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phxazcraig last won the day on April 2

phxazcraig had the most liked content!

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About phxazcraig

  • Rank
    Sting Ray
  • Birthday 10/19/1953

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • Interests
    Photography, especially underwater. Diving. Motorcycling (numerous long distance trips on one BMW or another, including Europe). Chess - used to be a tournament player years ago. Travel (63 countries, 50 states). Computers (self-employed IT consultant for 19 years).

Additional Info

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    various Nikons
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-D1
  • Accessories

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  1. Good read. May I suggest you add at least something about the most common ways to get there, via east or west? To me, here in Arizona, it sounds like a pretty exotic location I have no idea how to get to. Craig
  2. I started underwater photography with a series of Canon point-n-shoots, culminating with the s120. (Which I still have.) I somewhat mistakenly thought a 1 inch sensor and strobes would solve all my problems when I upgraded the the Sony RX100 II, in a Nauticam housing with dual YS-D1 strobes, and a focus light, and some wet lenses. It was a 10x jump in cost to a total of $5000 or so. The strobes solved a bunch of problems, but the Sony's autofocus wasn't significantly better than my Canon point-n-shoot, and the slowness of it resulted in a lot of fish tail shots. Other than the strobes, there wasn't enough improvement from the s120 to make it worth the money. Since then I've moved to a D810 in a housing, and now a D850 in a housing. I'm happy with autofocus, less so with lens choice and logistics.
  3. Perhaps I could do with a drysuit, but I really don't want to go that route. I'm generally OK, I think, but for a couple of factors physically. Mostly I think water pumping past my lower back is at the root of my issues, but I'm also thin so have little padding, and I've lived in Phoenix for 40 years. You go through summers here (110F for weeks at a time, 99F at midnght...) you don't handle cold weather (or humidity) well.
  4. I'll have to check those references. Myself, I just use Lightroom. While I am on a trip, I do the best I can on a cheapish laptop in terms of post-processing. (I redo every shot once I get back home and can work on two large, color-balanced monitors). I end up with a single small Lightroom catalog that I simply import across-the-wire using my home network to merge laptop into desktop catalog. For me, that brings everything across, the I find file management pretty klunky in Lightroom. Once I get my files onto my main (Win 10) desktop, a scheduled batch file runs every night at 2am that copies new/changed picture files to a big NAS. I then have an immediate sync job that further copies photos to smaller NAS. I used to use a homebuilt Freenas box as my target, but I kept running out of space on desktop and NAS. I decided to try to get a big NAS and run directly from there over 1gbps ethernet. That idea was quickly abandoned as too slow, and I had to keep a lot of files on a local drive. But I made that a 2TB SSD drive for speed and just moved the rest to my NAS. The NAS has 27TB capacity, so I had plenty of extra capacity once I filled up my 4TB local drive to move things around.
  5. Thanks! I've wondered this for years. Every time I thought it was a Spinyhead, I'd see some picture of a blenny with almost antlers they were so 'spinyheaded'. These guys are all over the Roatan sive sites I go to, and even down at 60 feet sometimes.
  6. I've done a lot of diving in the Caribbean, mostly Roatan, and I'm confused about the blennie I see in Roatan. At first the divemaster called them Secretary Blennie, but some guides I used say that Secretary blennies always have an orange ring around the eyes. These never do. I think they are ether Roughhead or Spinyhead blennies, but depending on my source and the pictures, the subject might be one or the other, or neither.
  7. That picture was not 'a couple of megapixels'. That picture is almost uncropped and represents about 30-33mp of resolution. Here is a crop from it:
  8. I can't speak to Canon models specifically, because I shoot mainly Nikon. But in the Nikon world their is a choice that seems clear to me at the moment. That is, if you want to do video, go with mirrorless, and if you want to do stills, go with DSLR. That may be very Nikon-centric because it's a choice based on autofocus performance differences. My D850 is nearly unusable for underwater video where I am moving (surge) and a subject is moving and I'm trying to track the movement. A Z7 seems a much better choice. (Or, for the best video, a dedicated video camera.) As for megapixels, an enthusiast yes with a few caveats. Underwater you don't have a lot of lens flexibility, and I often find myself doing extensive cropping, especially with macro subjects. Going from a 12mp point-n-shoot (Canon) to a 20mp point-n-shoot (Sony) to 36mp (Nikon D810) and 45mp (D850), there is just so much more flexibility inherent in having enough pixels left after cropping to still have a decent image. Some caveats - high resolution may or may not be coupled with a loss of dynamic range, and dynamic range is extremely important underwater. One reason I love my D850 is the incredible post-processing latitude I have when shooting at ISO 64, even with 45mp. High resolution generally means upgrading your lenses and often your shooting techniques. Have you also considered the physical size of the gear you're heading toward? It's a real concern, getting worse as airlines clamp down on baggage limits.
  9. Here's a 36mp shot at F29 that still seems to have plenty of detail.
  10. That is a rope handle to lift the rig. It's how it is lifted in and out of the boat among other times. Craig
  11. Suggest you make a decent video of a test firing or two, showing the TTL settings, and being able to see both the subject and the rear LCD of the camera when you fire it (so as to see there was a flash, but also the results on the LCD). Almost everything you've posted indicates that the YS-D2J is not working with TTL, and not working in a way that suggests it is only firing on the TTL preflashes. (Any chance you have some weird SU-4 mode set on the strobe in some submenu?) I can see this with one, bout two new ones? (Any firmware updates for either camera or strobes available?). It seems the camera itself can nearly be ruled out as a cause, if it worked fine with the older flashes. I have YS-D1's, which are dead simple in terms of TTL options. There is a dial with TTL modes 1 and 2 (different camera types) or manual. No menus to get lost in.
  12. My thoughts on this may differ from the norm. I've been shooting FX since the D700 came out, currently using a D850 in a Nauticam housing. I have only two lens choices: 105vr and 16-35. I've tried adding some flexibility with the 60mm macro and a 1.4tc on the 105, but the 60mm focal length is too short, and the 1.4tc robbed too much sharpness for my liking. When I look at an APSC, I see a tradeoff. That tradeoff is image quality versus lens choices. Yes, I know that for most of you, the sheet size of the FX rig versus an APSC rig is a big deal, and it is. But for me, image quality is bigger. What I see as a clear win for APSC is having more useful lens choices, specifically a normal midrange zoom option. Fisheye? I can get the 8-15mm Nikkor, or others. And while I'm sitting here thinking, I suddenly start thinking about cropping, how much I do it, and the fact that a DX camera simply 'precrops' the image, I'm wondering why one couldn't simply stick the same DX lenses and smaller ports on the D850 and shoot it in DX mode? 19mp DX crop is quite good, and I often crop to DX and well beyond in post processing. So - not an ideal choice, but it IS still a choice.
  13. I use one of those typical lanyard straps with a quick release buckle with one end clipped to a D-ring on my left side. I've had the rig (negative buoyancy) dangle from the strap many times.
  14. I have the 180 Nauticam. One thing I particularly like about it is the ease of installation. In order to pack my rig, I have to swap out the 180 for the standard viewfinder so it will fit in the bag. (I've never used the standard viewfinder). I bought the 180 for a high eyepoint, so I could see to the corners more easily with a mask on. It succeeds there, but an added benefit is the 3rd point of stability when I hold my rig and press the eyepiece to the mask. I shoot both macro and wide angle this way, but I have to admit that a 45 degree could be very handy when down near the bottom. I'm fortunate to do a lot of wall shooting and sometimes cna just hover straight up and down with a subject at eye level.
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