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Posts posted by Fruitographer

  1. Let me first say that I'm a red head and no topical sunscreen has ever worked well for me if at all. That being said, I now live in Florida full time and have also spent time in Costa Rica with some intense sun as well. I've found a solution that works better than anything else guaranteed and haven't worn sunscreen for over ten years and haven't been burnt once as long as I fresh home made carrot juice.


    I've got a spinal injury from a parachute accident with broken screws in my back. I've got to drink fresh home made juice every day or my back gets so bad I can't get out of bed. Usually I make carrot, celery, green apple which tastes amazing and gives you more energy than I ever thought was possible with no crash. It takes about 2-5 pounds of carrots juiced each day for this to work and it takes a week or so to start taking effect. I figured this out when I went to Costa Rica and was on the beach during high noon with no shirt and I didn't get burnt while others wearing sunscreen did. This blew me away because I was always the first to get burnt and could usually feel my skin starting to burn within 5 min normally. I knew something was different so I started researching and found that the betacarotene helps protect from the sun. I've found a couple articles that say to eat tomatoes or other things with betacarotene for protection as well. Let me say that it won't make a difference. I'm a raw vegan that buys tomatoes by the case. One winter I ate 1,300 points of tomato from my local organic farm and it didn't make any difference for sun protection. The only thing that works is juice and carrots specifically.


    Most people first think about turning orange from the carrots but I've had none of that. The reason people turn orange is because the betacarotene is leaching out the toxins through your skin which shows up as being orange. Once your body adjusts it will return the a proper skin color with maybe just a slightly more tan look.


    Now I tend to tan more or maybe for me it's mostly freckles but I don't get burnt. That being said I still take precautions and where a steamer suit or long sleeves to give me adde protection. Even if you don't get burnt the sun can do some serious damage and make you look much older than you really are. A close friend of mine used to sit out in the sun every day and now he looks jacked up compared to how he should be at his age. So the first step would be to get a steamer suit which I know ScubaPro has and also drink plenty of carrot juice each day.


    there was one time I stopped drinking carrot juice and I got severely burned in half the amount of sun I was normally in with juice. The first thing I did was drink a half gallon of carrot juice and put some aloe on. That night I went to sleep with no pain in a hot room and no fan. Normally I would need a fan directly on the burn and sleeping would be miserable. There was also no peeling afterwards either and I retained more of a tan instead. Of course I kept drinking juice everyday after as well to help.


    Most sunscreen actually has carcinogenic ingredients which is ironic because that's one thing most people are trying to protect themselves from.

  2. I've been looking into this as well. I was looking at using a set of Profoto D1 studio strobes on the surface with a light modifier. To trigger them, I was going to set them for IR slave and use my Ikelite Ds161 although any strobe would work that would be just above the water surface using some kind of float and connected through sync cord. Set it to the lowest power that will still trigger the slaves to save battery and keep from overheating. I would be just underneath with the camera underwater.


    The other option is to do light painting with a long exposure and the camera on a tripod you don't mind putting in the water. there are a few images you can find through Google but not many. I think the best way would be to use a combination of strobes and light painting. That way the strobes will light the subject well and make them look sharp so movement from the long exposure doesn't create blur. Use a front curtain sync so the flash goes off as soon as the shutter is opened and then paint in what ever design you want. for the background. That would also take care of your question about what background to use.


    If you don't have the ability to use surface strobes then you need to remote trigger multiple strobes in different locations. I've been looking into strobes quite a bit lately and the Ikelite strobes are durable and seem to be one of the best for remote use. At least this is the option I've found to be the best and prefer, others may have different opinions or advice which I greatly welcome since I'm always trying to expand my knowledge base. In Florida there are many crystal clear water springs that are perfect for fashion underwater. that takes care of the background as well. This would require the set up I just described.


    As for a model, I've got a friend that's a mermaid in an underwater show that's completely comfortable underwater with her eyes open. She would be a perfect candidate if I can talk her into it. A free diver would be your best choice since they can hold there breath the longest allowing you to get the shot you need. They will also be the most comfortable in the water making it easier on you and resulting in a better shot.


    Ben Von Wong did some underwater fashion shoots that were absolutely incredible but he had a full team and lots of help. Not really possible for the average person but they're still amazing none the less. He's got some youtube videos of the shoot and how they did it. That would be worth looking at.

