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Drew

Wetpixel Ocean Safari begins Monday

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Couple of bait ball action shots - these ones are not best quality but I think they demonstrate what bait ball diving is all about pretty well:

 

_DSC2970-Edit-2_700.jpg

 

_DSC3011-Edit-3_700.jpg

Edited by pats0n

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Great images Alex! I'd love to see what you think best quality looks like. :)

 

Steve

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Wow!...enough said.

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Alex,

There is an almost 'painted' quality to these images, unlike anything I have ever seen underwater. Really exceptional.

Are these straight out of camera as shot, what, if any, post-processing have you done? Can you give us EXIF data?

Edited by loftus

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Alex,

There is an almost 'painted' quality to these images, unlike anything I have ever seen underwater. Really exceptional.

Are these straight out of camera as shot, what, if any, post-processing have you done? Can you give us EXIF data?

 

first four I posted are straight out of camera shots with some very minimum contrast/saturation correction (none of first four are cropped) - conversion is done in Adobe Lightroom and sharpening for web is done in Photoshop;

 

second two are more difficult shots due to bigger lighting difference of the scenes, so I used Capture NX for conversion which does better job in pulling shadows and filtering noise then Lightroom for NEF's, especially in D300 14 bit mode. First image of two is cropped and second has some retouching (some dolphin tails are removed from left bottom corner). That's pretty much it.

 

Each image has EXIF preserved.

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Great images Alex! I'd love to see what you think best quality looks like. :)

 

Steve

 

Thanks ! Well, I guess I will have to keep few images for upcoming competitions, to preserve "wow" factor intact :ninja:

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first four I posted are straight out of camera shots with some very minimum contrast/saturation correction (none of first four are cropped) - conversion is done in Adobe Lightroom and sharpening for web is done in Photoshop;

 

second two are more difficult shots due to bigger lighting difference of the scenes, so I used Capture NX for conversion which does better job in pulling shadows and filtering noise then Lightroom for NEF's, especially in D300 14 bit mode. First image of two is cropped and second has some retouching (some dolphin tails are removed from left bottom corner). That's pretty much it.

 

Each image has EXIF preserved.

Thanks, I love that light. Especially the last one you posted.

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Thanks ! Well, I guess I will have to keep few images for upcoming competitions, to preserve "wow" factor intact :P

 

Enough WOW for me! :):ninja::Picono_manteo.gif

 

 

I have this and next year´s holidays compromised but I have to go there! icono_fotosubzoom.gif

 

Luisa says to get to married and get 15 more days off by law! :lol:

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Enough WOW for me! :):ninja::Picono_manteo.gif

I have this and next year´s holidays compromised but I have to go there! icono_fotosubzoom.gif

 

Luisa says to get to married and get 15 more days off by law! :lol:

 

That might be totally worth it ! :P;)

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Hi from Sydney Drew - well done on a spectaclar run, that's what comes with going so regularly, some days it just has to come together when you are onsite that often. Spectaculat photos! The sail fish, speechless ..... (and you know that is hard for me :) )

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Hey guys!

 

Private question but what does a trip out there normally set you back?

 

I just cant drag my eyes away from some of these photos................

 

Does any one have a link to more?

 

Cal

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Hi Cal,

 

I'm signed up for the Island Dreams trip next year. Cost is $3895 for 10 days, not incl air fare or the add-on safari that you're going to want to do somewhere :D Check out www.divetrip.com.

 

Phil

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Hey guys!

 

Private question but what does a trip out there normally set you back?

 

I just cant drag my eyes away from some of these photos................

 

Does any one have a link to more?

 

Cal

 

Hello Cal

 

I think that is not JUST the money but the risk of not getting a good week etc... I would think one needs ten to fifteen days and, in my dayjob case, booking months in advance which adds more risk to the holiday :D

 

But I have to go anyway! (I am starting by telling Luisa that water temp is about 26 degrees :P:D )

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Hello Cal

 

I think that is not JUST the money but the risk of not getting a good week etc... I would think one needs ten to fifteen days and, in my dayjob case, booking months in advance which adds more risk to the holiday :D

 

But I have to go anyway! (I am starting by telling Luisa that water temp is about 26 degrees :P:D )

 

I fully agree with you, in 14 days we had 11 days on water, and only 4 days of actual diving - and I consider this as successful trip. For me it would be successful with just one bait ball dive, anyway, thing is totally worth all waiting. And if you are open minded enough there is always plenty of things to enjoy - dolphin/whale watching/swimming, birds, beautiful scenery. Setting your expectations for this trip as low as possible is best approach for planning.

Edited by pats0n

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I think that is not JUST the money but the risk of not getting a good week etc

:D:lol: Oh how much is half full? If you only knew how many people spent how many days to get 1 day? :P

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excellent up to date info, great photos. excellent photos , amazing photos and an absolutely excellent topic. Thanks so much for all the info, you guys who have braved the elements to bring back some amazing shots and a life time of memories to keep for yourselves.

 

Where do I pay the deposit ?

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:P:lol: Oh how much is half full? If you only knew how many people spent how many days to get 1 day? :D

:D

 

Could you ellaborate (is that well writen? :D ) on what are aproximately the good months and how much can that vary? I mean, if you had to choose/book a period of 2-3 weeks with four months in advance when would you book? and: how many dry/bad days would be an approx average? Are there many ops down there?

