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Everything posted by gracer

  1. I'm just about to go on another trip on the MV Sea Spirit in the Maldives so have been trying to finish off editing the video I took on the same boat last year. I enjoyed making them as it was a good reminder of how much I enjoy diving in the Maldives. Hope you enjoy them too. MV Sea Spirit Cocoa Thila Richard
  2. Steve, I think it's normally stated that the Maldives have two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) and wet season (southwest monsoon), with the former extending from January to March and the latter from mid-May to November. For the best weather I believe february and March are the best bets, however you can dive there year round if you pick your area depending on the prevailing monsoon. Our trip was in November which is a transitional period but the weather was fine with just the odd storm in the evenings. The famous Hanifru Lagoon gets its Manta aggregations in August and September but there are many places to see them in smaller numbers (10's rather 100's) and we've never failed to see them whatever time of year we have visited. There are hundreds of resorts to choose from catering to different levels of budget but I think the best option is to go on a liveaboard. We've always used Maldives Scuba Tours and have never been disappointed. Richard
  3. I've finally got round to editing the video I took on a trip to Makunudu Resort in North Male Atoll last year. I've posted the results on YouTube. The Resort Boat Diving House Reef Night Dive Shark Point Richard
  4. Don - a great article and beautiful images. We did a similar trip in the opposite direction in 2009 and I thought it was one of the best trips I've done. For anyone thinking of visiting the area I can highly recommend it. You can find some video of teh dives we did here: Best of Raja Ampat & Halmahera Richard
  5. Thanks syam - we actually didn't get many strong currents on the trip although there were a couple of dives where the surge near the surface was quite strong. I'll have to try your tip for macro shots - I've been pretty happy with the Sanyo and Epoque setup but it is quite small and light and I have found it difficult to keep it steady when filming small subjecst. Richard
  6. Hi, I've been meaning to post these clips for some time as I always enjoy watching other's videos. These videos were taken whilst on a trip onboard MV Temukira through Halmahera and Raja Ampat in November 2009 - some of the best diving I've ever had the good fortune to do. All video was filmed using a Sanyo Xacti HD2000 in an Epoque housing. Schooling Fish Reef Life Muck Diving Mangroves Night Diving Mantas Hope you enjoy them, Richard
  7. Tom, 1 - I just use my hand to white balance against so it's pretty quick and I normally try to do so before each shot. Just in case I need to start shooting straight away I also try and white balance every time I change depth or I notice that the light has changed. 2 - I used Sony Vegas to edit the video and it does have colour correction tools. In this video I've used colour correction but mainly to try and get the blues to look similar from one shot to another rather than because I needed to bring back colour. 3 - I've not had any problem using the zoom on the Epoque housing although I tend not to use it for WA shots as the resulting video can be rather soft and washed out. For macro subjects I've found the macro setting + zoom to give good results. 4 - I do have a light but to be honest apart from at night I've hardly used it as I've been pretty happy with the results without it. I find using it somewhat hit and miss regarding lighting the subject properly and getting a good WB and am happier without that stress. Richard
  8. John, I've just come back from a trip to the Maldives - here's a link to a video I made of a couple of dives on Lankan a well known manta cleaning point. Richard
  9. Thought I would just update this thread with a video clip of a dive on Lankan Manta Point during a recent trip to the Maldives. This was my second trip with the setup and I continue to be pleased with the results for what is a relatively cheap camera and housing. Richard
  10. I've posted a short video made up from some random clips straight from the camera. I've used the software that came with the camera and I don't think that I used a very good format to export as it looks very flat compared to when I view it on the the TV straight from the camera. Hopefully though it gives some idea of the capability of the camera - these clips were all taken in the 15-25m range without lights using manual white balance against my hand. Anyway it wil have to do until I get some editing software and time to use it. Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year Richard
  11. Ron - I'll definitely post some example video but it might be a little time as at the moment I don't have editing software or powerful enough PC so I have to get that sorted out which won't be unitil after Christmas. If I can figure out how to reduce their size I'll try an post some clips straight from the camera before then. Richard
  12. Hi Geopadi - I've just come back from a three week trip to Halmahera, Raja Empat and Lembeh where I used a Sanyo HD2000 and Epoque housing for 60+ dives. I had no problems with the housing at all except for a minor leak when I was testing it in the camera tank prior to a dive and that was entirely down to user error as I forgot to fasten one of the clamps! As the o-ring is quite complicated I only greased it at the beginning of the trip and then left it in place merely applying a smear of grease every day or so to the opposite suface and that seemd to work well. I was able to white balance using my hand down to 25-30m which seemed to give good colours and never needed to use a colour correction lens. The only slight down side for me was that the housing is quite small and even mounted on a plate it could be hard to hold still for macro shots - however since this was my first attempt at video this my be down to my lack of skill and a small housing is nice when it comes to travelling. Given the total cost of camera and housing I think it represents an excellent deal especially if you have existing external 67mm wet lenses as I do. Hope this helps, Richard
  13. Thanks for the info folks - it's just the sort of thing I was looking for. CJ how did you find the location of Divers Lodge Lembeh - was the distance for the main sites an issue? Did you get to dive the sites on the ocean side of the island? Thanks, Richard
