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Everything posted by ornate_wrasse

  1. Paul, Thanks for giving me a starting point. I would not have had a clue who I would contact for this type of work. I do appreciate your kind offer though! Ellen
  2. I can see where this would be a great solution. I currently own the 105VR Subal port. Since I have both the Niikon 5T and 6T close up lenses, and would like to use one or both with the 105mm lens, I can see I will need a port extension bored out. Does anyone know who I should go to for this kind of work (i.e. boring out a port extension)? If I get it done now, it will be ready for Alex's workshop in Grand Cayman in January 2010 Ellen
  3. I don't have any experience with the A570IS and its housing but I would suggest that you spend some time in a pool with it taking images of flowers (artificial), small stuffed animals and the like so you can get an idea of how it functions underwater before you actually go diving. Then take a look at the images after you've loaded them to your computer. You'll be able to adjust your settings based on the results. What the image looks like on the camera screen inside your housing, viewing it with your mask on, is often quite different from how it looks on your computer after you've uploaded the memory card and view it on your monitor! And before you take it on a dive in the ocean, you might want to take the housing without the camera inside to depth to see if there are any leaks. That way, if any water inadvertently gets inside the housing, it won't damage your camera. AFAIK, trying it out in a pool is not sufficient for this test as the camera does not go deep enough. I've heard that using dessicant packs inside the housing can be a good idea to eliminate fogging depending on environmental conditions before the dive. Congrats on your new purchase! Be sure to post your images here after you've had the chance to go diving with it. Ellen
  4. You've got a nice camera in your hands. A lot of people have gotten a lot of very nice images from the Olympus 5050. I would try and approach the composition by using one or two things (fish, coral head, etc) as the focal point of your image which will draw in the viewer. As it is, there are a lot of interesting things in your image but the eye is not drawn to one or two things as a focal point. I would get as close as you possibly can (I'm not sure of the the closest distance at which the camera focuses) and use the Rule of Thirds to frame a composition that is visually pleasing. In addition to Martin Edge's book, which is one of the very best underwater photography books out there, I suggest you try and pick up a copy of Jim Church's book on Composition. Even though the book is old, the principles still apply. I have taken the liberty of making a few changes in your image that, IMHO, spruced it up a bit. I increased the saturation, warmth, brightened it up a bit and sharpened it. Not sure that my efforts succeeded but I think you get the idea that I was trying to get away from an image with everything in it to an image with a focal point drawing in the eye of the viewer. I would have preferred the blue fish near the top of the image to have been bigger and, if possible to have been nicely framed in the center of the black area. I also would have preferred that the other blue fish not to have been there at all! Of course, this is wishful thinking and we have to deal with what's there, but I think you get the idea. Keep up the great work and thanks for posting your image! Ellen
  5. Reef Photo has a neoprene cover for the 8" dome port that works well. From what I understand, they had this cover specially manufactured for the dome port as the Subal one wasn't very good. I usually have it on before and after the dive and take it off the port after I'm in the water and my rig has been handed to me. Likewise, after the dive I put on the neoprene port cover to protect the dome before handing it to the crew. You might want to contact Reef Photo (one of Wetpixel's sponsors) to get one. Ellen
  6. Hi all, Although I've sold many items over the years, I've never sold anything to a buyer in the UK. They've asked what the import duties will cost them. I admit that I don't have a clue This is a lens for a a Nikonos and the value is admittedly not very much, but I would hate for the buyer to have to pay a high import duty on it. I've also seen statements on the listing of some Ebay sellers warning potential buyers that they will not mark the item as a gift and/or indicate a value less than what has actually been paid. Is there a way to find out how much the import duty will cost the buyer? Is there any legal way to minimize what it will cost the buyer? Thanks for any light you can shed on this topic. Ellen
  7. I think you should understand one main point as you begin to pursue underwater photography. A great number of the failures (i.e. floods, etc) are due solely to the underwater photographer and not a result of equipment failure. For example, a lack of attention to detail (for example, talking to other divers) when setting up the rig can often result in a subsequent flood during the dive. It is extremely important to be aware of how the rig is assembled before entering the water with your equipment. If using electrical connection for strobes (as opposed to fiber optic connection), that is a weak point and often leads to many problems no matter how good the equipment is. Another cardinal rule goes something like this: It's not IF there will be a flood, it's WHEN the flood will happen. In short, what I think it's saying is that, no matter how good our equipment is, someday there will likely be flood in spite of everything we do to prevent it. Once you go in with that attitude, you can cover your bases so the flood, when it happens, will have minimal to no effect on your shooting. For example, most uw photographers travel with backups and they insure their rigs. Ellen
