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jmiller last won the day on April 25 2019

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About jmiller

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    Sea Nettle

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    United States
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    Canon 5d Mark II
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  1. Thank you very much. We dove in Edithburgh (about 3 hour drive) and rapid bay (about an hour drive). Adelaide was my home base for the trip. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  2. Thanks Brandon, was a great experience for sure. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  3. I recently traveled to South Australia to capture photos of the rare Pyjama Squid and Leafy Seadragon. The trip down under did not disappoint. "The Diving" The diving was in Australia's summer time so the water was between 68-70 degrees. The week before I arrived it was 120 degrees. However, the week I arrived it was 68 and windy. Fortunately for me I packed (6) pairs of shorts and (6) t-shirts (insert sarcasm). We did (6) dives at Edithburgh Pier, including (2) night dives, (2) dives at "The Bluff", (1) dive at Noarlunga Pier, and (1) dive at Rapid Bay. All dives were around 30' max depth and 60-90 minutes long. The Edithburgh dives were amazing, viz varied and the site was similar to our hometown waters of Redondo. Morning dives were dead, and life picked up throughout the day. The night dives were absolutely amazing (see below). The Bluff was a very tough dive, but it was the only place with Leafy Seadragons. Dives at the bluff required a long surface swim, it was very turbulent, and a ton of surge. The visibility there was about 5-10 feet too. However, we did find a few LSD (about 10 total), but they were very tough to photograph. However, I manage a few good shots. The two dives at Noarlunga and Rapid Bay were absolutely beautiful. Sunny, warm, and excellent viz. Not as critter friendly, but still beautiful. Here are a few shots before I get to "The Dive". Pygmy Squid, this is recent discovery and is extremely tiny. About the size of a popcorn kernel. “The Dive” (For this dive recap, I actually mapped my shots (by looking at the time taken) to the dive computer. Behind each photo, the minute of the dive is displayed.) There are times in life where the stars align, everything works out, and the scuba gods bless you with a dive to remember. After traveling for more than (2) days, I was finally at the Edithburgh Pier getting ready for our first night dive. We dove earlier that day and it was great. I got to see some very cool critters, but they were skittish and were not ready to come out under the bright Southern Australia sun. As we slipped under the turbulent water, the action started immediately. About 2-3 feet down, Daniel signaled me. I swam over and saw a really cool nudibranch in the water column. I tried to steady my camera rig, but I was simply not ready to shoot. I was a little disappointed and thought, hopefully I don’t get skunked on this dive. As we descended to about 11 feet, we spotted a very active Southern Sand Octopus. These octos are extremely active and dart around the eelgrass. In addition to the playfulness, the sand fleas were out in mass numbers (especially in the shallows), which made macro photography even more challenging. I managed a couple shots and decided to move a bit further down the pier. As I hit the first piling, we spotted our first of many Southern Blue Ringed Octopus. I had only seen one in the Phillipines, so to see the southern version was a huge treat. Just 10 minutes into the dive and still at 11 feet in depth a Maori Octopus darted towards me. This octo was also extremely active and hunting in the shallow waters. Since I had my macro lens, I could only manage an eyeball shot of this large octopus. Although they are not as big as the Giant Pacific Octopus, they are pretty good size. After this brief encounter, I decided I needed to start down the pier. However, I spotted two more BRO, and decided to capture a few more shots before heading down the pier. Still at 11 feet and 15 minutes in we encountered Nudibranch, Southern Sand Octopus, (3) Blue Ringed Octopus, and a Maori Octopus. Off to a great start. As I continued to scan the rubble and rocks for more treasures, I spotted something in the water