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phxazcraig last won the day on April 2 2020

phxazcraig had the most liked content!

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About phxazcraig

  • Rank
    Eagle 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).

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

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8967 profile views
  1. I go back every year (except 2020) and stay at the same place (for the divemaster, mostly). I avoid West End/West Bay as those sites are heavily dived and damaged. I go to Oak Ridge and stay at the Reef House Resort. (Few amenities, but great people and the best dive sites.) If you go in the month of September you'll often have the dive boat to yourself as that is their down month. I'm often the only guest at the resort for the last week of September and first week of October.
  2. Seems typical for the times I've been there, yearly since 2014. There are schools of fish that come along, some very large. (Creole wrasse especially). Lots of smaller fish. Lionfish probably have changed the seascape from 20 years ago. But there is tremendous variety to be found. I see something new on almost every dive there, and I've dove there 170 times or so.
  3. No special critters or unusual conditions. This is just a nice section of a nice dive in Roatan off of Oak Ridge. I'm following the divemaster (David Valerio of the Reef House Resort) along the top of the wall. I love dive sites like this. Plenty to see and lots of places to poke around.
  4. Guessing here, but if the leak detector doesn't show a leak after 48 hours, then I think there actually was no leak at the surface. Which means something changed at depth, and I'm thinking that means that the pressure was enough to depress one of the buttons a bit. And that button has a defective seal that only shows up when it is depressed. Which would mean that it might be possible to find the leak at the surface by carefully holding in one button after another and looking for leak detection. Obviously this might take a long time - but perhaps might just show up almost as soon as the problem button is held down a few seconds. Another, seemingly unlikely, scenario would be the housing itself deflecting under pressure.
  5. For me it would be tougher, because I don't have the backpack. I have two suitcases, plus a roller, plus a waist bag. I normally just have to shlep the bags in/out of a car at the airport once in each direction. More than that gets challenging. If only I had a 3rd arm. Or that photo roller bag had backpack straps...
  6. After a year off, I returned to my usual dive spot in the Caribbean - Roatan. I come from the western US, and I've been to Roatan 9 ties. Covid protocols were in play for my trip, which took place the last week in September and first week in October, 2021. But once I got to Roatan, and out of the airport, just about everything was back to normal, though a reduced normal. Traveling to Roatan for me usually involves traveling through Houston. Or Miami, but I hate traveling to and through Miami. This year I had to overnight in Houston (or go via Miami) then pick up the 10am flight to Roatan. Aside from having to wear a mask the whole trip, when i got to Houston most of the airport restaurants were closed by 9pm. Getting into Honduras (Roatan) only required proof of vaccination. Once on site at my usual place - Reef House in Oak Ridge - it was really just back to normal the entire 2 weeks I was there. The day before I flew out I visited a doctor for a $20 quick test to allow me back into the US. Took about 20 minutes. Once back at the airport, it was back to masks. I did have empty seats on the Roatan flight. Looking at the crowd in the immigration hall, it seemed we had the usual amount of divers flying in, but very few of the usual local residents coming back home. (They go through a different line, and that line was very small.) All of the big resorts on Roatan closed for a year in 2020. I think they are just opening back up, but I visit at my resort's emptiest time of year so it is hard to tell. (My resort only has 11 rooms, so isn't representative.)
  7. I have just barely started trying video on my D850 (or any DSLR) on my last dive trip. After a few days of frustration, I figured out that you can't just fix things (white balance) in post with MP4 files like you can with NEF's. That at least got me something watchable once I learned how to set white balance. Now I'm trying to figure out other settings to make my videos look better. Specifically, shutter speed. (I'm assuming higher speeds may help when panning.) I shot my videos at 4k, 30fps. I set shutter speed to 1/60th, which really helped keep the ISO low while shooting ambient at F8, but which didn't necessarily give me the sharpest results. I know I'm supposed to 'see' motion blur in an expected way when setting shutter speed to double the frame rate. For the most part I like my videos so far, but not so much when I move the camera from side to side. Here's an example of one of my better videos.
