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Ron Kruger

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Everything posted by Ron Kruger

  1. Cal, I am very impressed with our images, especially the black isolation. Are you doing this at night with only artificial light to illuminate the subject?
  2. That's a cool technique and results, Cal. So much of this sight is about which equipment to buy, but I really got something out of this and will try to apply a version of it to what I do. So far, I've been able to get reflections with ambiant light, and that simply depends upon the angle of the light.
  3. I am impressed to the maximum. In my opinion, there is no higher credibility that what you have accomplished, and I suspect one of the reasons you accomplished this is your passionate approch to the subject, both in pictures and words.
  4. I admire your humility, but that's hardly a humble beginning. Congrats.
  5. I've been selling photos for over three decades. A couple of years ago, I started posting on other sites about how digital technology is killing professional photography as we know it. I won't go into all the reasons and repeat myself, but when I post something about these day, I don't get all those rebutals and inuendos about quality. One thing posted that is not true, generally, is that professional photographers have better equipment. Most enthusiasts have better equipment than I, simply because I make my living from it and can't afford the latest and greatest auto-everything features. The most important part of why there's little distinction these days is all the sophisticated and accurate auto features. Simply put, you no longer need to know much about photography to get quality shots with a machine-gun, P&S approach. What we once called "idiot cameras" have become genius cameras. I do believe that the enthusiast threat to the bottom line that is so pervasive now above water is not as threatening under water, which is one of the reasons I got into submerged shooting last summer. Not everyone is carrying an underwater camera in their pocket or around their necks, or seriously pursuing underwater photography. It's still an esoteric pursuit. But if you think, as most beginner's do, that equipment makes all the difference, and that pros use only the very best, consider that I bought a $150 P&S last summer (the first P&S I've ever owned), just to play around with and investigate submerged lighting. I was so surprised by the IQ that I submitted some shots. Before the charge bill came due, I sold two inside and two covers from this 12 MP toy.
  6. I'm working on something similar now for photographing skittish fish in fresh water, with a frame to hold a compact underwater camera and a cable release. I have the basic system designed in a couple of different ways, but I have run into a problem with the mirror (to reflect the LCD image up for composition). My pariscopes are designed to be about four feet long, and at that distance, the image reflected in the mirror at the bottom is too small. Plan to try a magnifying mirror, but believe some type of lens will also have to be installed at the top. It's not as simple as I originally imagined.
  7. The greatly expanded DR of the K5 should be a real advantage for underwater photography, but the price of the housing is outrageous.
  8. I've done some testing with TCs recently. "Will work" is a broad term. If it will mount on your camera and lens, it will work, but whether you have metering and AF functions is another matter. IQ is another matter. Despite losing an f-stop or two, most TCs degrad IQ to varying degrees. What I've found is that the closer you can stay with manufactures the better the IQ and functions. Staying within the same generation lens/TC/camera helps as well. If you are shooting a Nikon, and IQ is important, buy a Nikon TC. Whether it works or not depends upon how critical you are of IQ. Good TCs cost about as much as a medium-range prime. Many see it is a cheap way to extend FL, but even with TCs, you get what you pay for, and I don't think any of them amount to the IQ of a telephoto of equal length to the lens/TC combination.
  9. Very interesting topic from a number of anlges, including the practical aspect of getting better shots. My experience and research is in fresh water, and while I suspect vision is similar between the environments, I not sure, because vision in aquatic creatures varies according to the depth they inhabit, the cover they utilize, etc. One aspect is how fish adjust from daylight to night vision and vise-versa by reversing rod cells and cone cells. It is a gradual process, and the best I've heard it explained is to compare what we experience when coming from a dark thearter into full sunlight. It hurts, but our eyes adjust in seconds. The same kind of thing takes three or four hours for fish. They don't have eyelids and can't squint. Because they live in envornoments where light is refracted and diffused quickly, they adjust to the light by changing depths or backing into shaded areas. Would this mean that, because their eyes adjust slowly to light, that sudden bursts of light effect their vision more, or less? At any rate, this indicated they are sensitive to dramatic changes in light intensities, and I would suspect sudden, intense light would have a blinding effect, often creating the "deer in the headlights" response. Whether it does any damage is debatable and open to true scientific research, but I doubt such a study is forthcomming, given the miniscule occurences. Might make a good doctural paper. I have noticed from documentaries that fish living in the dark environments of the ocean floor seem totally unbothered by the intnese light of filming. Cavefish seem uneffected as well. Sight-feeders and predators seem most effected. Nevertheless, I know for a fact that minnows are attracted by strong lights at night used by fishermen. Bugs are attracted to the light, minnows are attracted by the bugs and larger fish are attracted by the minnows. It would seem that if this intense, foreign light was hurtful or harmful, the minnows and larger fish would stay away. From my own photographic experiements, I've noticed they react less to a steady light than a strobe, but there is nothing controlled or scientific about my observations. I suspect steady light dissorients, or temporarily blinds, them more, which from a practical photographic perspective, give me more time and chances to get a good shot. There are so many variables, but one thing I know: light behaves differently under water and fish don't process light in the same way as we do.