  8. Here's a link to some Ultralight strobe arms: Strobe Arms for Subal Housings The is one of the brands that the other posters were referring to. The other brand, Aquatica TLC arms can be found here: Aquatica TLC Strobe Arms Both are interchangeable and can be used together. As for the arm floats, I have purchased a set of floats but haven't gotten a chance to use them yet. Other uw photographers like them a lot as they make carrying around a housing that is negatively buoyant a lot easier. That's especially true if you're doing a multi-day diving trip. Ellen
  9. Is this the kind of housing you're looking for? Subal Housing I checked out Reef Photo & Video's list of used equipment and found the above. The reason I mention it is because I purchased my used Subal housing for my D70S from Reef Photo and I've been extremely happy with my purchase. They check everything out and make sure it's working properly before they sell the housing to you. And they are a great source of information if you have any questions. As you can see, I'm a big believer in buying used housings. They save money and often work just as good as new, even if they have a scratch or two on them. Ellen
  10. I second the statement made by AndreSmith that no diopter is needed using the FE2 dome port with the sigma lens. OK, to be truthful, I actually have used the Nikkor 16mm lens with the FE2 dome port, but they are very similar with the difference being that the Sigma 15 focuses closer than the Nikkor 16. One of the reasons I bought the 16mm lens was specifically because Ryan said it didn't need a diopter! And I didn't want to buy yet another piece of uw equipment with my hard earned dollars :-) So, besides being an excellent lens with the FE2 domeport, it also saves a small amount of money. Ellen
  11. I have both the 20mm and the 15mm lenses as well as the Sekonic Light Meter for underwater use. Perhaps one or more of them will help you in your quest for better underwater photos. Ellen
  12. I was on that flight from Denpassar to Manado last October on Garuda Airlines. As I recall, they were quite strict on luggage weights. We were traveling in a group and we had a local person representing our group who "bargained" with the folks behind the counter at Garuda so that we were charged less for overweight luggage than we normally would have been charged. This accommodation was granted as we were overweight due to carrying scuba equipment. I seem to recall that I paid approximately $20 extra, though this may not be exact as I paid in rupiah in cash and my memory of the conversion to dollars may be a bit hazy :-). Other members of our group paid more rupiah as they were carrying more luggage. Ellen
  13. I'd suggest you contact Reef Photo for the answer to your question about the tray adapters. Many Wetpixel folks (including myself) deal with Reef Photo on a regular basis. They are great to do business with and really take care of their customers. There were some discussions here on Wetpixel about Inon's decision to stop their US affiliation (Inon America). But you can get the strobe at Reef Photo. Here's the link. Reef Photo Hope that helps, Ellen
  14. It's my understanding that whether you use a hard wired connection to your strobe or a fiber optic connection depends on the housing you're using, as some housings won't permit use of a fiber optic connection. In my case, I have to use hard wired connections to my Inon Z240s since I have a Subal housing. In your case, with your Ikelite housing, it appears you can use a fiber optic connection. A fiber optic connection is generally preferable to a hard wired connection as there's less chance of a flood. In uw photography, the weakest point of the entire system is the hard wired connection to the strobe. With fiber optic, there's less chance of problems that are typical of a hard wired connection. Some folks think TTL is very beneficial, others not so much. I personally don't use TTL and don't have a big problem with that. Others feel differently about it. Hope that helps. Ellen
  15. Hi Pam, First of all, I'd like to extend to you a warm welcome to Wetpixel. Congratulations on your pending purchase of a DSLR. To answer your questions, here are my thoughts on Ikelite and the Aquatica housings. A lot has to do with personal preferences as there are many here on Wetpixel who like each housing. To compare to brands of cars, you can think of the Ikelite housing as a Chevrolet or Ford and the Aquatica housing as the no-longer-made Oldsmobile. The Ikelite housings, made of a see-through polycarbonate type of material, are bigger and boxier. Some don't like them when considering the bulk of the housing for travel. OTOH, Ikelite housings generally will cost less than other brands of housings, like Aquatica. The Aquatica housing, from what I understand, is made of aluminum, and is also rated for a deeper depth than the Ikelite. If you're really watching the budget, I would think you'd want to go with Ikelite. If money is no object, and you want the higher-end model, go with Aquatica. I personally haven't used either housing, as I went straight from a Nikonos V (no housing) to a Subal housing. One other thing, I have heard some say, though I haven't experienced it, that the way of locking the Ikelite housing doesn't always work well and is prone to flooding. Your other question, on which lenses to buy, is a much easier question to answer. I would purchase one lens for macro and one lens that will cover wide angle. For my first macro lens, I would go with the 60mm lens. It's a great lens. Either the older version or the newer version will work in a macro port. For your wide angle lens, I would highly recommend a Tokina 10-17 lens. This lens is very well regarded for underwater use. If you have any other specific questions, you might want to post them in the Digital SLRs/Housings forum. Ellen
