oversaturated to me also. Saturation can of course be tweaked in PS but, it may be that we are seeing colors that were muted somewhat by other cameras and now are coming through much more deeply saturated than imagined. Not sure on that. Haven't printed anything out yet. That will give me a better idea of final output. Alex: Yes, there are lots of critters on the Reef there. Part of my motivation for going was the cleaning activity shots alcina has posted. For every shot you see of cleaners, I blew two. A patient person would have come back with much more. In fact, as I look back on it, there was more activity there than anyplace I've ever dove. This is without seeing the Whalesharks and Mantas that were there but due to the things that sometimes happen on dive trips, weren't photographed. In Australia, they call Frogfish, Anglerfish. And the one that is labled a Frogfish, reminds me of those Toadfish you see in Cozumel. Just used the names that they called them there. I'll look into the Wobegone and see why it's not loading. Karl, in general, a brighter view finder and larger LCD screen are the two things I've noticed most. In even darker water, I could see well enough for critical focus using MF. My light died on the third dive one day and instead of replacing it with my backup light, was able to see well enough to continue shooting. I'm determined to try AF more in PNG. I'm sure it's faster and better in low light than the D70 but my experience is limited. As for the other 1/2 of the experience, editing: better color saturation, finer detail and of course larger files allow cropping without as much pixelating when enlarged. The images look so much better full screen. It's not reliable to judge these images reduced in size for the web. Thanks again. Rand
  5. Great gallery Mike, so many great Manta shots. The short DOF shot of the small yellow fish (gobie?) is wonderful. What a great way to shoot that. Also liked the tight frame of the first Lionfish. Nice work. Rand
  6. I've gotten my pics up on my website for review and comment. Pretty happy overall but I'm thinking(hoping ) that I'll improve some next trip out. I'll have my magnified eyepiece installed so I can see the whole view through my viewfinder. With the stock one, my reg would hit the back of the housing preventing me from really seeing the whole frame. Greenwater Images BTW all images shot with the 105mm. Some of the Nudi and critter close-ups with the Woody's diopter. Shutter on all images: 1/250 as my shutter control would not work properly. Any shot with cleaner interaction was @ f22 for the most part.
  7. The two flounders pic is un-believable! Thanks, that shot brought me out of my funk on my feeble efforts. Just an amazing capture. Rand
  8. Inspiring shots guys. Eric, your website report is really great. I'm too getting excited by the prospect of diving with these sharks. Thanks for putting it together. I'm sure it's a lot of work. I did have a question on the Subal housing. You said there was an issue with it and was wondering if you'd share the problem and solution. Migh help me in the future. Rand
  9. James, been out of town as you know and didn't see it pop up on the search. If you can point me to it, I'll add my congrats there and delete my post. Rand
  10. Congrats to my buddy Todd Mintz for being selected as Inon's artist of the month. Great shots Todd! Inon site Rand
  11. Yes, 105mm for everything. I was aware of the numerous cleaning stations that seem to be everywhere. My goal was to shoot those types of behavior shots and the 105 gave me the extra working distance needed to keep from scaring off the fish. I did lose some detail I suppose, but the trade off for getting the shots was worth it to me. The Eels in particular were very shy and would retreat inside their holes if you got too close. I'd have loved to try the 60 but didn't want to chance it. When I did find a static subject, I'd put the Woody's diopter on to reduce the focus distance on Nudis and Frogfish. Rand
  12. Great info thanks. I'm the first to admit a lack of understanding of the AF focus settings. I'll use the pathetic defense that I didn't really have much time, less than a week, to use the camera before leaving to dive. My guess is, as time goes by, we'll find the optimum settings for the different shooting scenerios. I'm planning on using the AF in the Bahamas on my turn at the sharks and dolphins so hopefully by then, I'll have a better idea of settings. Also, I'd like to make clear that I had no issues with "fuzzy" focus. Just not a lock on the area of my choosing. I'm attaching a shot for illustration. Note the very shallow DOF. I wanted to make sure the eyes were the focus point.
