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Ken Kurtis

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Ken Kurtis last won the day on June 28 2022

Ken Kurtis had the most liked content!

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About Ken Kurtis

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    Wolf Eel
  • Birthday 05/20/1951

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    Ken Kurtis
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    Beverly Hills, CA

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D750 (D610 for land), GoPro Hero9 for video
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Dual Sea & Sea YS-D1s (which I love)
  • Industry Affiliation
    NAUI Instructor #5936

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  1. We had a great time diving with the Whale Sharks and exploring the reefs around Isla Mujeres (which is just north of Cancun and not too far from Cozumel). Plus we got a cool Whale Shark video. Here's what happened and what we saw: ISLA MUJERES 2023 TRIP REPORT ISLA MUJERES 2023 SMUGMUG PIX/SLIDESHOW ISLA MUJERES 2023 VIDEO - DIVING WITH WHALE SHARKS (5 minutes long with music) Enjoy!!! - Ken
  2. YAP 2023 TRIP REPORT, VIDEO, & PIX LINKS We didn't get the trip we'd hoped for - weather issues - but we still had a great time and got some nice pictures plus a cool video. (FYI, I'm trying a revised format with the trip report as I'm now able to embed some pictures within the report itself to better illustrate what I'm talking about. Let me know what you think.) Here's what happened and what we saw: YAP 2023 TRIP REPORT YAP 2023 SMUGMUG PIX/SLIDESHOW YAP 2023 VIDEO - SHARKS HITTING BAITBALL Enjoy!!! - Ken
  3. Not exactly a dive trip but all divers in our group (and we certainly would have loved to plunge in with a whale if it was allowed, which it is not). But here's the trip report and pictures from our recent foray to San Ignacio Lagoon on the western side of Baja Calfironia to interact with the gray whales who annually come there to calve and mate: TRIP REPORT - http://www.reefseekers.com/PIXPAGES/San%20Ignacio%20Lagoon%202023/San%20Ingancio%20Lagoon%202023.html SMUGMUG PIX - https://kenkurtis.smugmug.com/DIVE-TRIP-PHOTOS-ALL/2023-DIVE-TRIPS/SAN-IGNACIO-LAGOON-FEBRUARY-6-10-2023/ V
  4. Singapore (SQ37) non-stop from LAX to SIN. Landed 40 minutes early. Then Scoot Air (owned by Singapore - codeshare with them) into Manado. All I can say about the layover time is that we've never missed that flight into Manado. For those who aren't comfortable with that (from LA) you can take SQ11 which goes through Tokyo and then into Singapore, arrives around 1AM, and you can overnight in the Transit Hotel until the 9:25AM flight to Manado.
  5. INDONESIA 2022 TRIP REPORT, VIDEO, & PIX LINKS We've been back for a week now from our fabulous trip to Indonesia (North Sulawesi, including Manado, Bangka, and Lembeh) and have the trip report, a video, and the SmugMug slide show ready for your dining and dancing pleasure. Remember that the slideshow can either be viewed as a collage, or your can click on individual pictures for a full-screen version of that shot. You can also activate a full-screen slideshow if you like. Here are the links: INDONESIA 2022 TRIP REPORT INDONESIA 2022 SHORT TURTLE VIDEO INDONESIA 2022 SMUGMUG SLIDESHOW I also experimented with some things and would be interested in any comments good/bad/indifferent. I normally shoot at 200-400-ISO but decided on this trip to shoot everything at 1600-ISO to get smaller f-stops, use less flash, and get quicker recycling times. (With my 105mm at Lembeh, I was able to shoot at f40-ish and pretty much fired at will.) Just curious to see if you can see any differences or have any thoughts one way or the other. Post-production is done in Lightropom 6.0 and here's my general workflow along with where within LR the adjustment is made. I generally find that I spend 45-90 seconds doing these adjustments for any given shot: • Crop (generally 16:9 but not always - 1:1 is other most common) • Adj angle if necessary • Check for focus - discard if eyes are soft • Check/adj overall exposure (histogram) • Knock down highlights (basic) • Increase shadows (basic) • Adj white balance if necessary (basic) • Adjust shadows (tone curve) • Adjust darks (tone curve) • Adjust lights (tone curve) • Generally no attempt to deal with backscatter • Adjust masking (detail -sharpening - hold down ALT key to select edges) • Sharpen (detail - sharpening) • Save at 2160 pixels high (and whatever the corresponding width is), 1200dpi Happy to hear your thoughts &/or suggestions. - Ken
  6. BONAIRE 2022 TRIP REPORT, VIDEO, & PIX LINKS TWARS (This Week at Reef Seekers) will follow shortly but in the meantime . . . We've been back for a week now from our fabulous trip to Bonaire and have the trip report, a video, and the SmugMug slide show ready for your dining and dancing pleasure. Remember that the slideshow can either be viewed as a collage, or your can click on individual pictures for a full-screen version of that shot. You can also activate a full-screen slideshow if you like. Here are the links: BONAIRE 2022 TRIP REPORT BONAIRE 2022 VIDEO BONAIRE 2022 SMUGMUG SLIDESHOW Enjoy!!! (We certainly did.) - Ken
