Iceland breaks 21-year-old commercial whaling ban
An Icelandic whalers’ spokesman has announced the killing of a fin whale, effectively ending a 21 year ban on commercial whaling by the International Whaling Commission. The fin whale, listed as endangered by the World Conservation Union, was killed on October 21st and will be landed in Iceland soon.
The Iceland Fisheries Ministry also announced new plans to take 9 fin whales and 30 minke whales annually, adding that these numbers were sustainable with present whale population. Japan intends to start hunting humpbacks next year. The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Gallup poll showed the vast majority of Icelanders don’t eat whale meat. There is also a glut of whale meat in the market from previous “scientific research” hunts.
LAUPS 2006 Contest Winners Posted
The Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society (LAUPS) has posted the winners of its 44th International Underwater Photographic Competition. A number of Wetpixel members placed or earned honorable mentions in the competition.
The Best of Show was awarded to Adriano Morettin for his brilliant photograph of an anemonefish. Winning images, information about the judges, and the judges’ comments will be posted this Saturday.
Continue reading for a list of the winners, with Wetpixel winners (at least the ones I know of) highlighted in bold.
Andrea and Antonella Ferrari photograph pair of mating mimic octopus
FiNS Associate Editors and marine life book authors Andrea and Antonella Ferrari had another of their ridiculous lucky strikes a few days ago while muck diving in Puri Jati – a black sand expanse at low and medium depth along Bali’s north-eastern coast.
Moments after entering the water, the pair came across two mating mimic octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) that didn’t seem to mind being photographed.
Read on for their words and photos of the experience…
Review of UK-Germany housing for Pentax *istDS
Mark Stiebel has written a review of his impressions of the UK-Germany housing for the Pentax *istDS digital SLR. Mark commends the company for the solidly built housing, their support of the Pentax brand, and the speed with which his questions were answered, “even when emailing via Google translator.”
Mark writes “after taking this housing for only a few dives so far, I am extremely happy with my results. It feels so much better to hold and use than my previous underwater camera (Sony DSC-P10 P&S), and I actually enjoy taking pictures instead of being frustrated by my equipment.”
The review includes photos of the housing and camera in various stages of assembly, as well as some of his first photos with the new system. Read on for all the details…
Take a diver survey and win a trip to Indonesia
Win a trip to Indonesia aboard the Archipelago Adventurer I by filling out a quick survey! This diver survey is being administered collaboratively by some of your favourite diving related websites, to help us better understand you needs and to better serve you.
You are not required to provide any personally identifiable information, however, to enter into the drawing for the prize, you must provide your email address. By taking the survey you are not giving the prize sponsor nor participating sites any permission to contact you. We respect your privacy.
*Update 12/04* The survey has closed - thanks for participating!
Digital Film Tools EZ Mask 1.0
Digital Film Tools offers a variety of downloads and plug-ins that might be useful for underwater photographers. One of their more recent titles is EZ Mask 1.0, an image masking tool capable of extracting almost any object in an image - even the fine details of fish fins, for example.
According to the press release, the extraction process creates what is known as a mask; once a mask is extracted, the foreground object can be seamlessly composed onto a new background in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Users are then able to apply filter and image corrections only within the area defined by the mask. EZ Mask 1.0 is a downloadable application that costs $150.
In light of the recent art vs. reality discussion on Wetpixel, I wonder how popular this application will be for many underwater photographers. Moreover, a similar tool (i.e., the Magic Extractor) was already introduced in Photoshop Elements 4.0, which costs roughly half the price.
Sony Malaysia introduces the new DSC-N2
Sony has introduced a new Cyber-shot camera to the Malaysian market. While the DSC-N2 may not be the ultimate choice for professional underwater photographers, the camera features a 10-megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom lens, enough battery life for 300 shots per charge, and a 3-inch LCD with a touch-screen interface that incorporates a nifty paint function that allows users to personalize their photos.
Happily, the N2 fits inside Sony’s MPK-NA housing, depth-rated to 120 feet. The camera retails in Malaysia for about $450, and the housing runs an additional $230.
Olympus Evolt E-330 dSLR and 10Bar Housing Review
Wetpixel member Jeff Mullins (reefwalker), of Tulamben’s Reef Wreck and Critter Dive Tours, has written a review of the Olympus Evolt E-330 digital SLR and the accompanying 10Bar housing:
When Olympus released their latest Evolt E-330 7.5 megapixel Live-View digital SLR earlier this year. I knew that this camera was for me. I converted to digital back in 2003, after a lot of years taking underwater photographs utilising film SLR’s…
10Bar produced my port and housing and had it delivered to me in Bali in only a couple of weeks. I was eager to get the camera wet (not) by the time it arrived. Manufactured from clear polycarbonate, the overall appearance of the housing was sturdy and well engineered… I really like the system and its simplicity.
Continue reading for the full review, which includes a number of colorful photos from the Bali area…
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