  14. My wife and I will be spending 5 days in Manado at the end of November and are interested in diving in Lembeh. As this is part of a larger trip we are keen to find an option that offers good diving but at a budget price. I've been researching possible options and there are a lot more resorts since we last visited. I'd be keen to hear of any positive (or negative) experiences at any of the following resorts: Bastianos, SDQ, Two Fish, NAD, Divers Lodge. We also considering two resorts furher afield - Pulisan and Blue Bay Divers on Bangka. Has anyone visited either of these. Thanks, Richard
  15. Damo, One of the "swarm" here. You've captured a nice set of pictures - it makes me wish I'd taken my camera too! I really like the midas blenny shot - great colurs. Good to see that you captured the big eyes in the black coral and the elusive citron goby. Save diving, Richard
  16. James, I can certainly recommend the boats run by Maldives Scuba Tours (http://www.scubascuba.com) and I know they offer resort bookings too. I've not been in Nov but they might be able to give you good advice - I've always found them very helpful. Richard
  17. Stew, When we were on Deep Blue in October most of the boat used Nitrox for the days at Darwin and Wolf but my wife and I didn't as we're not Nitrox qualified. I think we might have been lucky but neither NDT or down currents were an issue. The second half of most dives was spent in the blue at depths that meant deco was never an issue and the only bad profiles we experienced were due to over enthusiastically following the whale sharks and not down currents. Richard
  18. We were on the Deep Blue at the end of October for a 11 night cruise. I thought both the boat and crew were excellent. The dive area was large and well organised, there was lots of space elsewhere to lounge around in the sun or shade between dives, the food was good and the crew friendly and helpful. With the exception of the check out dive the diving was superb. We got to see everything we had hoped for - 100's of hammerheads, mantas, dolpins, seahorses, red lipped batfish, huge shoals of fish and at Darwin we were lucky enough to see whalesharks on most dives. I'd definitely recommend both the boat and destination. Richard
  19. Greg, I was in the same position 3 years ago trying to decide whether to house my current film SLR or buy a digital compact. In the end I went with a Olympus 4040 in a Olympus PT-10 housing without a strobe as I didn't feel that I could justify the expense involved for the SLR route. I'm very glad I did and I suspect if I hadn't taken the cheaper route I'd still be wavering now as to whether I wanted to make such a large investment in camera equipment when I didn't even know whether I'd enjoy it or not. For the first year I used the camera without a strobe and whilst this obviously limited what the camera could do, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and got some good photos as well. Since then I've added a strobe and wet lenses and have been very happy with the results I've got. For sure the camera has limitations but I've learnt what they are and can plan my photos accordingly especially since I know I can crop, rotate and enhance them in photoshop. I'm afraid I can't comment on the 7070 but I definitely reckon it's better to get started albeit with a camera with limitations than to never get to enjoy underwater photography because the initial cost is too high. Anyway whatever you settle on I hope you get as much enjoyment from it as I have. Richard
  20. I've been searching this and other forums and have a better idea of some of the issues with the 5060/PT-020 now. I was wondering whether anybody has any practical experience of using this combination with the Inon WAL. I've read about some of the potential problems but am interested in whether it may still work even if it is a sub-optimal solution. At the moment the options I have are either sourcing a replacement 4040 or going with the new combination. Maybe I can persuade the insurance company that the only possible suitable replacement is a DSLR and housing! Richard
  21. hunter991, My camera was covered under my house contents insurance with Norwich Union Direct which includes personal belongings away from home. When I bought my camera I gave them a ring to check that I would be covered and made sure that they put a note on my policy to that affect - I'm glad I did now!
  22. Folks, I've just had the misfortune to flood my camera - an Olympus 4040 housed in a PT-010. I've spoken to my insurance company and they are happy to accept the claim but there is a problem in that the camera is no longer sold. Amazingly they have offered to replace both the camera and the housing upgrading to an Olympus 5060 and PT-020. This would appear to suit me fine as it means I should be able to continue to use my existing YS-90DX strobe and Inon Macro and WA lenses - and I get an updated camera to boot. Does anyone have any experience of switching from a 4040 to a 5060? Are there any disadvantages I should be aware of before accepting this offer? Thanks, Richard
  23. I've also being experiencing problems if I access the site from the forums control on www.wetpixel.com. Images from the Gallery Showcase don't load and it seems to generally screw up IE so that when I visit other sites their images don't load either. However if I access www.wetpixel.com/forums directly and wait for the redirect that occurs I don't have any problems. On www.wetpixel.com I get a privacy report about a rizcamera jpg - I don't know if this is related. Hope this helps, Richard
  24. Now I'm a fully fledged underwater photographer I find myself being less attentive to my buddy and am also often further away than might be desirable. In clear, warm and tranquil waters this doesn't seem too bad. However over Christmas my wife and will be diving in the Maldives which hopefully will be warm and clear but will involve a lot more current. As a result I'm keen to find a way that we can attract each other's attention when required. I'm really thinking of something to be used when one of us in difficulty rather than to point out every fish we see as I'm not that keen on rattles etc being used every minute or so throughout a dive (however if that fish is a whaleshark ...). As far as I can tell the options are: - Air Horns: they're definitely loud but what if you are out of air? - Rattles: simple and effective but can get annoying if they rattle unintentionally. - Tank Bangers: can be difficult to use and some centres use mesh on the tanks. Any advice or experience in using these would be welcome. Thanks, Richard
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