 

All this is to start making up my mind! :D

 

Thank you very much! :)

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wow...........

 

 

Thats a fair bit out of my price range being a uni student and all.

 

I guess i'll just have to look on and admire

 

Cal

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:D

 

Could you ellaborate (is that well writen? :P ) on what are aproximately the good months and how much can that vary? I mean, if you had to choose/book a period of 2-3 weeks with four months in advance when would you book? and: how many dry/bad days would be an approx average? Are there many ops down there?

 

All this is to start making up my mind! :D

 

Thank you very much! :D

I have a better chance picking the lottery than giving that sort of info. It's nature man. Read the reports from the last 3 years.

As for ops, as of now, I believe there are at least 4 commercial operators.

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I have a better chance picking the lottery than giving that sort of info. It's nature man. Read the reports from the last 3 years.

As for ops, as of now, I believe there are at least 4 commercial operators.

 

Somehow I knew I would be answered something like that! :P

 

I will check last years´ reports :D

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I must add this for everyone thinking of going on this trip. I've done this a long time and if you think every year the action is like this, you are in for a big surprise. The group this year was VERY VERY lucky for a combination of reasons, where the elements melded together. Was this the best run ever? No. However, the conditions (viz esp) held the longest I've seen it and it was the best conditions I've ever seen in the area.

I was chatting with another veteran and we were laughing at the newbies who think it's that easy every year, especially the skippers who don't dive it.

Things change and the elements change. This year the water was warmer in general thus you had more tropical predators like sailfish. Now the water is colder and you have the Bryde's whale coming in droves, something that happens way much farther south.

It's also about expectations. Everyone comes thinking about Doug Perrine's shot or the Blue Planet (Deep Blue) stuff. The production companies don't care if it's sardine or herring but the experienced ones knows the differences it makes the shots Doug shot all the more special.

So for those who are seriously contemplating this trip, forget all you have seen here and go and wait to be surprised. You may get a bonanza or not see one lousy baitfish. But I'm sure you'll see something you've never seen before. I know because I go every year and it surprises me still.

Most importantly, go on a boat with as few people as possible if you want the best pics.

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I must add this for everyone thinking of going on this trip. I've done this a long time and if you think every the action is like this, you are in for a big surprise. The group this year was VERY VERY lucky for a combination of reasons, where the elements melded together. Was this the best run ever? No. However, the conditions (viz esp) held the longest I've seen it and it was the best conditions I've ever seen in the area.

I was chatting with another veteran and we were laughing at the newbies who think it's that easy every year, especially the skippers who don't dive it.

Things change and the elements change. This year the water was warmer in general thus you had more tropical predators like sailfish. Now the water is colder and you have the Bryde's whale coming in droves, something that happens way much farther south.

It's also about expectations. Everyone comes thinking about Doug Perrine's shot or the Blue Planet (Deep Blue) stuff. The production companies don't care if it's sardine or herring but the experienced ones knows the differences it makes the shots Doug shot all the more special.

So for those who are seriously contemplating this trip, forget all you have seen here and go and wait to be surprised. You may get a bonanza or not see one lousy baitfish. But I'm sure you'll see something you've never seen before. I know because I go every year and it surprises me still.

Most importantly, go on a boat with as few people as possible if you want the best pics.

 

Let's say we had two ok bait ball days and one very good bait ball day - last one with 20m viz - but we had strong wind and 4m swells, so finished earlier. Still we missed best days because this season all of them happened after we left :D We call it success, with that I fully agree, but still in terms of hit ratio it is below expectations of most people. You really need to be patient on Sardine Run, I have to say that during first 7-8 days I felt some frustration too that we are not going to see any bait ball action underwater at all - still we had fun with other things. And then suddenly everything turned sharply for much better.

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Here are a few more pics to show the viz we had this year. More importantly, the pandemonium in the action:

 

 

_D2N3140.jpg

Here the dolphins and gannets dive in on the redeye herring (not mackerel as Alex keeps saying) baitball.

_D2N3401.jpg

Here a gannet and dolphin both score a fish. Usually the dolphins have to work harder with the redeye herring as they pack looser in their baitball defence. They also move a lot more.

_D2N3442.jpg

Gannets manage to get more than 12m deep when they dive from up to 30m above the sea. They have been known to swim all the way down to 25m.

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Here are a few more pics to show the viz we had this year. More importantly, the pandemonium in the action:

 

Here the dolphins and gannets dive in on the redeye herring (not mackerel as Alex keeps saying) baitball.

 

Here a gannet and dolphin both score a fish. Usually the dolphins have to work harder with the redeye herring as they pack looser in their baitball defence. They also move a lot more.

 

Gannets manage to get more than 12m deep when they dive from up to 30m above the sea. They have been known to swim all the way down to 25m.

 

Wow ! Fantastic moments Drew, luv one with gannet and dolphin both with fish in mouth.

 

Bit of advice regarding post-processing - instead of changing color temperature, try different trick - reduce "vibrance" (non-linear saturation, which will desaturate less saturated areas more) - by this you will preserve original water hue while removing blue cast from animals. "Vibrance" is available in Adobe RAW converters both in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Edited by pats0n

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And have my pics look like yours with a pale ghostly look? Not what I'm after. I like my subjects to look somewhat like they do in sunlight, not a yellow/red-less version. I've never liked over processed looks. Plus I'm too damned lazy to work so hard on lousy web pix anyhow. Thanks for your suggestion.

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