column, a sea spider! My heart raced a bit and I lined up for a couple shots. I squeezed off about (4) shots before the spider curled up and decided to play “invisible”. As I turned to continue down the pier, I spotted (4) Southern Calamari Squid dancing around, just outside my light. I patiently waited for an opportunity and captured a couple of nice images of these amazing critters. Daniel, noticed me shooting the squid and waited for a chance to point out a juvenile giant cuttlefish. It was really cute, hovering over some rubble, flaring up its tentacles as a defense gesture. Right next to the cuttlefish, was a beautiful decorator crab. Snap, snao, snap! I was in the zone. Out of the corner of my eye, Daniel gave me another quick flash and pointed out (3) Pot-belly Seahorses. I spent the next 5 minutes with them and was only 30 minutes into my dive and now 14 feet deep. The next encounter would come at the :33 minute mark. Yes, a 3 minute break in the action. We found (2) really cool bottom dwelling fish. I need to get an ID on these fish, but they reminded me of my home town Buffalo Sculpin. I took a few shots and ventured down the pier. At this time, I started thinking “I have not seen the infamous Pyjama Squid, I hope I see one.” Around the 40-minute mark at a depth of 25’ Daniel pointed out a Skeleton Shrimp. I did the best I could, it was tiny. Later he told me “I’ve never seen that kind before.’ The Skeleton Shrimp forced me to look small, and thank goodness I did. A jellyfish in the water column, followed by a tiny nudibranch, and an extremely small bobtail squid. As I checked my air and gauges, 45 minutes, at 25’, and I still had a ton of air. The next 15 minutes were the quietest of the dive and we encountered a large Bobtail Squid, a Stingray, a Southern Keeled Octopus, a South Australia Catfish, (2) Giant Cuttlefish, and (2) Nudibranchs (one on eggs). In that 15 minute span the large Bobtail squid was amazing. The coloration was similar to the Puget Sound Stubby Squid, but it had a bit more blue coloring. We were now an hour into the dive and toward the end of the pier, so we decided to head back. Still no Pyjama Squid and we are at the 60 minute mark. As we turned to head back we found a really neat looking Ringback Pipefish. It was camouflaged so well and was really difficult to photograph. I managed a couple shots before moving to the next critter. Shortly after the pipefish, another treat in the water column. This time a sea slug wiggling around and floating by for a photo opportunity. Every kick seemed to churn up another photo opportunity, a cool Anemone, several BRO, Nudobranch, Then wow, another species of octopus, this time a Southern White-Spotted Octopus. Although this one was also hunting, it was a bit more docile than the other (4) octopus I encountered during this dive. As we hit 75 minutes and 15 feet, still no Pyjama Squid. I was starting to think. “How could this amazing dive end with no Pyjama Squid? Oh well, still had a great dive.” Daniel found a nice little Squat Lobster to take my mind off the lack of Pyjama Squid. After a few more kicks, boom! A Pyjama Squid at the 77 minute mark in 15 feet of water. After about 5-6 shots I could tell the squid was agitated from my flashes and bright lights, so I moved on. Another Pyjama Squid, this time a little smaller. Excited, I positioned for a few more shots of this amazing critter. After several photos, Daniel signaled again, a really large cuttlefish. I swam over and took a couple shots, but wanted more Pyjama Squid photos. I encountered another Pyjama Squid and Cuttlefish. At the 84 minute mark, I decided to head back up as I was getting a little chilled. However, Edithburgh was not finished delvering. A Southern Velvetfish, curled up and ready for photos sat in 12 feet of water waiting for me. (2) more BRO and (2) more Pyjama Squid. Edithburgh kept the magic going. As we headed toward the ladder to exit, the dive ended with a Coffin Ray (or Numbfish) swimming right under me. I managed one shot and later found out these electric rays can deliver 220 volt shock! As we drove to the caravan park, we recounted to night. Daniel even said, that was amazing, about the best Edithburgh can deliver. Over the 92 minutes, I averaged about 1 photo per minute and we had roughly (50) unique critter encounters. I barely slept that night, dreaming about the barrage of cool critters. What an amazing dive and trip.