  13. Alex, now that my mind is coming back into focus after all the flying, let me expand a bit on the AF issue. The main difference to me is the subjects we were shooting. I was trying to get macro shots of Eels with shrimp on them. The AF would lock on, but not always on the area of focus I wanted for that type of shot. Ie: the nose of the Eel and not the eye. Or maybe grab the shrimps body and leave the eel out of focus. There was no real time to be re-framing the subject in the viewfinder after focus lock. The shrimp would jump on and off so fast, it just couldn't be done. The pic of the Longnose Hawkfish above, was shot with AF. Obviously, there's nothing wrong with that shots focus. Like your beautiful well captured courtship photo, there is some subject to lens distance as well as more of a profile that lends itself to better focus/DOF. (IMHO). Also, there's a lot for me to learn as well in this area. I feel there is a place for both modes, and as you know, it's easy enough to flip back and forth. I shot AF the first day, had some focus issues and switched to MF for the rest of the trip. But again, my problem wasn't poor focus, just not where I wanted it. Oh, and by the way.....
  14. Thanks Mike. No, not Gates. Just a guy who works and plays hard. BTW, congrats on the nice article in Shark Diver this month. I thought the name was familiar. Rand
  15. Thanks guys. I didn't mean to imply a full review of the D2x. I'm not that knowledgeable about the Dslrs to say this is better or worse than another. I can compare it to the D70 as being a bit heavier. But the viewfinder is larger and bright enough to frame subjects in decent lighting without a light. Frankly, I need more experience with it as well to gain some better knowledge of using it to full potential. The file sizes are huge but I found them still manageable on my laptop. With 512 mb of Ram, it took a bit of time to process them but it wasn't horrible. I used Rawshooter to do the basic adjustments and then converted them to Tiff for PS work. My first step after shooting was to review the shots in camera before downloading. Deleting obvious problem shots. Then I'd load them into Raw shooter and inspect the thumbs which load pretty fast. Do a second round of culling. I've gotten pretty brutal at this by the way. After 3 days, I got the dreaded disk full message (20gig HD) so I burnt folders to CD and deleted them to free up more space. I usually could make a full week without that but obviously, no more. James, there are no 10.5 shots on this trip. The Mantas were not in yet and I didn't get to see a whale shark. The day I did the boat that goes out to look for them, none were spotted. They put a plane up to look for them. Of course, they were seen the day before and the day after my charter. Guess it wasn't my time for that. On the day I'd planned to visit Coral bay and dive the Reef shark cleaning station, they had boat problems so I didn't go down. There are definitely W/A shots to be had there. Just not knowing until I'd descended that the water was full of bait and predators was a pisser and I missed my trusty 5050 and dome port. My main motivation for diving there was the variety of critters that alcina has posted on DDN. She and her Husband own the dive shop in Exmouth as well as an operation in Coral Bay. She'd posted some great cleaning station shots and a huge variety of Nudibranchs too. I'd also hoped to be diving with the Whale sharks but I was a few weeks early. The Season runs more late April through August. The reefs there are alive with action. I've never seen so much going on. Huge schools of bait fish. Large game fish and Potato Cod darting through the schools and scattering millions of small fish was mesmerizing. I'd say without a doubt, the best video location you could hope for. Cleaning stations all over. Eels with shrimp, wrasse on fish of every variety. I was not dissapointed at all to miss the big stuff. As you know, I've got the Bahamas trip coming up in June as well as Kauai in July to work with the W/A so I'm content with getting my rig broken in on Macro. I'm heading to PNG the first of May so as you say, there are some other places to dive. I'll get to them all eventually. Rand
  16. I'm still processing (And trying to recover) from my trip to Ningaloo reef in WA. But I wanted to post a couple pics and a little feedback on the camera. My experience seems a bit different from what Alex seems to be having. The AF, while fast and working well in low light, didn't get focus where I wanted it at times. Especially the shots with fish being cleaned or Eels with shrimp on their faces. Maybe it's because of the ongoing action that needs to be caught at the peak that I felt MF was much more reliable. Or maybe it's a matter of practice but it was easier for me to use the MF and I ended up much happier with the focus points. Also, I had trouble framing because my reg hit the back of the housing before my eye could get close enough to see the full image in the viewfinder. Not a huge problem as the files are so big, some cropping has very little effect on the final image. I didn't have a chance to get the magnified eyepiece installed before I left so I'm sure once it's on, this issue will go away as it stands off the housing several inches. As for the camera itself, several things stand out. The larger LCD really helps, the rendition of color is really improved. Hard to explain, they seem somewhat more opaque. Like you can see through them in certain shots. Plus, the graduation of color hues on things like Nudibranchs really jumps out. And even framing without the magnified eyepiece was bright in lower ambient light than you'd expect. Was happy with the diving there and the immense number of critters. I posted a few more shots over on DDN.