  16. If you're big on having TTL capabilities, have you given thought to using an SB800 topside flash unit and housing it? Used SB800s go for $250 to $300 and you could pick up an housing for it , although the housing would cost a lot more than the strobe. The advantage is that you'd have TTL. Some folks who post here regularly use the SB800 underwater and I'm sure a search would bring up some posts that discuss it. Ellen
  17. In the past, a lot of underwater photographers used to use the Sekonic Marine Meter II when using the Nikonos V. Even though the Nik V has a meter, some photographers prefered to use an external meter. I wouldn't rush out and buy one, but if you're going to stay with the Nik V for a while and you're not happy with the exposures you're getting, it's something to think about. See the following link: Sekonic Marine Meter II And, as Mike says, get in the habit of bracketing your exposures. Shooting film doesn't give you the opportunity to get instant feedback in the form of a histogram, so bracketing is definitely a way to cover yourself and make sure you get the shot. Ellen
  18. Bob, I've been very happy with the LaCie portable hard drives. I bought one for my trip to Indonesia last fall and it performed flawlessly. It was lightweight which was good for travel. It also had a built in cord for the USB port which meant I didn't have to worry about losing a cord. Mine also had a firewire connection. Here's a link to the various portable drives they offer: Lacie Portable Drives Right now they have a special on one of their rugged hard drives. Costs only $75. LaCie Rugged Hard Drive In the thread that Drew linked to, the Lacie Rugged Hard Drive was mentioned. Ellen
  19. Sea Hunt was one of my favorite TV shows when I was growing up. I seem to remember it was on TV on Friday nights, but I could be wrong. After years of wanting to see it on TV again, I finally got my wish last weekend when, much to my surprise, they had an episode of the show on late at night. It was totally by chance that I was watching TV at the time, so I was very lucky to see Mike Nelson again battling the underwater villians. Ellen
  20. Don't know how I missed these images before! You've done a wonderful job of capturing what you saw on your trip. It brought back a lot of memories for me as I recognized many of the same critters I saw in Indonesia last fall. There are so many excellent ones it's hard to choose a favorite but the one of the mushroom coral pipefish looking straight at the camera really impressed me. Thanks for sharing. Ellen
  21. While I don't have any answers, I'm glad you asked the question as I've wondered the same thing myself. I look forward to hearing what others have to say about this. Ellen
  22. I haven't used this light. But you might want to check out this article at Reef Photo and Video: Focus Lights, the Good, Bad and the Ugly At the end of the article they show a comparison of the output of each focus light they review in the article. Ellen
  23. I honestly don't think shooting in Manual is all that hard and I use it all the time. I've gotten used to adjusting the strobe if need be after checking the histogram after the shot. A long time ago, a very experienced friend told me that TTL is a crutch. And I've come to totally believe that myself. It's only really useful when a subject fills the frame, as in Macro, and it's so easy to adjust exposure using the instant feedback with digital. This situation was quite different with film where there was no instant feedback. If it were me, I would tend to bring the strobe even if the water were shallow. You never know when you might see something that doesn't come close and/or you might decide to go deeper. In those situations, you'd wish you'd taken your strobe. There's no law that says you have to use it, though, if you don't need it. I have aging baby boomer eyes myself and one thing I've sound that I really like is the GS Viewfinder on my Subal Housing. It makes all the difference in the world in being able to see things thru that tiny viewfinder. I don't know if Ikelite has anything comparable, but I know that Aquatica offers something similar to Subal's GS Viewfinder. Of course it would be more money to buy a new housing, but at least you'd be able to see what you're taking a picture of :-) Have fun on your trip! Ellen
  24. I don't think your pictures are as bad as you think they are. I really like the image of Monique and the Turtle. I am seeing a couple of items that I notice, though, that I think would improve your images. One of them is to get closer. That's one of the mantras of uw photography. Something like "if you think you're close enough, get closer". The other is to shoot up if you can. I think that's why I like Monique and the Turtle so much. It appears you're shooting up with your camera rather than down. As far as getting away from P mode, I agree with the others, the more you practice topside, the better and more comfortable you'll be with the settings underwater. Aperture Priority is a great mode to use underwater. Check your histogram after each of your practice shots, adjust exposure and pretty soon you'll have a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Remember that a lot of the images you see posted on this site were shot Raw and post processed on the computer. If you are not already shooting raw, I suggest you start. At the very least, shoot in Raw + jpeg. Get yourself a good raw image editor and learn how to make ordinary shots spectacular. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit :-) Hope that helps, Ellen
  25. Alex, I've signed up for the first week. Looking forward to meeting you and learning a lot about underwater photography. My biggest decision is whether to bring my old and well used D70s and Subal Housing or to dig into the wallet and get a Subal housing for my D300 Ellen
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