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Don Silcock

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Don Silcock last won the day on June 12

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About Don Silcock

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    Sting Ray
  • Birthday 11/23/1952

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D500
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  1. Hi, anybody out there have a Nauticam N120 20mm Extension Ring for sale please? I am in Sydney, but will pay international postage for sellers outside of Australia. Don
  2. Hi Mike, sorry for the slow response - only just saw your message... I was there in November last year. Don
  3. The original version of this trip report was posted on the front page of Wetpixel a few weeks ago, but I have now updated it and added some new images on the version I have done on my site. Here is the link to Diving the Witu Islands All the wide-angle images were taken with a Nikon D500 and 8-15mm lens in a Nauticam housing with the 140mm port, which I personally find to be really great combo. The macro images were taken with the 40mm Micro-Nikkor - I screwed up in the last minute packing and left my 60mm and 105mm macros behind... As they say the best lens you have is the one on your camera! I have been visiting Papua New Guinea regularly for 20 years, but this was the first time to the Witu Islands and I really was impressed. When you look at the location of the islands in the Bismarck Sea, relative to the rest of the Coral Triangle, it becomes clearer why they are such so biodiverse. Here are a few images to illustrate what I mean. Don
  4. in March last year I made the epic journey to the Ogasawara Islands to photograph the northern hemisphere humpback whales that visit the archipelago every winter. The Ogasawara Islands are one of the most isolated and remote parts of Japan. Getting there requires a 24-hour journey on the Ogasawara Maru ferry from Tokyo - there are no airports... It was a great adventure and my article on the trip has just been published in a six-page article in X-Ray magazine: https://indopacificimages.com/diving-the-ogasawara-islands…/
  5. South Africa has been on my personal wish list for quite some time and in the last year or so I have made three trips there - two to experience the sharks of the Protea Banks and the third for the incredible Sardine Run. The Protea Banks are located about 8kms offshore from the town of Margate in KwaZulu Natal province on the east coast of South Africa and the diving there is not for the feint hearted.... It's deep and the currents are strong, plus the next stop is Antarctica if you get separated! But it is a biodiversity hot-spot and there are up to seven varieties of sharks to be seen there - depending on the time of the year. Some in absolutely amazing quantities! I documented the whole experience in an extensive eight-page article that has just been published in the global dive magazine X-Ray who did a really nice job of laying it all out. If you are interested in learning more about this special location and the sharks to be seen there you can read more and download the article on this link to the Sharks of Protea Banks article.
  6. Last year I made the marathon journey from Sydney to south-east Mexico, near the border with Belize, to photograph the American Crocodiles of Banco Chinchorro. It was what you might call an intense experience, but one that I really enjoyed! I documented the whole thing in an extensive six-page article that has just been published in the global dive magazine X-Ray who did a nice job of laying it all out. If you are interested in learning more about these interesting creatures and what it's like being in the water with them you can read more and download the article on this link to the American Crocodiles of Banco Chinchorro
  7. I would be interested in the WACP if you do decide to separate.... Don
  8. Hi Liz, thanks and yes... I see what you mean - but relative to some of the other trips I have done the last few years it seemed like just down the road, which was probably what was in my head at the time! All the best, Don
  9. The current issue of X-Ray dive magazine features a comprehensive article of mine on the annual Australian Giant Cuttlefish aggregation at Whyalla in South Australia - plus I got front cover, if that is the right terminology for a PDF format downloadable mag.... The annual aggregation is an amazing spectacle to behold and incredibly happens just off the beach to the north of Whyalla at the top of the Spencer Gulf. It starts around the middle of May as the temperature starts to drop as the Australian winter approaches and there are literally thousands of these photogenic creatures gathered there, all intent on one thing - sex and the reproductive cycle. So focused are they on the task at hand that they virtually ignore you and you can get really close and capture some tremendous images. If you are interested in reading more about these creatures you can use this link to download the Amazing Australian Giant Cuttlefish article. Don
  10. After several years using Nikon FX underwater (D700 and then D800) last year I went back to DX when the D500 was released. I based that decision on my experience over the past few years since I got in to "big animal" trips - starting with the humpback whales of Tonga. Basically, up till then I did not see any real need for high frame rates and super-fast autofocus - but being in the water with those huge animals changed my perspective and I ended up quite frustrated with the D800 I had as my main camera and the OM-D E-M1 that was my back up. So I sold them and went for the D500, Nauticam housing and initially the Tokina 10-17, which had sat on the shelf for a number of years.... I have just completed 3 weeks in Mozambique and South Africa using the new Nikon 8-15 and the Nauticam 140mm dome and am over the moon with that combo. Which, when combined with two Sea & Sea YS250's (hernia model...) is, in