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Everything posted by troporobo

  1. I haven’t been diving in the sound since I first learned in Edmonds over 30 years ago. I have had the good fortune to live in the tropics for all of that time. Now I am struggling to imagine gearing up for cold water and will likely travel to dive. Knowing the limited vis around here, I’d probably focus on macro opportunities, either traditional or CFWA. A friend up here shoots with a fisheye and compact dome and gets very good results up close.
  2. Het Matt, welcome! I share a lot of background with you as a Seattle native (now living north of you in the islands), former mountaineer, and one-time honeymooner in Cozumel. I also now do more landscape and wildlife photography than UW, as the waters around here are less inviting than in the tropics. A word of advice if I may. The ambition and enthusiasm are understandable but that is a recipe for mediocrity in the short term. You’ll progress faster and make better images if you concentrate each dive on one aspect. For a bucket list trip, sure, take the whole arsenal if you can, but try to get an idea of the highlights of a given dive in advance then rig and search accordingly. You will inevitably see things you can’t shoot well, but you will get much better shots of subjects that you’ve optimized for. Good luck and have fun!
  3. The biggest change for me was learning “macro vision”. By that I mean diving for only that purpose, and not sightseeing in general and looking for bigger subjects at the same time (while of course maintaining situational awareness and buddy contact). Second was learning to look for habitat first - bubble coral hides porcelain crabs, certain algaes harbor certain tiny nudis, the right anemone is home to particular shrimp, etc. It helps invaluably to begin learning from experienced spotters too!
  4. Anilao fits your style of diving perfectly. All resorts have direct access right off the beach and you can dive 4x per day if you’re keen. Those that are photographer friendly include Crystal Blue, Aiyanar, Buceo, Club Oceallaris, and a few others. Bohol is not as convenient but has equally good diving.
  5. You can ask resorts to bring in your preferred spotter, but I guess that you’d have to pay separately for them rather than substitute for one of the crew they hire. It’s certainly worth a try.
  6. SineTwo: That is going to be a tight budget for Anilao but it can be done. First do your calculations based on total cost. Food is normally included in the room rate as there are no other options, and diving might be cheaper than you think, as most places charge USD 50-60 per person per dive and some charge a bit less. Resorts on the budget end of the spectrum include Arthur’s Place, Anilao Beach Club, Anilao Scuba Dive Center, Philpan, Planet Dive, maybe Eagle Point. All are very close to dive sites. The first five are small, Eagle Point is huge. Quality varies a lot so look online for photos and reviews. From this list I’d choose Arthur’s, ABC, or Planet. Depending on how many people will be on your trip, ask about group rooms, as some places work out to cost much less that way. All of them contract with freelance boat operators, none have their own - this is standard practice in Anilao, and I rarely had a very good spotter. Tim: I’m still very glad Bruce’s worked out for you! You might be interested to know that they’ve recently completed a big post-pandemic refresh and renovation. I’d love to go back myself.
  7. Agreed, it’s a terrific video! The opening time lapse of rotating ice at sunrise is inspired. The humpback at the end is very cool too. I question the sense of the woman swimming though! (Just kidding).
  8. Thanks for such a comprehensive survey Elias and Tim and Alex! This topic arises so often that this list should be pinned to the top of the techniques section. For those beginners with shorter attention spans, online articles can be useful to explain the basics. I found the following sites to contain very useful resources. I’m sure that there are others. http://www.divephotoguide.com/underwater-photography-techniques/ https://www.opticaloceansales.com/handbooks-basics-of-better-uw-photos-en.html http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/  http://www.underwaterphotography.com/
  9. Agreed, the masking feature is uncannily good. I’ve also gotten into Topaz Sharpen AI, used very sparingly on subjects only. I’m now going back to images that I was previously happy with and re-editing them!
  10. Those are beautiful, and quite common around Anilao. I miss seeing them!
  11. I would love to know the specific site where that nudi was found. I’ve been on every site around Anilao for dozens of dives over the years - with a skilled spotter - and never seen one! Then again, I’ve perhaps passed right by thinking it was some trash or something decomposing.
  12. What a fantastic idea! I would not have thought to try such an experiment. Agreed, it’s quite a good performer in this situation. I’d be very interested to hear about how you mounted it and see a photo of the setup.
  13. Tubbataha is one of my favorite dive trips ever. I was on the Eco Explorer for its last trip before it ran aground there, and I think it has since been retired. What boat / operator were you with, and would you recommend them?
  14. These are some great shots. I love the frog fish composition and color contrast. All the macro images are squarely in my preferences. It looks like a target rich environment for sure, and maybe some skilled spotters to help. Thanks for sharing.
  15. Very nice. I especially like the color grading under ambient lighting, very natural. I also liked all the above water scenes. They brought back many fond memories of our 4 years in Fiji. Still our favorite place we’ve ever lived! Thanks for sharing.
  16. No shame in that. Crop ‘em if you’ve got the resolution!
  17. I’m with the majority here, composition first, lighting second, technical brilliance matters but doesn’t rule an image in our out of contention. I am 100% sure that higher education does not necessarily lead to enhanced appreciation of an image. (Full disclosure: I am also a doctor of philosophy in a technical discipline, aka “piled higher and deeper”). I’ve always liked this diagram as an explanation.
  18. That’s an awesome image. Amazing DOF for what looks like a very close macro shot.
  19. Great video. I din not appreciate how close the mantas are on these dives. How wide a lens were you using? It looks like an even wider FOV would have been useful. I’m sure it’s a wonderful experience, but jeez, how many divers were in the water?!
  20. Thanks for sharing. You’ve got lots of nice images. I haven’t handled the Nauticam housing for the OM-1 yet but it looks like they’ve changed the thumb trigger for back button focus. I absolutely love the ergonomics for that on the EM-1 mk II housing and wish for a similar thumb trigger on land! I have recently started experimenting with the Topaz AI suite and so far am finding lots of positives and a few negatives. DeNoise is amazing, always. Sharpen can be great but also can do some weird things that look like fringes of chromatic aberration. I have a few images that I cannot process well for that reason no matter the profile. Some of your images seem to show that aspect too. If anyone knows the secret sauce please share!
  21. I’ve got a single M67 flip holder, NA-25103, in very good condition with the original box, that I no longer use, if you decide to go that route. It’s in the USA.
  22. Adam - The Bigblue VTL2600p has your specs, with the added advantage of higher output so it can serve as a backup or even primary torch. The VTL4200p has even more output and could serve for macro video. However they’ve changed to 36250 batteries so that’s an unnecessary complication.
  23. Bigblue offers several lights that come close to those specs. They are one of the few that offer an adjustable beam angle. I’ve used several of their models for years and been very happy with their performance and rugged build. Not a budget purchase, but they’ve lasted almost forever. https://bigbluedivelights.com/product-category/photo-video-lights/
  24. Indeed, that is a spectacular image! Inward lighting perhaps?
  25. I am going to have to disagree with you on that point. I really like the 60mm with a SubSee +5 diopter for super macro shots. The working distance does become very close, perhaps 50mm from the port glass, but still possible to light a subject with good technique. That lens with a +10 diopter, however, was next to impossible. Here are two examples - the pygmy was about 10mm tall, and the anemone fish eggs were probably less that half that size. Both shot with the +5 diopter. (Note these are compressed and fuzzy - the raw files are super sharp.) Then with a flip adapter, I swing the diopter out of the way and capture larger subjects like nudis, moray portraits, mantis shrimp, ocellaris, etc. As for the AF, on an E-M1 mk II it was plenty fast and good enough to use CF+tracking. I probably take the 60mm plus diopter on 90% of my dives.
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