  4. Hello, I have sold high-prints. I take custom orders only though, so I can monitor the quality. Feel free to review my site: www.jessemillerphotography.com
  5. Hello, I’m upgrading my Ikelite housing from the old clear housing to the new white housing. I’m also going from a 5d Mark II to a 5d Mark IV. With my old housing I could manually adjust the strobe power at the back of the housing. With the new housing I cannot find info on adjusting strobes from the housing. Does anyone know how to manually adjust strobe power with the new Ikelite housing? Thanks for your help. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. It is Tompotika Dive Lodge. It is in a small village in Central Sulawesi. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  7. Thanks DH, appreciate it. Yeah, that little critter is a plump one for sure :-) The red/black fish is actually a tasseled scorpionfish. I removed one of my strobes and handheld it on the opposite side of the fish. It was very challenging to capture that photo for sure.
  8. As I packed, checked my list, and re-packed for my upcoming trip to Tompotika, (Central Sulawesi, Indonesia) I could not ignore the mild sense of anxiety I was feeling. It was a good anxiety, but still it was anxiety. Perhaps it was because I was trying a new packing methodology (checking in my housing), or the fact it would take (4) plane rides and a (3) hour bus ride to get there, or anticipation of the cool critters I may encounter, or the fact I won’t be connected with my family for the next 15 days. Regardless, I found to best way to deal with anxiety in any area of life is to prepare or over-prepare in my case. I looked at my spreadsheet for the 10th time and finally declared “I am ready to go!” I left Seattle at 8:30am on the 14th of February and oh my, was I in for a surprise. The entire trip (door-to-door) took a whopping 54.5 hours (only 35 hours on the return). The travel broke down as follows: • Drive to Seatac – 1 hour (same on the return) • Seatac Airport – 3 hours (saved 2 hours on the return) • Flight from Seattle to Taipei – 13 hours (saved 3 hours on the return) • Taipei Airport – 3.5 hours • Flight from Taipei to Jakarta – 5 hours • Jakarta airport (hotel) – 9 hours (saved 5.5 hours on the return) • Flight from Jakarta to Makassar – 2.5 hours • Makassar airport (hotel and 2 cancelled flights) – 12 hours (saved 10.5 on the return) • Flight from Makassar to Luwuk – 1.5 hours • Luwuk airport - .5 hours (added 1.5 hours on the return) • Luwuk to Tompotika bus transfer – 3.5 hours Some of the highlights of the travel were the beef noodle soup in Taipei (my go to breakfast when I land), the amazing foot massage in Jakarta, the club room in Makassar (with private showers), and of course the whiskey in Makassar as well. As far as my packing, it wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty proud to get all my gear there in one piece, even with checking in my Canon 5d. Once we settled into the resort, things went extremely smooth. The food service was excellent and we were treated with refreshing drinks after every dive. The dive rhythm each day was as follows: 7:30am swim to the boat for dive #1 - We would typically splash around 8:00am. Return to the dive lodge and eat breakfast 11:00am swim to the boat for dive #2 – Splash around 11:30am. Return to the lodge and eat lunch 2:30pm swim to the boat for dive #3 – Splash around 3:00pm Return to the lodge, recharge batteries 5:30pm swim to boat for optional night dive – Splash around 6:00pm The morning dives were usually reserved for wide angle diving on open ocean walls and pinnacles, whereas the afternoon/night dives were reserved for macro diving at small reefs and muck locations. In total, I was able to log (41) dives in 12 days, with (1) day being cancelled due to weather. We dove (22) different dive sites in total, with the most dived spots being Pulau Dua (9), MBelang (5), and Ody’s Reef (4). The main reason we dove Pulau Dua so often is that it was our go-to night dive spot. Plus, the critters on this site were truly amazing. The dives consisted of the following terrain: • (5) Dives on large pinnacles with current (Wide Angle) – Sites included Ondoliang, Batu Tetek, Solan Reef, and Mayumi Wall. • (13) Dives on pinnacles/reef structure with mild current/surge (Wide Angle and Macro) – Sites included Albi Baba 1, Ali Baba 2, Entre 2 MERS I, Entre 2 MERS II, Entre 2 MERS III, Jenad