  10. Anyone know about the Sealife 1200?
  11. Thanks Balrog. I should have been more clear. I've been shooting for four decades and understand the ring flash concept. My question concerns the quality and output of fiber optics in comparison to other sources. I'm also wondering if there is a difference in WB settings? Someone mentioned "diffused." Is fiber optic lighting an inherently more diffused than other light sources? Gobiodon: Your invention seems to work well for concentrating light for true macro, but appears to confined for close-up or UWA shots. I wonder if there would be a way to adjust the angle of aim or deflect light outward for more even for wider coverage as well: possibly a inflatable bladder under the end of the optical fibers that could be pumped up like a blood-pressure cup to alter the angle of illumination?
  12. Very interesting. I'm new to underwater photography, so excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what is the advantage to fiber optics over regular strobes or some form of consistent LED lighting?
  13. That's the best Energizer commercial I've seen. Great job.
  14. That is really great, and I'll bet it paid well too.
  15. Thanks Steve. The Black River, possibly the clearest river in the Ozarks, is close to me, and the Current River is less than an hour away. I don't think there are better waters anywhere for what I'm doing. It is the unusual perspective, or POV, that is selling. I'm sure others have tried, but I found out right away that you can't approach them as you might other species in other environments. You have to hunt them, set up and wait (patiently and quietly) for them to come back and act naturally. I'm used to that kind of thing. The longest lens I use for wildlife is 200mm. I also have plans, by the way, to attach live bait to the bottom of this rig to attract fish for very close portraits.
  16. I have only very rough prototypes at this point. Right now I'm trying to anticipate potential problems with a couple of designs and get as much input as possible. I have no ports to attach external flash, but I assume you are talking about triggering an external flash similar to using a slave. The problem with this, is I can't control when the flash activates on my P&S. I'm wanting to increase ambiant light with additional fill, even under bright conditions, similar to what I ususally do with fill-flash on bright days with my DSLR. Steady light seems the best way to accomplish that. My idea is to use a pair of strong LCD flashlights, mounted on each side of the camera rig. To waterproof them, and diffuse the light at the same time, my idea is to enclose them in shrink rap (I have one made for shrink-rapping meat). I figure two LCD flashlights will give me very strong illumination at the close ranges I expect to shoot. The shrink rap alone may not offer enough diffusion, but I can always rewrap them with altered diffusion pannels simply trimmed to shape and held in place by the shrink-rapping. Once I come up with a contraption that actually works, I'll take a picture of it and share it here, though I doubt many members will be interested. I'm not a diver (sinus problems), just a photographer, and I'm approaching this from the perspective of a wildlife photographer, not from the perspective of a diver who also swims with a camera for added fun. It's not a hobby with me. If what you are asking is a link to images I've sold, you can Google Ron Kruger and click on any link to Photoshelter. Then click on the link to the Smallmouth Stream Fishing gallery. Any underwater shot you see there was taken last summer simply hand-holding my W80 underwater and guessing at composition. (More can be found in my Panfish Fishing gallery.) The two I have sold for covers so far are #0636 and #0922. Those that I've sold for inside use, so far, are of a tadpole and frog eggs, plus #1071.
  17. Thanks Steve. I bought it for fun--and it is--plus it is proving profitable from a business perspective. Since the IQ (12 MP) is acceptable, I've chosen to work around its liabilities. One is that it doesn't shoot RAW, but the WB isn't a problem, probably because it isn't designed to go very deep, so the standard auto WB in Underwater Mode is fine. It has an auto flash, but it's not very good, so I'm considering additional lighting, not so much for WB, or even color, but to insure I can always shoot at the lowest ISO, which also has no manual overides. Even with my regular camera, I don't find the on-board flash acceptable and have a powerful external strobe, but even with it, I find a steady additional light source more effective (especially for metering) than flash, so I'm wanting to set up something similar for this. Last night I found the new Sea and Sea LED lighting system, and this is similar to what I'm trying to devise, but it is over $300. I can built one (probably a better one for my purposes) for less than $50. Photography is still fun for me, but it is a business, and it doesn't pay nearly as well as most suppose. Beside, part of the fun for me is overcoming limitations and in devising DIY contraptions. Sorry for the long posts, but I'm thinking way outside the box here, so some explination is needed. And thanks to Orka too. Because most of my shooting is within five feet deep, one of the first things I experiment with was lighting from the surface, but it was a lot of trouble (almost demanding an assistant) and didn't work very well, mostly because of refraction: lots of little shimmers and and dancing stray rays. Some of this was artful, but I'm shooting illustrations. The auto WB and color with this "toy" is fine, so colored filters are not needed, but I am considering experimenting with a polorizing filter--if I can get enough light on the subjects to maintain a low ISO. (Regardless the effective ISO range, everything--not just noise-- is better a lower ISOs, so that is what I aim for whether above or below water.) I've been shooting for a long time, so I know it's all about the light, and the reason I got into this with a cheap toy in the first place was to investigate underwater light, without a large initial investment, because I knew to begin with that it's a whole other world down there. The surprise was that I can actually get the job done well enough for cover quality with this toy.
