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calbeardiver

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calbeardiver last won the day on September 2

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About calbeardiver

  • Rank
    Triggerfish

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    California

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  • Show Country Flag:
    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    GH4
  • Camera Housing
    Nauticam
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    YS-D2

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  1. Ken - what airline did you use to get to Manado? All Singapore Air? And was this a code share, or separate vendor from the one used to get to Singapore? 2 hours is a short layover after such a long west bound flight. I don't even like to do that with Houston anymore. I managed to book my flight to Cebu all on United, making the luggage arrangements and missed flight scenarios more friendly, but it was a bit awkward as it was $700 cheaper to make it a multicity SFO->TPE, TPE->CEB rather than a simple SFO->CEB. And more often, it's just not possible to get a decent fare all on united, so regional airlines come into play, and safer to show up further in advance. My wife wants to see Singapore (I've been once for work), so whenever we do the Lembeh routine, we'll have 2-3 days layover. We used to do this at the end of the trip, but we're too exhausted by then to really play tourist. -Jason
  2. The 'rule' of thirds is often helpful- where you want the foreground object, or where you want the lines of the ship to run. Both of your examples I think exemplify how center placement can often be displeasing. (though I do enjoy making fish in the foreground look more massive than divers in the background) Having a trained model can be great, though I've never had that luxury. My wife is whatever the opposite would be. But how divers interact with a wall or a wreck is somewhat predictable, so you can try to anticipate them going to where you want. Their use of lights to illuminate also lends to good comps, and just having them lets you give scale to the grander backgrounds. My GH4 housing had a very useful level to turn off the flash, great when it true open WA where the strobes add nothing but can slow down shooting rate. Burst mode gives more chances to get the fins and bubbles in a nice way. I don't think the R5 does, but at least I was able to jump to a flash trigger.
  3. Wide Angle is really about the composition above all else. Really benefits from human subjects to give it scale and focus. I think you just need to log some dives and subjects and see what you like. I'm doing a circuit around Cebu in December. That will be the variety tour - there are islands for macro, ones that are known for whale sharks and threshers, swarms of sardines, and everything in between. Great for the diving bit, but it may be a challenge to get dialed into any particular type of shooting.
  4. did it impact your subsequent rates, however? I had an, ahem, minor mugging incident that resulted in a few thousand dollars in loss. With the deductible, limitations, and future consequences for filing a claim, my agent advised that doing so was a losing proposition. It seems more suitable for major events than mid 4 figure damage. Now that my housing and camera were each 3800 (R5), plus a lens, we're close to a 10k loss, but that is still pretty minor. A full loss including the strobes and ports pushes it a big closer to 15.
  5. Are we talking about the same location? I'm going to want to clarify as I'm set for next year there and would like to do some free diving training, and consider if I need/want even bigger fins than the ones I have (mares avanti quattro power). @oneyellowtang -how deep would you try to get to to improve the composition? While I've generally had a good SAC for my size, my single breath history with abalone diving is terrible. I'm hoping a few days of instruction will help that.
  6. It's great to hear you've found a new partner. Congrats! It's hard to get a sure thing in January, but GC may be worth the gamble if you see things to do topside. (I've never spent more than a day not diving - so visit Hell, go to the Turtle Zoo, and then? I just don't know. But GC has been adding wrecks and the there was one site nearby with nice 45 degree coral tunnel swimthrus. Lots of good wide angle stuff. You've always been macro focused, but if the intent is to prep for Truk, I think you want to leave the macro lens/port behind and just log time with your new WA lens setup. GC also has the somewhat gimmicky sting ray city that your partner could do as a non diver while you're slightly deeper.
  7. I'm sorry I missed your question when it could have been useful information. Blue Water Photo in LA ran the trip which started last week (22nd) for 12 days on the Rocio Del Mar. Charter price was 4495. BW has a couple of these each year, but I suspect the boats do it more frequently - iow, this isn't a repositioning charter. If you want the full trip description, PM me and I'll send a url (which otherwise might border on advertizing?).
  8. I'm considering a dive charter that runs from the top of the Gulf down to La Paz, as it will let me get one tour of the area I've not been, without having to meet the gauntlet.