Side, Ody’s Reef, and Nemo Rock. • (21) Dives on small reefs/muck with mild current/surge (Macro) – Sites included Pulau Dua, Coliina Slope 1, Coliina Slope 2, Mbelang, Tanduk, Teku Rock, Shallow Paradise, and Smile Point. • (2) Dives on muck/silt bottom with no current and mild surge (Macro) – Sites included Tompotika Reef and Quack-Quack Ding-Ding (more on this site later). In general I would say the diving was pretty easy with live boat pickup. I did get blown off a wall and had to ascend solo on one dive, but the captain circle my SMB within 2 minutes of deployment. Visibility varied from 80’ to 10’ depending on the currents and rain fall. Most dives were longer than 60 minutes in length and not extremely deep. They did provide aluminum 100 tanks, but no Nitrox, so the extended surface intervals were nice. My personal dive stats were as follows: • Deepest (3) dives were; Ondoliang 95’ Dive #30, Entre 2 MERS III 90.8’ Dive #26, and Ali Baba 1 88.3’ Dive #8. • Longest (3) dives were; Pualu Dua 98min Dive #14, Pulau Dua 92min Dive #7, and Smile Point 85min Dive #21. • Worst dive was Quack-Quack Ding-Ding – This dive was a muck dive to find mimic octopus. Viz was a terrible 10’ and several of our team members were hammering away on their signaling devices. Since the dive site did not have a name, we named it Quack-Quack Ding-Ding to represent the quacking and dinging of diver’s signaling devices. It was a very fun adventure and we certainly made lemonade out of lemons on this dive. I did flood my backup camera on another dive, but I cannot say that was the worst, because the dive was actually amazing. • Best dive was my last dive of the trip at Pulau Dua. The main reason is that I spotted a tropical Bobtail Squid on my own. Out of the (25) critters I wanted to see the previous year in Anilao, the Bobtail Squid was the only critter I did not see. The encounter was amazing and it was one of the most beautiful critters I had ever seen. Overall the diving was on par with Anilao (from a critter standpoint) and on par with Fiji (from a reef standpoint). The variety of structure and critters made for a great diving experience. Speaking of critters, my top (5) critter encounters were as follows: 1. The Bobtail Squid @ Pulau Dua Dive #41 – This was top on my critter list and being able to see this on my very last dive was a great treat. The colors of this squid were memorizing. However, the behavior was vastly different from our local Stubby Squid species. In the Puget Sound, mid-sized Stubby Squid will migrate up into the water column when they have had enough of the blinding strobe action. They typically will hover for photo ops for a good 3-5 minutes, displaying their tentacles. The Bobtail squid simply buries itself, after a couple photos, it will pop out, hover about 2” from the ground and re-bury itself. I really wanted to see it in the water column for a comparable PNW Stubby Squid shot, but I did not want to harass the little critter, so I settled for some beautiful “sand” shots. 2. Reef Squid @ Mbelang Dive #33 – My dive buddy, Val, alerting me to a beautiful (and large) reef squid at around 50’. I quickly switched to my red focus light and pursued this skittish critter to around 80’. The squid was flashing and not wanting to be photographed. Once I slowed my pace and approach cautiously, it allowed me to get some very nice photographs. 3. Black-tip Reef Shark @ Batu Tetek Dive #15 – This was the dive I was blown off the reef by current. Prior to that incident, there was a depression at the top of the wall. As I approached the depression, a black-tip shark quickly shot into view and darted away. Afraid I had scared it, I patiently waited for its return and the scuba gods reqarded my patience with an amazing encounter. The shark circled several times as I peered over the wall. My dive guide, Sofyan, wanted to know what I was watching and I signaled shark. I could see him smile through his reg, he settled down next to me and enjoyed the multiple passes. Although I got one terrible photograph, the experience of seeing a shark close enough to look into its eye is one I will cherish forever. 