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Steve Williams

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Everything posted by Steve Williams

  1. For the Folks at DEMA, If you've recovered from the Happy Hour You're probably the only folks on the planet who have seen all the new housings for the Canon 40D. Reading all the great input from Eric, it looks like almost everyone has a prototype at the party. Did any one stand out? It sounds like some of the housings could have some issues with ergonomics. Any other thoughts would really be appreciated. Steve
  2. Some are too painful to recall exactly, first time was just dumb pilot error. Grand Cayman, night dive in late 80’s. I left the strobe loose from the Nikonos IV and when the boat guy went to hand it to me the camera hit the deck. Amazingly every thing still seemed to work and looked OK so I made the second mistake that evening and went for it. At thirty feet that sickening feeling came when the film swells and the film advance doesn’t feel right came and I headed back to the boat. Turned out the sleeve for the strobe connector was cracked in the fall, but it was just in front of the o-ring where I couldn’t see it. I was able to clean the camera and save it but the strobe, and old 101 was unusable the rest of the trip. I didn’t carry a spare sync cord in those days. Why do things always break at night? Second flood was a year later, miles from civilization, off the beach at Cabo Pulmo in the Sea of Cortez. When I did the pre dive camera check I didn’t hear the cap on the strobe coming up so aborted and started trying to find the problem. That Nikonos 101 strobe for you young guys had 3 D’s in the handle. When I opened the battery compartment that ugly brown crap came oozing out. I was diving every weekend back then and I left the batteries in without checking. I needed something to clean out the compartment so I could reload. Have you ever walked around a beach in a foreign country in a wet suit trying to get someone to give you some toilet paper? Since I didn’t speak the language then I had to revert to some interesting gestures that I will leave to your imagination. Thankfully Mexico is full of friendly people and I got what I needed to clean it out. Reloaded and finally in the water I immediately saw a nice juvenile golden spotted eel and started setting up to try to get him to swim through the framer for the 1:1 extension tube I had on. About the fourth attempt he came right into the center of the frame and I hit the shutter. What I found out in the next 30 ms or so was that battery gas can leak into the strobe head and make a powerful explosive device. BOOM! The blast was very impressive; it drove my mask completely against my face. All I saw at first was a mass of bubbles that looked just like a miniature depth charge from an old WWII movie. The strobe came completely apart into about 12 pieces and the cool part was the water pressure made them slowly separate, perfectly aligned; they appeared to my addled brain exactly like one of those exploded views engineers used to use. I have a shot somewhere of a very over exposed young eel with a remarkably surprised look on his face. Better yet, two weeks later some yahoo broke into my home and stole the flooded Nikonos IV and the pieces of the 101 I was able to salvage along with an old TV and stuff. That’s how I got my first Nikonos V and my trusty 102 from my insurance company. I’m not sure what the moral to that story is but it’s all true. I didn’t have another flood until last year in Fiji, sixteen years between leaks isn’t bad. The new O-ring I bought for the trip didn’t feel right when I put it in before the first dive but I stupidly installed it anyway. About 20 minutes into the dive I got that old sickening feeling again. It had leaked just enough to swell the film. I think the Nikonos O-rings they are selling today were made years ago and they are dried out or just plain too old. I do know the moral of this story. It was finally time to go digital and start studying wetpixel. My old buddy V has an honored place in my office and I’m waiting not so patiently for a housing for my new 40D. Steve
  3. Hey Chad, Help me out, Why did you decide to switch to S&S from Nexus? I'm looking for a new housing for my 40D and I'm considering both. Any voice of experience would be appreciated Steve
  4. Looks like fun! Where is the compressor? How about a icemaker for the 12 volt margarita machine. I think you also ask for the hot water shower option. Steve
  5. I've heard that Beqa Lagoon resort fits the bill, but are there others? How's the shore diving at Beqa Lagoon Resort? Ken, We've stayed at Bega lagoon twice in the last 3 years and absolutely loved it. You go for the vis and the sealife, you'll come back talking about the amazing Fijian people. Very good food, well run operation. Go ahead and pop for the beachfront bure. well worth it. I've made something over 4000 dives around the world and three of my top ten were out of Beqa. There is beach diving on a nice reef for macro out in front or the resort but it's a pretty good swim out through the boat channel.(200 yds) If you ask nicely they'll let you off the boat on your way back in from the morning dives with a 3rd tank and you can dive your way in if your still up for it. It's not like any other place we've ever been. Beqa is an hour boat ride from the main island, four villages dot the shore around the island. You are really out there, away from it all. All the kids on the island go to the same school about 500 yds from the resort. Make sure to ask for a tour of the village and school. If you and your wife are the adventurous types they have a small island where they will drop you off with lunch and you can go native for the afternoon. Two castaways on a deserted tropical island. It doesn't get any better. Beqa is the ancestral home of the "firewalkers" they will do a dance for you one afternoon. Anyway you get the idea. One other pointer, they tie the hammocks to the coconut trees. Bad idea. When the boat leaves to take you back to the world the whole Fijian staff sings you on your way and they leave a trail of flowers behind the boat so you can find your way back. Have fun you'll love Fiji. Steve