  3. I just got my Ds161 in the mail and thought I would do a comparison of output powers . It wasn't exactly controlled but close enough to get the idea. I set up a DS125 and DS161 in the same spot and then at a marked distance about 20 inches away took a reading with my Sekonic 758 light meter. The DS161 has ten power levels and the 125 only has 4. The lowest power setting on the the DS125 was level 3 on the DS161 meaning you could go almost 2 stops lower on the DS161. Each level on the DS161 was about .5 EV at the lower end. As far as full power the DS 125 had the same max power as the DS161 did, in fact the DS125 would be about a tenth of a stop brighter. If you need fine tune lighting, go with the DS160 or DS161. Both these strobes work off TTL, which means you can get the same results with the DS125 as you can with the DS161 using TTL. The biggest difference is price since the DS125's are substantially cheaper. So if you don't need small incremental changing in the amount of light you want the DS125 is what you want. You can also use an EV controller which has 10 power levels available. If you can trigger it optically as a slave with the setup you have the DS125 will do everything the DS161 will for a smaller price.


    Lets compare the price between the two setups for remote slaves.


    DS125 - $250 on ebay + EV Controller $180 = Total $430


    DS161 / DS160 + EV Controller $180 = $880 / 630

    $700 / $450


    All setups should give the same results but the DS125's are substantially less.

    You pretty much have to have remote strobes for the caves. So for me it's an easy decision.

  4. One thing I can say for sure is stay away from anything Sea & Sea. If you already have something from them, sell it. I had a YSD2 and since it was new the battery contacts had issues sometimes and right when I would enter the water it would just shut off, even with brand new batteries. I scraped to all the contacts as clean as I could and it seemed to work a little better after that. Still frustrating for something brand new. Now It is no longer usable after it flooded through the strobe section of it's housing. The battery compartment was completely dry but water was around the bulb. I sent it in to get fixed and after around three months of nothing, they finally tell me they can't fix it and I'm just out $700 dollars. It was only 14 months old and the warranty was only 12 months so they wouldn't replace it either.


    I've had the opportunity to use some of Big Blue Lights 15,000 lm and 25,000 lumen video lights. These are very bright and would definitely work for you. The only problem is the edge of where the light stops is very sharp. So if turned on and pointed toward a completely black wall, it would be a very sharp edged circle. I've been looking into diffusers for them that would feather the edge. There is no comparison between these and a 3,000 lumen video light. In fact a 3,00 lumen video light won't do much and is just on the edge of being enough light with such a wide flat spread. All that being said, I would definitely rather have a strobe for still photos than I would a video light. Even compared to the 2,500lm light, I can get brighter shots with a strobe.


    I started cave diving a couple years ago and have been working on under water photography in the caves since I started. Not nearly as much experience as some but I can tell you what I've tried and am going to use for myself. Every cave photographer I've seen use Ikelite strobes. I've been borrowing a friends DS125 for a little while and have been very happy with what it's capable of. I've also got a DS161 I recently purchased that should arrive any day.


    I've already done the research for you and have been looking into this specific topic for the last two years.I've also been researching for friends to get some strobes to photograph caves within the same parameters you listed. If you can afford it, the DS161 with Li-on batteries is the way to go. Since you're on a budget, I'm going to recommend the same thing for you as I do my own friends. Just get some DS125 and you'll be set. They are by far the cheapest and most durable strobe that will work well for you. I saw a pair of them go recently for around $375 but usually they're $200 a piece. They also have two different diffusers available as well depending on how soft you need the light.

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  5. I have a single YS-D2 strobe and experienced issues with power when I first bought it. Occasionally I would put fresh batteries in it and do a test fire on land, as soon as I got in the water it wouldn't turn off and act like the batteries were dead. I would put another set of fresh batteries in and it would work fine. It was very inconsistent with it's behavior but it always seem to come down to a power issue.


    I'm excellent at troubleshooting automotive electrical issues and have done extensive amounts of custom wiring for computer networks so I feel very comfortable trying to figure what was wrong. My first step was to check the electrical connections to see if something was causing intermittent power loss. At first everything looked great and all connections were clean. When it happened again I double checked the battery terminal. There was a slight coating of something on one of the terminals that you could barely see. It was darker in color and only looked like a smudge that would never be enough to cause a problem. I cleaned it off and brought it back to fresh clean metal and haven't had a problem since.


    So If you're having a problem with your strobe, try cleaning the battery contacts and get them down to fresh clean metal. It worked for me so hopefully it will help some one else as well.

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