my opinion, an almost unbeatable set-up for large animals at the overall price point it all comes in at. All that said, I am intrigued by the Nauticam WACP and Alex Mustard's excellent review of it. And while not 100% convinced I could justify the expenditure so soon after buying my current rig, I decided to buy a good sample of the Nikon 28-70 3.5-4.5 while they can still be had cheap. I tried it initially on the D500 but scared myself when I heard the noise coming from the old-fashioned A/F system on it when driven at speed by the D500. I got back to my place in Bali last night and tried it on my D750 "land" camera and it was OK, but still a quite noisy. So.... I wanted to post a few questions and see what other people's experience may have been. 1. Reviews of the 28-70 say it is a good lens that is quite sharp, plus it is small and seems to fit the bill for what Nauticam were looking for. And, as Alex pointed out - the dome is the restriction, not the lenses. But... can it cut the mustard (slight pun intended...) when it comes to using it with fast moving, big animals? 2. It seems like the excellent degree of coverage of the 28-70 behind the WACP would be best suited to "big picture" reef scenics? 3. If I do decide to "invest" back in FX and the WACP for underwater, I am wondering whether the D750 is a better choice than a D850? Don
  11. I have decided to go back to DX for underwater photography and have bought a Nikon D500 and managed to get one of the first Nauticam D500 housings to come out of the factory. I put it all together the other night and it all seems to work, so I am selling my D800 housing. I bought the housing about 3 years ago and it has performed very well. It has never been flooded, all the controls work really well and is in very good condition overall apart from some fraying of the handle material - see photos. This was my first Nauticam housing after 17 years of Subal and I subsequently bought housings for OM-D EM-1 and EM-5's as I experimented with mirrorless underwater. Overall I have been very impressed with the Nauticam housings and believe they offer excellent value for money. The housing is for sale at US$2000 - no offers please. I am also selling my D800 body and would do a package deal with a serious buyer. Postage and packing would be at the cost charged by Australia Post. PM me if you have any questions.
  12. Thanks a lot for the feedback and the comments - greatly appreciated! Don
  13. Last year, after a couple of failed attempts to get there, I spent three weeks in Tonga to swim with and photograph the humpback whales that migrate there every winter from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic. To say it was a seminal experience would be an understatement... I have been fortunate to dive in many parts of the world, but this was my first experience with such large creatures. Tonga is not the easiest place to get to, particularly if you are traveling from the Europe or North America as you have to go through either Sydney or Auckland to get to the capital Nuku Ľalofa which is the only international gateway. Then you have to get up to the north of the archipelago to Neiafu in the Vava'u group of islands which is where most of the whale watching is based because of the sheltered bays in that area. But it's worth the journey because the whales are there, their numbers are slowly but steadily increasing and the encounters you can have are simply fantastic as Tonga is one of the few places in the world where a limited number of operators are licensed to take people in the water with the whales. As I normally do on my big trips I have documented my experiences and images on my site - no financial angle here.... I paid for my trips myself and there is no advertising on my site. I just like to write about my experiences, simple as that. There are numerous pages on the humpback whales of Tonga, covering everything from their annual migration to the different types of encounters you can have together with the logistics involved. You can access all that through this link to my site and PM me if you would like any advice based on my personal experience. Don
  14. Last year I spent 10 days in Crystal River, Florida swimming and snorkeling with the manatees. It was a great experience and one I have wanted to do for a number of years, but Florida is so far from my part of the world that I just never was able to do it before. It's also pretty confusing from a distance to understand what is actually required to swim with and photograph the manatees... There seemed to be a lot of rules, but exactly how they apply to underwater photographers was not clear till I got some great help from Bill Oestreich and Marty Senetra at Birds Underwater and Gregory Sweeney - who freely offered advice despite the fact that my dates could not work with his guided trips. It looks like (for once in my life...) my timing was superb as I had a great time and had some real quality moments with these wonderful creatures, plus I was able to understand a lot more about them and their overall, somewhat troubled, relationship with the terrestrial residents of Crystal River - a very interesting situation! My timing was good because access to the manatees is changing and some of the new rules were being put in to place when I went back to the Crystal River in January after a shark trip to the Bahamas. I have written a pretty comprehensive location seven-page guide to Crystal River and the Florida manatees on my site to help others who are interested in experiencing these interesting and photogenic animals. Just follow the links at the bottom of each page or click on the relevant page you are interested in on the sidebar. I also had a 18-page article on the Manatees of the Crystal River published in Anima Mundi magazine, with my favorite photograph from the trip getting the front cover! I will update my site when the ramifications of the proposed changes at the Crystal River go in to place. Don
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