  6. My Australian friend is still un identified. Lutea doesn't look quite right to me. The eye stalks look wrong. Sorry if that's not a biologically correct term. That's what happens when you give a engineer a camera. Anybody want to try again? Steve
  7. Thought I'd jump in here. I am convinced after reading all the info that the 40D is going to be a super camera for me. I got mine today and what a machine! It feels like a real solid tool. I was in love before I put the batteries in. (Don't say it) I've talked to Aquatica and they just recieved their camera this week and have started the design effort. No promises yet on production dates. Sea & Sea is showing a Jan date on digideep for what that's worth. Hugyfot is showing a housing in development. Bottom line is we have a little time to save our pennies. I don't think this will be a simple mod to an existing housing. That big 3 in. screen could cause some real problems. I hope I'm wrong but I think I'll be doing good to have Santa bring my shiny new 40D housing. Steve
  8. Thanks Giles, You got me headed in the right direction. I found the hard coral species on edge-of the-reef.com Trapezia sp.2, carapace 1cm in width. You nailed it! I'm still working on the other little dude. I was surprised they were fully grown. I had always assumed a juvenile. Steve
  9. I'm finally trying to get my website up and would like to give some info on these two. The first was taken on the outer Great Barrier reef and the second on the outer reefs of Belize. These were taken back in the good old days with a Nikonos V, extension tube, hand held 102 on velvia. Any help would be appreciated. If I get the order mixed up the softcoral is the hint for Australia. Thanks, Steve
  10. I almost missed the second gobie in the first image. He's hidding on the other side of the fan. Would have been fun to try and find a way to get them both in the shot. Very nice!
  11. Sandy, I'm in the same boat using some version of a nikonos since 71. I feel your pain. I've been studying up for the last two years and I'm getting comfortable with digital. The best resource I found was Martin Edge's book "The Underwater Photographer Third Edition" Martin does a great job of comparing film techniques and new digital opportunities I hadn't even thought of. It may be the best book on the techniques of underwater photography ever written. I know it's the best I've ever read. Go get it. Amazon has it. Make sure you get the newest version produced in 2006. Good luck! Dive Safe, Steve
  12. My first post on wetpixel, so take it for what it's worth. I've been diving since 68 and taking a camera down since 72. Consider me a prosumer. Taught some classes and sold a few images to hotels to hang in the lobby or restaurant. Dive because I love it, clearly never tried to make a living. Far from the level of expertise of the great folks here at this site. But almost 40 years of diving will teach you a few things. I believe great behavioral images come down to three pretty simple ideas. First, you must be very comfortable in the water. Thrashing around sounding like a wounded sea lion might get you one shot at that last of a lifetime Great White image but not much else. So OK you’re comfortable, next, you must at all costs avoid the hunting mind set. I remember when I first started trying to get my first great fish image, the reef would come alive after I ran out of film. When I stopped "hunting" the vib or my Karma or the feeling I was projecting changed markedly. The creatures of the reef pick it up. Try this some time. Leave you housing on the boat and just go hang out, breath slow and watch the reef come alive. It is not easy to do consistently. I was hanging out off the outer reefs in Belize on one trip trying to call mantas who occasionally come in close enough for the wall divers to see them. I have a manta mantra I was trying that was half a hum and half a prayer to Neptune. After three days of this, a dark shape came out of the looming blue, level with me at 40' about 200' away. I got as excited as a new groom on his wedding night and headed down at full speed to get below my first manta. She didn't like that idea and took a down angle. You could write this in your logbook,†Never try to race a Manta to the bottom." She wasn't even trying and I was going for all I was worth. Guess who won that race, she went below me, I took the shot pointing straight down and my trusty 102 tried to light the bottom of the Caribbean. Not a great image. The lesson here was, as soon as I pulled up at 140 ft plus after hitting the shutter, the manta got curious and circled back to see what this very strange being was doing in her realm. She circled me vertically three times; 3 ft away as I floated there dumbfounded waiting for the strobe to power up. Don't hunt. If you come back with a lot of great images of fish’s tails, I'll bet you need to change your mindset. Be one with the reef, the reef will come to you. The third idea of course is you have to be in the water. Sounds simple, but I'll bet you more great images were missed while the photographer was at the bar drinking rum punch than for any other reason. When you look at all the great images on this website remember, someone was committed enough to crawl out of a warm bed, put on a cold wetsuit, and get in the ocean, with a checked out fully operational camera that cost more than their car. Just for the chance, the opportunity to bring home that image. Let’s see if I can summarize, be comfortable, be one with the reef, and be committed. Good luck with the article! Steve
  13. Can anyone help me with why this is? Is it due to not shooting in a shutter priority mode that would allow you to stop the sun's rays? This has gotten me thinking about back up euipment. How many of you folks carry a back up camera or ? . If I was headed for 10 days on a galopagos liveaboard I'd probably bring the old nikonos along. Tough choices, It would seem with the DSLR there is more to go wrong. Do you folks find this to be true?
