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  1. Dave, I have used lemon pledge on the inside and outside of my acrylic domes and my resin grads for a few years now and it works great. No problem with yellowing or color cast. I spray it on a soft 100% cotton T-shirt apply it and then gently polish it off completely. It makes them nice, clear, shiny and dust free. No problem with changing the optical characteristics of the dome. Some folks use pledge on aircraft canopies where you might worry about photochemical problems but it seems to hold up. Alternatively ivory bar soap and warm water with a clean T-shirt to gently dry everything works perfect to get the dust out. Another thing is that I wash my hands to remove all oil before I put them inside the dome. I would really like to have Wagsy's deal to blow off the seals of my kit after I take it out of the rinse tank. Good hunting. vr Andy
  2. Thanks. I belong to the camera bag/box of the month club and have been very happy with pelican boxes but the Seahorse SE920D has internal dimensions that are 2 inches longer 2 inches wider and 1 inch deeper than my 1510, weighs almost 2 pounds less and prcied similarly and still can be carried on. I will have to check it out.
  3. I use a Pelican 1510 with center dividers removed and wraps as a roll on/carry on. It fits under the seat or in most overheads except for small commuter aircraft. If it has to be checked at the gate the pelican can handle being drop kicked into the bagage compartment. You can fit a housing and ports in the case but it would be pushing it to get two large strobes in as well. I carry my camera gear in this case and check my entire housing/strobe system in a single Pelican 1600 with center dividers removed and wraps in their place. The 1600 pelican goes in an extra large drab looking Eagle Creek Duffle with clothes and stuff on top. All the bag and cases get zip tied or locked. So far so good. Good luck.
  4. Red3, don’t take it so hard. A few years ago I attended a technical diver symposium and heard similar rants. The truth is underwater photography is a small and sometime entitled community like the tech diving community. After becoming the proud owner of a disastrous Aqua lens many years ago I spent some time on the phone from Hawaii to Canada with Aquatica employees who had purchased the company and were/are making a go of it and it helped me realize just how small the UW photography community is. I always thought that Aquatica had been a giant of the industry. Now I feel lucky that they are around at all. Making underwater housings is certainly more than having a foundry, lathe and milling machine at your disposal. I would argue especially in the US where master machinists aren't exactly growing on trees that you would not be likely to find many folks with the commitment toward underwater photography, but if you look around you will find a bigger selection of housings from all over the world than ever before that are better than anything in the past. For all their efforts none of the folks /companies I know of that make housings have their own Gulf Stream and a home in Malibu. I still take pleasure in being able to talk directly with housing manufacturers like Ikelite and get answers. Canon makes great gear and the 5D housings I have seen seem fairly decent and on the same level as my D2X housing. It’s only going to get better. In the mean time we have to baby our gear in an obsessive compulsive manner, expect occasional and expensive failures and take ergonomic improvements as we get them. Oh yes and then mortgage our homes. By-the-way I think the fastest most ergonomic camera set up ever made is the Nikonos III with old style 15mm lens and Sub Sea 150 strobe. I don’t know anyone that wants to go back to that though I personally miss the simplicity. At the end of the day serious underwater photography has always been a commitment that helps us appreciate those that do it really well. That's my rant and I am sticking to it. Vr Andy
  5. Neat Image and or Noise Ninja Nik Color Efex Pro Select Eddition Currently using Photoshop CS2
  6. Holger, I print the image the way I want it to look and then sometimes I cut my own mats to match the aspect ratio that I am left with. Usually its the aspect ratio of my camera. I also purchase in bulk mats that are custom cut for me from the Matshop in Canada. http://www.matshop.com/ The Matshop has a software tool the MAToMATic that will allow you to down load your own jpegs and view them set in a virtual mat and frame to help with color selection. They have fair prices, are courteous, professional and knowledgeable about their products. I think that how you choose or not to crop an image is critical and feel that having an aspect ratio that matches the camera is an important starting point. Learning to cut mats is not so hard and I would recommended giving it a try if your working with a low volume or interesting aspect ratio such as a panoramic. Just a thought. VR Andy
  7. Yes, but does it have GPS? You got me. vr Andy
  8. Thanks, I was unaware of my unawareness concerning TTL converters. Andy
  9. Do any of the TTL converters offer flash compensation control so that we can dial down the strobe? The D200 I use on land has that ability on board the camera to provide flash compensation control to the pop up flash or and external strobe for flash fill but the D2X I dive with does not because it was intended to be used with a Nikon SB800 that provides flash compensation adjustment controls on the flash itself. I think that TTL could be more useful if there is flash compensation control. I currently shoot with manual strobe control in all formats. Thanks. vr Andy