  8. Had my first out-of-air experience last month in Roatan. Came back to the boat low (250psi) and then proceeded to video a new diver under the boat. Looked back at the gauge and saw 70 psi. As I ascended to the safety stop, I ran out and signaled to the divemaster I was out of air. He was there within a breath handing me a standard length octopus. I was holding my Nauticam D850 housing with dual strobes (clipped to my BCD). He sort of held onto my BCD from behind me, like a tandem parachute setup, with the octopus coming over my shoulder. No problem doing the safety stop with me looking at my dive computer on my wrist while holding the camera with the other hand. My divemaster thought nothing of it - said it happened a lot. Turns out there had been a diver there for two weeks who did this (ran out of air) on every dive!! He just came back to the boat with 100psi and expected some spare air I guess.
  9. Have you ever had your Nauticam housing serviced? If so, why, when? And how much did it cost? My D810 housing was four years old and nearing 200 dives, both of which are indicators for a service. Everything worked fine, but I didn't know if the housing really needed servicing or not. I looked up cost estimates (in the range of $500), but I never got any real details on getting it serviced. It was a partial excuse for me to just go get a housing for my D850, but that's now 2 years old with about 80 dives on it. Would love to hear experiences regarding housing maintenance by manufacturers in general, and how to tell when it needs to be done.
  10. Too late now, but I am interested in the details, particularly travel-related. I love diving Cozumel but haven't been in years. Used to be able to fly direct to Cozumel (from Tucson, I think). But then we lost that flight and it was a matter of flying to Cancun, getting a taxi to Playa Del Carmen, taking a ferry to Cozumel and then another taxi. And the reverse when you leave. With the amount of gear I have to haul it's a real pain to consider.
  11. I spent a couple of weeks in Roatan in October, some of it learning how to get an acceptable video out of the D850. For a few days we had unusually strong currents and surge. This video shows it pretty well. "Go With the Current, Not Against It"
  12. Indeed I did. Here is the following video, and in 4k this time. Actually I'll link both the Go Deeper 4k and the Spearing Lionfish 4k here: Here is the 4k version of Let's Go Deeper: https://youtu.be/UV9wje6xd84 And here is the Lionfish immediately after. https://youtu.be/dHd8y4ckH7U
  13. I've thought about going mirrorless, and the advantages and disadvantages for diving. I'm currently shooting a D850 in a Nauticam housing and very happy. Also used a D810 in a Nauticam for 4 years. Before that, a Sony RX100 II in ... a Nauticam housing. I've also used a series of Canon point-n-shoots before upgrading to DSLR. Coming from the Sony RX100 might be a similar path to your own. Here's the pros and cons I found, and where I think mirrorless has a serious edge. First off, I started with the RX100 and dual strobes. The strobes moved to the DSLR's so no advantage there, but some cost savings. Thing about the Sony was it had a pretty useful zoom range, though IQ was clearly not as good as the D810/D850. When I went to FX underwater, my lens choices were basically fisheye (ugh), wide angle 16-35, and macro, 60mm or 105mm. That pretty much left me as a 16-35 wide shooter or a 105mm macro shooter with nothing in between. So there's a bit of caution - lens choices are very limited. Once I started using the D810, it just excelled at stills. AF was fast and the camera very responsive. IQ outstanding. But video - I just really didn't ever do any video. AF not usable, and I didn't know video anyway. By the way, the 16-35 required a 230mm dome port, which is enormous and heavy and expensive. And it didn't give me decent corners until I added a S & S Internal Correction Lens. If you commit to wide angle on FX, it's definitely a commitment! The D850 was just more of the D810 - mostly faster autofocus. I started learning video with this camera last couple of weeks, and i have to say it does a decent job. But only if not trying to zoom the lens (noisy) or autofocus (almost hopeless). I think mirrorless has a big advantage here, save perhaps the D780. In fact I'm thinking that underwater, a Z7 II should be easier to use in most ways, or just about the same, as a D850. Underwater plays to its strengths, though I think above water I'd prefer a D850. It's just plain easier to do video on mirrorless cameras.
  14. Short video from last week in Roatan. I follow the divemaster over the edge of the wall to depth. (About 70-80 feet).
  15. What is your budget? I tried an RX100 II in a Nauticam housing for a year. For macro - extreme macro - I had a wet lens, but never got the hang of using it. Had a little wide angle wet lens as well for it. That gave it a pretty fair amount of versatility, particularly if you change wet lenses underwater. My rig had dual YS-D1 strobes and a focus light. Along with the camera the whole thing cost about $5000 new.
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