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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. 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.
  2. Some sea lion shots from San Pedro Island, Mexico:
  3. Keep 'em coming! I've posted others in another thread, but I'm trying not to duplicate. Here are some more. When an eel gets too close:
  4. Some more shots: Anyone else seen an underwater magnifying glass? This one was from Holland .
  5. What is balance? Or rather what is 'good enough' balance? I've done no experimentation since I bought my first pair of strobes, for an RX100 rig. Since then I've moved them to a D810 rig, and now a D850. I put a pair of STIX floats on each arm in 2015 and haven't looked back since. I shoot either a 230mm dome port, or a 105mm macro port, with the same floats. The rig is negatively buoyant, but how much is too much? And it's still negative with the 230mm port, but not as much and definitely not as balanced. The dome wants to float up a lot, and so it torques my hands to hold it level. But not that bad, or I'm just used to it after 5 years now. Does anyone really change floats between macro and dome port shooting? I've just never bothered, but I could see maybe adding a bit more flotation and a wheel weight or two under the front of that dome.
  6. Fighting Social Isolation, one post at a time! How about a few more images from Roatan? Here is a Split-Crown Feather Duster caught in the act of disappearing back into its hole:
  7. What's it like diving the Red Sea? By that I mean not just dive conditions and temps, but dive operations, lodging and travel? Here in the states, the vast majority of my diving opportunities are in the Caribbean. One wonders what it is like elsewhere.
  8. More thoughts. (Bored from social isolation). Like so many have said - it depends. Depends on the dive conditions Depends on the subject Depends on your competence Like others, I say you need to get a basic set of skills down, mostly buoyancy, but perhaps more important than anything is to be comfortable diving, especially with your equipment, so that you have some level of awareness for what's going on around you in addition to your dive situation. Then, get a small point-n-shoot camera and tether it to your right wrist. It should be small enough to just dangle without causing you an issue. The wrist strap should be tightened so that the camera will not fall off while you thrash through some surprise. I find that using a camera will tend to force you to improve buoyancy skills, but also leads to concentration on a subject to the detriment of situational awareness. I guess a classic example would be when my wife concentrated so hard to get a good shot of a lionfish that she did not notice she was sinking. She then busted an eardrum, which was already weak from previous ruptures. That was only the 3rd dive on a week-long liveaboard in Fiji.
  9. A couple of random thoughts. I dive with a D850 in a Nauticam housing and a 230mm dome port. I used to take the Neoprene cover off underwater and simply stick my arm through a hole, up to my armpit. My strategy failed in Maui due to strong currents. The cover got swept off and away as I entered the water, so now I just take the cover off on the boat. On the socks - I've been using a pair of Apollo Bio Fins since 2006, and until they wore out I had a pair of hard-soled booties that were nice to walk in. But those booties were a little bit loose. I very often got lower leg cramps until one day I tried on a pair of (very thin) neoprene socks. The original reason (and they work fantastically well for it) was to make it easier to slide my feet into the wetsuit. What became clear though was that my lower leg cramps almost disappeared. Evidently you don't want dive booties fitting loose (like a cowboy boot). There has been a downside though. Ever since I started using dive socks and making my feet tighter in the boots I've had an issue with a grain of sand getting caught between two toes. By the end of a dive I'll have a small sore - or worse - worn into the sides of those toes. So now I premptively wrap a bandaid around my long toe before a week of diving. Problem solved. On barnacles - I wish I had gloves on for my first open water dive in St. Thomas. Went down an old line and sliced one of my fingers pretty well. Blood is green at 70 feet, by the way. On tethering: I'm a zealot here. I once participated in an unsuccessful search for a new rig that got away from a diver as he was getting back on board. First thing I do when I get in the water is attach my tether, before I descend. My tether isn't on a retractor and is about 3 feet, and stretches for more. I let go of my rig quite a lot actually, letting it hang down while I take care of business.
  10. For me it definitely is autofocus. If I'm stable enough, I have the focus point on the subject the whole time and have a continuous autofocus going. The problem with current surge I often have is that I'm not stable enough to keep the focus point where I want, so I have to 'last-second it. And it still works.
  11. I shoot a fair bit of macro with the D850 and 105vr. Nauticam housing and macro port. I've also done it a few times with a 1.4TC attached to the 105vr. Before using the D850 I used a D810 for 3 years with same lens and port. I use single-point, AF-C, back-button focus most of the time, especially for macro. I want the focus point to be where I want it. I generally leave it in the middle of the frame as well for macro. When I don't shoot macro, I sometimes put the camera in Group mode for moving fish, but I haven't really played with the 3D mode. I;'m so used to 9- and 25-point on previous cameras that I tend to favor a very small group if using a group at all. As for the 105vr and moving macro targets, I find the D850 to be outstanding and much much better than the D810 in the same situation. I'm specifically thinking about shooting blennys in current surge here - you know what I mean. Depth of field: 1/4 inch. Diver movement during shot: 4 feet. With the D810 I'd try to keep the focus point on the subject, surge in and hit the shutter release, fingers crossed the focus would be achieved in time. I once took 31 shots and only got 2 in focus. Then I switched to the D850. Now I no longer bother with 30 attempts - the success ratio was about 31 out of 31. This is putting the focus point on the subject, and very quickly pressing the AF-ON button (lever) and then tripping the shutter.
  12. Ah - you have a non-roller bag, correct? Some years ago I bought a Thinktank roller bag thinking a) it would be about the same size as my Airport Accelerator, and b) it would have backpack straps. Neither was true, so I never used it until I had a bunch of very heavy dive camera gear to fill it. The bag is considerably smaller inside due to the pull handle and the wheel wells. It feels 30% smaller than my Accelerator, which is indeed the same size outside when closed up. Without the wheel wells, I could get the macro port in, and perhaps the 90mm extension as well. And it would be very heavy. My bag is 31 pounds now. One of the issues I have is that I can't stack anything on top of the dome, and save perhaps for some socks, I can't make use of the area inside the dome. And it's kind of hard to fit things underneath the dome as well. It's just a huge, inefficient lump in the middle of a bag. It would be nice to have the whole dome inside some tupperware container so you could at least stack something on it.
  13. When I was buying my dome port, the two options looked identical except for price (and availability). Bluewater Photo advised me that the dome ports were pretty much the same. I bought the Nauticam. I shoot a Nikon 16-35, first on a D810, now on a D850. Incidentally, there seems to be a bit of a port controversy. I bought in 2015, and was recommended a 90mm extension for the 230mm dome port. Previously it seems a lot of people were recommended 70mm extensions. In my case, I was never happy with the corners on my shots, no matter what aperture I used. I was told a +2 diopter would help, but I saw no difference. I was actually kind of pissed that I paid so much and hauled such big gear around only to get crappy corners. Then I added the Sea and Sea Internal Correction Lens (a screw-on filter), and the difference was astounding. F5.6 is where I like to shoot now, and the corners are good.
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