  10. James, How is the Benro carbon fiber tripod working out underwater? I have seen them compared favorably to Gitzo and your use is the absolute most extreme I can think of. My first knowledge of them was that they would pop up on ebay when I typed in Gitzo. B&H who I use and respect is now carrying them. What ball head do you use? Do you spend much time cleaning your set up after dunking them is salt water? I use two Gitzo carbon fiber tripods along with several Gitzo aluminum and can't convince myself to get them wet with a Kirk or Arca Swiss B1 ball head. If one is serious about setting up a shot underwater using a tripod it makes perfect sense to use your approach though my guess is that the stability and vibration dampening that carbon fiber is known for is less important than of the underwater utility of the particular apparatus. Any thoughts on using a Wimberly style gimbaled action head? Thanks. Andy
  11. Aloha Mathew, My wife and I own a wonderful home on Oahu and have been fortunate enough to live there until recently, beautiful land, beautiful ocean and beautiful people. On Oahu by late October the North Shore will be too unpredictable to plan a single day trip around. The south and west shores are usually better in fall and winter but conditions vary from day to day. If you were spending a week on one island I would always say read extensively and explore on your own. Hanama Bay on the south side was hard hit by a storm in February 2004 and its outer reefs in 40 feet were badly damaged but it remains a relatively safe and very crowded option. Rather than recommend one spot on Oahu I would say give a local operation an opportunity to help you. The outfit below is a little more expensive but I can vouch for the locations they go to on the Waianae side and they can gauge the day to day weather conditions better. I don't think you will be disappointed with the time and money you spend on them. They also list some other operators for price comparisons that you could check with. http://sailhawaii.com/ On Maui I would contact Mike Severens for advice on where to go. http://www.mikesevernsdiving.com/ Hawaii is my favorite island. John Hoover is a pleasant man and he knows the Big Island and can be contacted through his web site. http://www.hawaiisfishes.com/ Again if you were going to one island for a week I would say read extensively and explore on your own but given the nature of your trip and your schedule I would pay to be escorted. Books: Snorkel Hawaii The Big Island, Second Edition Diving & Snorkeling Hawaii, 2nd Edition - Scuba & Snorkel Diving Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Hawaii (Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Hawaii) The best books on Hawaii fish and invertebrates are written by John (Jack) Randall and John Hoover.
  12. Just to add an additional note. The general rule for autofocus is that you loose around a stop of light for teleconverters that have 1.4, 1.5 or 1.7 ratios and two stops of light for 2.0 (2X) converters. The cut off for most present day autofocus systems to work consistantly is an aperture of 5.6. So a 2X converter will autofocus reliably on a f2.8 lens but not an f4. The 1.4-1.7 converters work on f4 lenses but not very well if at all on a f4.5-5.6 zoom on full extension. Another reason to go with faster fixed focal length lens. Andy
  13. mtnman Most of the previously mentioned lenses including the 70-300 are fairy sharp at the borders if you stop down one or two stops to F8. The lens that goes between the 80-200 f2.8 and the 500mm f4 AFS is the Nikor 300mm f4 AFS. I own these three lenses and they shoot just fine wide open and with a converter stopped down. The 300mm f4 AFS is light and packs realtively well for very long hikes that I would not want to carry a 500mm on. The older non AFS version of the Nikor 300 f4 that I once owned is also very sharp and less expensive used. A zoom is always nice but for the best quality/price ratio when shooting wide open you might want to consider a prime. The 200-400 f4 VR that I would love to own some day is definitely more versitile but for the money I think you will be satisfied with a quality fixed focal length lens with a converter. On the flip side there are plenty of serious amateurs and pros who own and shoot with the 80-400 and Galen Rowell used a non vr nikor f 4.5-5.6 70-300 without complaints. Probably stopped down. His focus was more about making a compelling image than one that was technically perfect. The Sigma 100-300mm F/4.0 EX DG IF HSM looks like a high quailty alternative if your comfortable with third party lenses and want a zoom. What ever you choose I would spend atleast as much time worrying about how you will be stabilizing your camera and lens since the angle of view of a 300mm lens on a nikon digital camera is equvalent to 450mm. http://www.kgear.com/r/ goodluck and happy hunting, vr Andy
  14. James, These are two very different exposures to me. Both remind me of the Flower Garden Banks. Somewhat more homogeneous exposure and tonality on the first image. On the second image I am not sure if I am looking at subtle frame transitions because you are in Av or natural sun rays. Neither image has a strong point of interest since the reef has no distinctive qualities in either and the diver does not stand out in the first. I like the overall color, contrast and the peaceful composition of the second image better. The second image is warmer and has less cyan in the sun burst and I prefer that. Did you control white balance on either of these or shoot in auto white balance? Tripods, nodal points and pano heads don't work as well underwater or inside the dome port but you certainly lined everything up and I respect your effort. Thanks for letting me comment. Andy
  15. Luiz, The gentleman in the photograph looks like Carl Myer? vr Andy
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