  18. No deeper than four or five feet, Steve. Let me explain: I'm approaching this differently than normal. Instead of just swimming around looking for shots, similar to walking around with a camera in the park, I'm going where the fish want to go and setting up to wait motionless for them much the way I have photographed wildlife for a living. (I've been a professional for almost four decades.) Last summer I bought a cheap underwater P&S (the first P&S I've ever owned) just to play around and investigate underwater photography, but I was impressed with the quality and sent some pics out to magazines. Before the charge bill came due, I sold two inside shots and two covers. I spend quite some time sitting on submerged rocks, with my head just above water, holding the camera low and waiting. The water is shallow and the fish are skittish. You can't swim up to them like in the ocean. That's the first thing I tried. Anyway, I can't use conventional strobes, because my camera won't power them, so I'm improvising. The problem is, with the camera held below, I can't see the LCD. Composing is a difficult guessing game. So I'm devising a frame to hold the camera, with a mirror at the bottom to reflect the LCD image up to me through a pariscope and a cable to trigger the shutter. The frame I have devised could also be used to hold a couple of lights, which would serve as fill and also allow me to probe around under large rocks were big fish often hide. I never expected to use this P&S professionally, and figured I would upgrade to the kind of equipment most of you use if it worked at all in fresh water, but the quality is surprisingly adaquate. It is, in fact, the most profitable $150 I've ever spent. I can carry it in a pocket while wade-fishing, snorkeling or swimming.
  19. Thanks for the link, Balrog. It did address one of my concerns. I'll be using it in freshwater rivers, and although they are clear, often have considerable floatsom. My concern is the lights will emphasize and illuminate the closer particles. I won't be shooting at night, but using the lights for extra illumination, especially up under large rocks and on overcast days. Whether these fish will be attracted or repelled by the light remains to be seen. Sounds like people have had the best results with close and macro, which fits right in, because I want to use this rig for close, tight, WA shots. I figured I would mount two strong lights on each side of the camera to cut shadows and increase illumination, but I also figured I would diffuse the light to prevent hot spots. I might also consider using a polorizing filter, but I'm new to all this and don't really know if any of this will work, so I'd like to have some experienced input before building my contrapton.
  20. Anyone have experience with steady lighting for underwater shots? I'm thinking of watersealing and mounting strong flashlights on a rig I'm building, sort of like a portable underwater studio.
  21. No salt around here, but began playing around in rivers and streams.
  22. I've shot professionaly for decades and never owned a P&s, but I started playing around with a 12 MP underwater P&S in freshwater streams and rivers last summer and sold some shots from it right away. I bought it as a cheap way to investigate underwater light, figuring I would upgrade to a more professional quality underwater camera later, but I find the protability from this pocket camera a major advantage, and, surprisingly, the IQ is adaquate for reproduction. But I have two problems with it. The biggest is composing pictures. Using live-view on the LCD is akward enough in the first place (this is the first P&S I've owned), but when holding it underwater, I can't see it at all. I have to point and guess. An underwater P&S with a tilt/swivel LCD would be great, but I haven't come across one. The other is the shutter lag--very annoying--especially for fish swimming around. I suppose shutter lag is an unavoidable nature of the beast, although I understand some models have shorter lag, but if I could just find one with a tilt LCD, I'd be pleased. Any suggestions?
  23. I've been a professional outdoor photographer for decades. I started playing around with a 12 MP underwater P&S (Optio W80) in freshwater streams and rivers last summer and sold some shots from it right away. I bought it as a cheap way to investigate underwater light, figuring I would upgrade to a more professional quality underwater camera later, but I find the protability of this pocket camera a major advantage, and, surprisingly, the IQ is adaquate for reproduction. But I have two problems with it. The biggest is composing pictures. Using live-view on the LCD is akward enough in the first place (this is the first P&S I've owned), but when holding it underwater, I can't see it at all. I have to point and guess. I snorkle while using it, but most of the time I sit with my head above water, holding the camera under, waiting for something to swim into view. An underwater P&S with a tilt/swivel LCD would be great, but I haven't come across one. The other is the shutter lag--very annoying--especially for fish swimming around. I suppose shutter lag is an unavoidable nature of the beast, although I understand some models have shorter lag, but if I could just find one with a tilt LCD, I'd be pleased. Any suggestions?
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