  7. Good news and bad news about Customs (not Immigration - that part couldn't have been easier taking all of 10 seconds). They don't seem to be actively "hunting" as they were the last time I was down there about a year ago. No one working the line asking what you had or if there was a big camera or anything like that. I personally this time decided to chance it and took my D750 and housing, my D610 (land/surface cam), and my GoPro. I also keep a $100 bill and a couple of $50s handy thinking if push comes to shove, I slap it down and say, "Will this cover it? I don't need a receipt." I got a green light and was waved on through. But one of our guys ahead of me got a red light so they directed him to put his bags through x-ray. They then had him open things up because he has a u-shaped handle/tray for his GoPro that they thought looked like a weapon. I'm unclear about how all of this went downhill but the short version is they were in animated discussion (I was watching) for a good half hour and then they took him through a door marked TAX COLLECTION and he ended up paying $50. It seems it was all about the GoPro. IMHO, I'd consider the $50 to be a nuisance fee. Yes, it's not right. But from a practical standpoint, if you've spend $10K on your gear and maybe another $5K on your trip, isn't it worth $50 just to get this over with and get on your way? Yes, I know the stories about people being hit up for big bucks. But it seems to me most of what I've heard about are people paying under $100. Be polite, be co-operative, smile, joke, don't argue, say "No comprende" or "I didn't know a lot," be a dumb American, and go on your way.
  8. We had a really nice Socorro trip on the Nautilus Under Sea March 12-20. Aside from the usual mantas and sharks galore, we also got a Whale Shark and an incredible dolphin encounter - which still leaves me amazed - so how can you complain? Plus we had a fairly nice ride down and a nice ride back up to Cabo so everything worked out well. And we had a really good group of people and a wonderful crew so who could ask for more? I've got the trip report done, the pictures are posted, and I've also posted a copy of the Nautilus-created trip video (which used a lot of our stills). Here are the links to those if you'd like to peruse any or all: SOCORRO 2022 TRIP REPORT SOCORRO 2022 SMUGMUG SLIDESHOW SOCORRO 2022 NAUTILUS TRIP VIDEO
  9. Depends on where I am and what I'm shooting. On this trip, mostly 28-100. There was a colorful Leather bass I was shooting at 66mm. then a manta came by and headed right for me and I got him at 28mm. But maybe I'm in Bonaire and I shoot a Tarpon at 28mm but then turn around and find a seahorse and shoot it at 105mm. Very versatile lens (and from 50-105 will shoot 1:1 macro at close-focus).
  10. Hi Bob, Thanks for the kind words. As you now know, I shoot a D750. I am personally NOT a fan of wide/wide angle or close-focus wide angle. I did 18 dives over five days on this trip. I shot 18-35 on one dive, used my GoPro (various POVs) on 5 dives, and used my beloved discontinued Nikon 28-105 on 12 dives. So much of what you saw still-pix was 28-105 at various zoomed in or out focal lengths. All post-processing done in Lightroom-6.
  11. I'd say the range was good+ to excellent. No real complaints. And what a number of us became addicted to were the mugs of hot spiced apple cider offered post-dive and as a drink option at meals. Yummy!!!
  12. Thanks for the kind words. The answer to your question is "No, but . . ." They were definitely on the hunt. They were asking everyone, before you push the red/green light button, what was in your bags. I replied "Scuba gear." They immediately asked if I had cameras. I said yes. they asked if I had big housings. I truthfully - but incompletely - said, "I have a GoPro." They said, "OK" and I pushed the button (which was green). End of story for me. I had warned all of our folks about the issue and I did hear the next day (two of our people came in a day after the main group) that there was a guy who had camera gear and was either singled out or got a red light who was arguing with them about it. Now, apparently what they wanted to ding her for was $40. I could live with that. (In fact, I had two $50 bills stashed in my pocket just in case I need to provide some . . . encouragement . . . to pass through.) So it's still wrong, but $40 is a far cry from the stories we were hearing of $1,000 a year or so ago. Don't know if that's still happening. All I can say is that this is what our experience was. - Ken
  13. SOCORRO 2021 TRIP REPORT, PIX, & VIDEO (LINKS) We just returned from a wonderful adventure exploring the waters of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, better known generically as the Socorro Island. We had a "Manta-tastic" time. The trip report is the same as what was in the newsletter (just formatted differently). The pix are on my SmugMug page and the video resides on YouTube. Enjoy!!! And let me know if you have questions or comments. (And note that we're returning on the same boat in March of 2022 in case this all inspires you.) SOCORRO 2021 TRIP REPORT SOCORRO 2021 SMUGMUG PIX & SLIDESHOW SOCORRO 2021 VIDEO (2½ MINUTES - SPEAKERS ON) - Ken
  14. Thanks for the dome thoughts. haven't really thought about this much since that Nov 2019 trip. One immediate issue would be that I normally shoot with warming filters that snap on over the GoPro dive housing. Don't think that's an option with a dome.
  15. In late January, we spent eight days exploring the reefs around Puerto Galera and Dumaguete in the Philippines as the guest of Atlantis Resorts. This was different from our "normal" trips, as you'll read below. Enjoy!!! And let me know if you have questions or comments. PHILIPPINES 2020 TRIP REPORT PHILIPPINES 2020 SMUGMUG PIX & SLIDESHOW
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