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About calbeardiver

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  1. do you attribute the missed dives primarily to boat crowding, or to the unfavorable weather? It does seem as though there are more liveaboards for this area now than ever before. Galapagos spreads it out by forcing boats to specific itinerary, but at cost of flexibility to deal with conditions.
  2. no, I had a great time there. But the least experienced person in the group of 20 at the resort would be the most experienced in the average 6 or 12 pack in Cozumel. We were all effectively solo diving with a spotter shared among 3-4 people. There was no value add from a divemaster standpoint. The only part where there could be is around prediction and mitigation of currents, and that was a complete miss. If the point is to get training in how to corral and assist divers that need help, go where the divers need help. If the point is to practice macro photography and get a shiny card in the process, I already endorsed it for that reason.
  3. if the objective is just to get a patch, sure, go to any "PADI 5 Star" location and put your dollar in. If the goal is the become a competent DM, that requires some field experience, and Anilao isn't the place, unless you're going to DM there.
  4. thinking further, if DM training is your primary concern, Dumaguete would be better call. Anilao doesn't really have divemasters, it has critter spotters. And nearly all the customers (experienced, camera toting solo divers) are going to ignore your advice anyway.
  5. and yet, the California dive industry somehow managed to survive, despite being charted in the US, unlike virtually every liveaboard outfit in the world. The DMs don't even get in the water. The exposure is non existent, and the protective benefit from litigation this move would make is equally so. It's like the outfits that put an AOW requirement for deeper dives or night dives, even knowing how pointless that cert card has become. (It's shocking how expensive it's gotten as well - what used to be a silly $99 cert is now 3-5x that)
  6. on that front, I would say that for the same reasons we don't want OW students carrying cameras, new DMs probably shouldn't be mixing the two either. Now if you're just formalizing with the card and already have history serving as dm/ai/guide, less a concern. How long would you be able to go out there for each?
  7. Does "hundreds of dives of solo experience" translate to "equivalent?" I'm not going to take a class now. In the 90s, I did buy a pony rig and carry it, back when I strung all sorts of crap from my d-rings, before seeing the benefits of the DIR/HOG divers. Yes it was a redundant supply, but at the risk of snag points and extra poundage. A 13ft pony is essentially the same 500 psi reserve, so I stopped bothering. In hindsight, an H valve would have addressed it far better. Appreciate the comment about current. I had an illusion from their lovely brochures that this wasn't present there, even though that would make little sense. Current quite often translates to life. But I made that mistake with Anilao and my wife was a bit upset. She can do camera, or current, but not both.
  8. given how low the posting volume here is, should anyone really be throwing out the 'use the search function' reply? The moderators apparently raised the min post level to 3 because they felt WP is just a classifieds forum, and want higher participation rates. Do those threads address his questions as a new photog? Or would he need to read between the lines of 150 posts to figure it out?
  9. As i wrote in DM, if these two are in matching condition, I'd be happy to team up with Mike and buy the pair, and then one of us will drive 40 miles to buy one.
  10. other thoughts (was there first week this month) -leave the floaties behind. You're planted on the sand, overweighted by a lot (I went from 12 to 39 lbs), with the current pushing you from behind as you hold position in the lineup. A floaty camera is just a sail in the wind. And should a shark grab it (my dome got bitten, but not taken), it's not going to hold it for long. I think you want it to sink immediately when it spits it out, so it can't go very far. A bouyant camera may drift to Newfoundland. I shot both fisheyes and narrow zooms. Had enough close passes that I think the fisheye was more valuable. The conditions were often poor enough that the reach of a longer lens did little good. Did some time without strobe, where the GH4 can fire fast. Flash exposure was definitely a challenge- esp with the hammerhead. If it's low, the black top and the sand behind give tough choices. If it then swims head height or higher on the next pass, you got the white underbelly and any manual settings from the prior pass are all wrong. The current and your need to turn around a lot with your 'armor' (the camera) have the arms moving a lot. I thought about going to single arms to deal with it, but then more potential for backscatter. Bring the gopro and mount on top, just let it run when there's multiples in the water. In all, felt like I missed a lot more shots than I made. I traveled light and didn't bring my laptop, so wasn't doing nightly reviews. That was a mistake. Had a great time, in any event. 14 unique tigers over the 14 dives in the week, and 2 hammers. Maxed out at 6 at one time.
  11. If you're keen towards macro and have sufficient dive experience to be looking towards photography in the first place, can't go wrong with Anilao. Fly to Manila, 3 hr van ride from there. Can do 4 dives per day from land, but at half the cost of a (cheaper) liveaboard, though the usual price not being able to drop tank and go straight to shower/bed, have to motor for 15-30 mins. The subject density is ridiculous - the guides will nag you for the next target before you're done with the current. And since most of it is in the sand, can usually just plant your body down and just focus on your strobe aim. Due to the tidal currents, it's likely one of the 4 dives could be a humdinger for some or all of the time underwater. Some current experience is nice to have - the camera is a sail. Small boats more common - 3-4 divers + a guide. To the middle part of the country are destinations with bigger stuff - whale sharks, threshers, so forth, but I don't have any personal experience.
  12. Greetings, all. I'm Jason from San Francisco. I've long followed WP to see the classifieds and see trip discussions, finally establishing an ID to do a bit more. Started 19 years back with the simple Aquashot lines (2, APS, 35mm), then a few compact digitals (S400, 570), then an Aquashot 20D and most recently a Nauticam GH4. Love the compactness, but miss the optical viewfinder. Cheers
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