  9. Ken - yes, it it were contained to less than $100, it would be easy to write off as a 3rd world nuisance fee. But someone with 10k in gear (say a Nauticam housing for an R5 or worse that costs over 5k now) - the tax on that is 7 or 800 bucks! Lots of people have reported paying in the hundreds. Though having to pay $50 on a "professional" gopro rig seems equally offensive. If it were a legal, defined fee, people could make the assessment, just as they do with the various tourist taxes (Cocos is not cheap here). Or if divers actually represented a real chunk of business in Cabo, the diving businesses could stop the shake down. But neither is true. I scratched my Socorro itch once and if I want to do the Baja gulf, I'll do one of those trips where you drive from Phoenix and then fly home from Cabo. But otherwise, there are many options out there that actually respect our business. Jason
  10. Fiji Airways is an example where the 9" depth is shrunk to 7.8, and they do inspect (or did on my last pass) very carefully. But like many, they do not apply the weight restriction against camera gear. I picked the smaller Airport Advantage to meet these tighter restrictions, and it can take a good amount, though only ports for M43 or smaller.
  11. looks like you found a way that works well enough. But the alt I can suggest is to get the nauticam bag for the housing and treat it as your personal item. One came with the R5 housing, but is available separately (Camera Housing Padded Travel Bag - 87-113 depending on size). It lets you avoid dealing with the handles, and leaves space on top for wallet/passport/phone or your o-ring/lube collection and the vacuum pump. I have the slightly smaller thinktank roller (7.8" instead of 9" for the more restrictive airlines) and can get the R5, 3 lenses, 3 strobes, 4 Solas, 3 dive computers, and the misc stuff for these. Conceptually one could stick the camera in the housing, but I'd rather it be in the padding.
  12. no, they are not upfront, and are flat out violating their own rules. You're permitted two cameras and their accessories. A housing is an accessory. The Nautilus Fleet gives you a playbook for responding to the shakedown. Unfortunately, it doesn't work and the boat operators are a pretty tiny part of the tourism industry in Cabo. I would like to go to Cabo Pulmo and a cruise up or down the Sea of Cortez, but not while this continues. I've scratched my Socorro and Guadalupe itches.
  13. Burned might not be quite the right word. In July 2020 was to go there for the grouper spawning at Fakarava as part of 10 day cruise to Rangiroa. Add to the boat the interisland flights and 2 nights hotel at the end points, and 3 nights at Fakarava and (terrible move by my bookers), 10 dives paid for Prodive). Of course it didn't happen. One night hotel was not refundable, the rest is a mix of refunds and mostly credits. Air Tahiti gave me until the end of Sept to rebook the interisland flights, so I figured things would be in good shape by February this year. Book another international flight, more hotels (made sure all cancelable), new flight for a few bucks more, and upgraded the Fakarava hotel. Come January, this was a 'should we do it or not decision' which we were leaning against when the country closed it borders again. This time Chase got the interisland flight refunded, but I still have 3 nights and 10 dives there, and a dive boat credit that will probably be pretty good, but makes me a bit nervous until I do as it's ~13k USD. United was (eventually) pretty good about refunds/credits in a way I was ok with, but on the first try, I had made the daring move to use French Bee for the return flight, because the days of the week United does didn't mesh well. Here I got the ticket class that did allow for refunds, but FB decided it would not honor that, despite the contract and US law prohibiting such for cancelled flights. They continued to sell such 'non refundable' tickets even while deny my request and the case I opened with the DOT. Happily Chase would do a reversal even though it was ~9 months after the time of booking. To date I've only lost a little bit of money and so long as I can use the boat credits, I'll be at least even. It's more the loss of the trips that hurt (like for all of us), and for now, I'd rather avoid any more and pick the spots with the most potential to succeed, or the ones that can be arranged on fairly short notice. Someday I'll make it to Fakarava and Rangiroa, but maybe I'll take baby steps and try to get to Moreea for whale season. When pandemic considerations no longer apply, it's a very accessible location from California.
  14. Florida has passed its peak and is now below US average for new case rate and may be tenable in early November, before the Thanksgiving holiday travel has the potential to start another winter surge season. Unfortunately, it's difficult to plan with any accuracy beyond a few weeks. I think the strategy of picking from destinations with the most simple flight path is the sound way to go. That's why I'm not ready to even think about 2022 destinations like Indonesia or the Philippines until they officially reopen I already got burned twice by French Polynesia, even though that is a fairly simple direct flight from SFO or LAX.
  15. I did an Exumas charter out of Nassau in late July where I was testing out my new R5 rig. I primarily shot 8-15, but I did take the 100mm in on 3 dives to get some experience. I wouldn't describe the Bahamas as a macro destination, but there were a number of the flamingo tongues and a variety of shrimp and small crabs, and a few lettuce nudis. My main discovery is that while I didn't need a manual focus on my prior 4/3rds setup, I very likely do on the FF. Depth of field is an issue with the banded shrimp.
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