  14. Thanks Ken, I appreciate the info, I had not thought of the problems I'll have getting a big housing up into all those places the critters like to hide. Interesting to think about. I of course should have figures that out on my own but it's easy to get all wrapped up the the technology, with megapixels and lenses and all, heck it's a pretty big list when you stop and think about it, that I forgot that you still have to get in the water, be able to relax, find your subject, get in closer than you think you should, compose your shot, get in focus, point the strobe, and press the shutter. As I write this I noticed none of that list changes much no matter what kind of camera or housing you're using. Have to think about that awhile. Thanks, Steve
  15. Thanks for picking up on that William, I'm hoping I can use my old case for the camera, lenses and incedentals and have my 24 yr old son lug the big case around with the new housing. I always carry my reg in a backpack with the prime mask. The first time I went to Cayman the airlines lost our dive gear and the next plane didn't come in until three days later, which sort of gives away how long ago it was. Ever since, the important stuff stays with me. Luckily there are 3 of us so we can usually make it work. I will take your advice, check the dimisions,and spend some time fitting the new gear. That's part of the fun too. Steve
  16. Anthony, Thanks for the great explanation. I get it now. Think I'll start out trying to get the eye in perfect focus. So all you housing guys really have to work at this. I always thought you just submerged that big housing and sort of followed it around hitting the shutter and everthing was automatic. Quess I've been reading to many brochures from the manufacturers. I feel better know. Glad to know it's still an art to get great images. Cheers mate, Steve
  17. Thanks for the info herb. The lionfish image on your website entry page is very special! and your Harlequin shrimp is exactly the kind of image I love, very very nice. So what you guys are trying to tell me is that I may finally have a chance to get that great head shot of the juvenile jackknife fish I been chasing around the caribean for the last 20 years?
  18. Anthony, Thanks for the info, but help me out, what do you mean by driving the AF to lock up on the subject? Steve
  19. Thanks Mike, Love the Manta's by the way. Now I understand why everybody is blowing Nitrox, They don't want to get out of the water while they still have room on their mem card. What macro lens do you use? I'm still undecided between the new 60mm with a 4" min focus and the 100mm with 6". Seems like the 100 would be easier to light, am I missing something. The cost is close to the same now. Can't see selling my old gear, it would be like selling my dive buddy. I think I'll just hang it on the wall in the den as a memorial to great times gone by. Besides if anybody ever tries to rob the place I can bash them with that big ol 102. Cheers, Steve
  20. Thanks James, Never running out of film will take some getting used to. It's amazing how many times I've downloaded images from my land based G3 and found I had 36 images. Tough habit to break. So the limiting factor becomes Stobe batteries, right? It really affects your dive when you have to spread out your shots and save some in case the Manta shows up while you're hanging at the deco stop. I will never have to do that again! Cool. I'm with you too on those silly framers.
  21. Thanks Casey, I'm resonating with your pile of stuff comment. I have scoped out a new pelican case no. 1501 I think, that is the biggest case to be approved by the FAA for onboard storage and it has wheels! It's hard to believe that the pile at the airport will get any bigger. We already look like the clampetts coming to town. You know how you can tell who the U/W photo guys and gals are at the dive resort? They wear the same clothes all week. I'm also with you on the view finder. I'm 52 and the eyes are starting to go south, It's just hard to find the housing out here in the desert to try it out. Will the diopter + on the 20D help? One of the reasons I'm going with the 20D vs. the 350D is the viewfinder.
  22. OK folks, I’ve read all the forums and every page of all the manufactures internet sites. I still have a question. What are the images that we can try to get today with the new digital SLR technology that us old nikonos users couldn’t get or don’t even think about trying. I’ll bet there are thousands of us old nikonos users who have been tracking the equipment, technology improvements and price points and have finally figured out that the time is right to make the DSLR switch and greedily take advantage of all the learning you folks have worked so had to get. Take me for example, I’ve been diving since 1968 and taking a camera with me since 72. I’ve owned every nikonos made but have been using the same V and 102 strobes since 93. I used a 15mm for close focus wide angle which I love and extension tubes on my 35mm for getting the critter images, which is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. We dive the south pacific a couple of times a year and the Sea of Cortez is only 6 hours away from us here in Tucson, AZ. We had our own boat in Southern Cal for a few years and have a few thousand dives around the Channel Islands. So the upshot is I’ve been very comfortable doing what I do. I’m finally ready to change and think I’ve settled on the 20D with an Ikelite housing, Canon 10-22 lens, the new 60mm or 100mm macro lens(not sure yet) and DS-125 strobes. But I’m really asking more than an equipment question. How is the way I think about underwater photography going to change? What am I going to be doing that I haven’t even thought of yet? Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Your website is a spectacular resource. Steve
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