  17. I'll see your Grand Cayman and raise a Ningaloo Reef . I'm off thursday for W.A. Congratulations on a stunning portfolio Alex. You really mined the features of the sand and the effects of light on it. The B/W ray with the round shadow under is my favorite. Have a great time. Rand
  18. I'd like to see exif as well. The DOF on the first one is so good that I'm guessing high f stop as well. Otherwise, maybe a camera repair issue? Rand
  19. Thank you Alex, for that nice introduction.. Although I've taken a bazillion sun shots, it seems the more I do it, the more I realize how hard it is to get a nice one. There are so many factors at work, sea conditions, cloud cover, depth, sun angle. Each shot has its' own unique issues of exposure. Tilt the camera 10 degrees, and it all changes. What was at first an attempt to shoot a shark with a sun ball in the corner of the frame, might, by good fortune, evolve quickly into a silhouette of the shark right in the sun and requires a different exposure. So you better have your thumb on that shutter dial ready to jump. Basically, I see four types of shots that maybe we can call: (All shots with the 10.5 FE except the 5050 shot which was with the Inon Dome) Sun ball out of the frame: perhaps the easiest to expose (D70 f10 @ 1/400): Sunball obscured: a nifty trick to get rid of the ugly white ball in the center (D70 f7.1 @ 1/320): Sunball obscured with rays: same as above but due to conditions (mainly shallow), a more appealing shot in my view (Oly 5050 f 6.3 @ 1/1000): And finally, an un-obscured sun ball: the first one is at 100' (30m) D70 f7.1 @ 1/320 The second is fairly shallow and reflects the need for a fast shutter to control the sun ball but at the same time causes what I consider an unattractive darkness around the edges. (D70 f8 @ 1/2500) I'd like to say: "In conclusion" but I've really nothing to conclude at this point. Other than to say, I believe the digital format treats the sun a bit differently than film (DUh!) but in the end, may be capable of a more dramatic effect. So help me prove that! Rand
  20. Thanks Alex for taking the time to post this information and photos. Using all the lenses and ports really helps too. The cleaner shot is a monster. I'd love to see a cropped for detail 16x20 of that one. Wow. Rand
  21. Thanks James, As this is a pro-level camera, I may run into the Peter principal...LOL! You also bring up a point on trade in value. When you buy the higher end housings, it's not like the money is gone, a good portion comes back when it's time to sell. (Especially if you upgrade every 6 months ) Rand
  22. Hi Karl, Ryan at Reef Photo is taking it back on trade. Rand
  23. Paul/Kasey, I downloaded Rawshooter last night. Since Nikon and Adobe are still in a pissing contest, figured I'd try some of the other Raw converters out there. Anyway, still just playing with it but based on opinions by others more knowledgeable about such things, it seems very fast and more flexible than the Nikon software. Even loading thumbs quicker than ACR. Here's a link to the free trial: Rawshooter BTW Paul, praying that all things come together in time, I'm on track to get mine wet in two weeks in Exmouth. Rand
  24. Guess I need to look at these other housings a little closer. I'm not sure what a comparison would be. My observations from using the Subal: The tray is small and not enough of an impact for me to remove it from the camera body. Plus, the camera rests in an upright position when out of the housing for what that's worth. I'm surprised to hear though that people think the tray adds size. I've seen most of the other D70 housings, (not Seacam though) and none of them are smaller than the Subal. I've put a 2x TC on the end of my 105 and it's rock steady in the housing. As the rails the tray rides on are nicely machined and very sturdy. Everything aligns perfectly when mounted. So, I've no real complaints and find it easy enough to change cards, batteries or download with the camera slid back just a few inches out of the housing. Rand
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