4. Pygmy Seahorse @ Jenad Side Dive #38 – Although we had seen several Pygmy’s (this area had them on full display), they are extremely difficult to get photographs of. Surge, size, and location all play a role in the difficulty level. I really try to photograph these in a very respectful way by avoiding to poke or hit the sea fan, which is sometimes extremely challenging. This way the sea fan polyps will open up, providing a unique photo opportunity. This encounter was unique because the sea fan was at the base of a rock with a sand bottom. I struggled for several minutes in the surge to capture a shot. Frustrated, I swam away from the rock and reassessed my position. I noticed a flat sand bottom next to it, so I decided to inspect, dump my air and gently stand next to the rock on the sand and shoot up at the Pygmy. The sea fan just so happened to be about 6’ in height, which was perfect. The Pygmy was also on an outer branch, posing perfectly. I settled in and took several photos. I love it when the stars align like that. 5. Crocodile Fish @ Nemo Rock Dive #16 – The previous day my dive buddy, Zack, said he saw a Crocodile fish. I was really excited with the news, because I had always wanted to shot a close-up of the Crocodile fish’s eye. Toward the end of a pretty non-eventful dive, my dive master pointed out a Crocodile fish in the open. As I approached the fish jetted away and I thought, “Darn, just missed my opportunity.” A few minutes later, he noticed me searching the reef, so he joined in and quickly re-spotted it. However, it was wedged between two large structures. I hovered over the reef, positioned my body vertically, and extended my camera down to capture the eye. I was trying to be really careful now to hit the fish or the structures I was in between. I’m happy to report success on all accounts. Similar to Anilao, I went through my photographs by critter. This makes it easier for me to relive the encounters and really communicate my experience/interaction with the amazing Indonesian sea life. I must admit that the number of Nudibranchs and Seahorses was pretty amazing. In Anilao, I captured (67) different species of Nudibranch/Slugs. In Tompotika, I believe I captured over that number. That is a pretty amazing comparison. In regards to the number of photos I am sharing, I really need to pare down my gallery to include the absolute best of the best. However, I thought I would simply share every photo I loved capturing in order to let you see, feel, and experience each and every encounter. I also provided a more detailed write-up since there was so little information on Tompotika prior to my departure. Enjoy the photos and please comment on the ones that make you feel good. I will be posting my Shrimp, Lionfish, Moray Eels, Pipefish, and Nudibranchs soon. Be safe and have a great week. p.s. My favorite non-diving moment was body surfing with the local kids on the final day. What a treat, they were so fun.
  9. I've been using Ikelite products for a long time. First with a G10 and then with a 5d Mark2. I recommend calling Ikelite support. They are fantastic at trouble shooting and service. They may ask you to send in the housing and camera for testing. I had had a few "fit" issues and they took care of the problem fast and cheap.
  10. Hello, I have been a member of the forum for a while but have not posted a ton. I thought I would break the ice with some shots from a recent trip to FGB out of Texas. We left on the 29th and conducted 5 dives on day 1 and 2 dives on day two. The conditions were excellent (6"-12" seas). The first 4 dives I shot with my 17-40mm Wide Angle Lens and on the last 3 I shot with my 100mm macro. Here is my favorite photo of the trip. You can click the link and it will take you to my gallery. For my travel photos, I use a journal layout and I tend to post various shots to convey the "feel" of the trip. Please feel free to ask any questions about the dive operator and I would be happy to answer them. http://www.jessemillerphotography.com/Travel/Flower-Garden-Banks-Texas-2015/i-CRZrCxm/0/S/_MG_0962-S.jpg
  11. Hello from Washington State. I've been lurking for a long time, but have not posted. Looking forward to becoming a bit more active on this board. I have been diving for 6 years and have about 650 dives under my belt, most of them in the Puget Sound and BC. I picked up my first camera about 50 dives in and never looked back. I actually did not own a camera prior to diving, so this photography thing is still new :-) I look forward to meeting folks and sharing some stories, tips, and photos. Here are my photography sites: www.jessemillerphotography.com www.jessemillerportfolio.com
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