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Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week One with Humpbacks Photo

Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week One with Humpbacks

After 51 hours of travel, Wetpixel friend Tony Wu has spent the last week swimming with the humpback whales of Tonga, and has written in with an update:

Current status of the whales: The boys are horny; the girls are either hitched, taking care of kids or driving boys crazy; the kids are oblivious and enjoying themselves…They swam under us, around us, between us…playing all the while, doing twists and twirls while watching us. All we had to do was float and wait.

Continue reading for all the details, accompanied by photos of these large, and energetic, cetaceans…

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 slowness and other problems Photo

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 slowness and other problems

A bunch of our users have upgraded to Adobe Lightroom 2.0, and many of them are regretting their decision. Users are reporting extreme slowness and inability to import metadata. Daniel Brown, an Adobe expert, added his voice of reason, stating, “There are some optimization tricks that seem to help, but my hunch is that people are using the retouching tools in LR 2.0 the same way they would in Photoshop and they are VERY different animals.”

This is a very good point. I tend to treat Photoshop as an application where my image is placed on a canvas, allowing me to use a tablet/pen to “paint” on a million tiny corrections. But when I’m in Aperture (an analogous non-destructive editing environment), I think of every mouse click as a precision operation because I know that all of the changes are being stored as “layers” over the original RAW file. It’s just going to be slower. Eventually, technology will catch up and we’ll be able to enhance/ruin photos without thinking about machine performance, but we are not quite there yet.

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New “Divers Seeking Divers” forum Photo

New “Divers Seeking Divers” forum

When I travel, I like to meet up with local Wetpixel members to dive with. It’s great because I get to connect faces with names. Plus, the locals always know the most about the local reefs.

In order to facilitate divers meeting divers, I’ve set up a new forum called Divers Seeking Divers. If you’re looking for a new local dive buddy, or are traveling somewhere and want some local expertise, head on over there and start posting!

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Eric Cheng speaking at NCUPS on Fri, Aug 8, 2008 Photo

Eric Cheng speaking at NCUPS on Fri, Aug 8, 2008

Wetpixel publisher and editor Eric Cheng (that’s me) is speaking at the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) this coming Friday, August 8, 2008. I will be presenting some of my favorite images and talking about how and where they were taken. In addition, I’ll show the RAW files behind the final images so you can see what goes into a typical image’s post-processing.

Location: New Vision United Methodist Church, 450 Chadbourne Avenue, Millbrae, CA.  94030. Doors open at 7pm for a pre-talk seminar. Eric’s talk starts at 8pm.

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Olympus and Panasonic announce Micro Four Thirds Photo

Olympus and Panasonic announce Micro Four Thirds

Today, Olympus and Panasonic announced a new mirrorless format based on Four Thirds. Sensors in the new system are the same size as they were in the original Four Thirds specification (18 x 13.5 mm), but Micro Four Thirds cameras will be considerably smaller due to the removal of the mirror. In addition, lenses for the new lens mount will also be smaller. The drawback is that without a mirror, optical viewfinders are not possible, and framing will have to done via Live View or electronic viewfinder. Micro Four Thirds is compatible with Four Thirds lenses through the use of an adapter.

This is particularly exciting for underwater shooters. A large sensor in a small package will allow us to maintain low noise in images while minimizing the size of a housed camera!

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Underwater mode on compact digital cameras Photo

Underwater mode on compact digital cameras

Alex Mustard leads a discussion about the underwater mode featured on some compact digital cameras.

On my last compact, a Fuji F40, it was a very useful feature down to 5-6m or more (say 15-20ft). But on my latest compact, a Fuji F50, it is useless - even at much shallower depths. Quite to my surprise.

...this leaves me confused as Underwater Mode is a software image processing feature, so you’d think it would be pretty consistent between two consecutive models from the same manufacturer.

Do you have any experiences with underwater mode on your compact digital camera?

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Exploring portable hard drives for photo and video editing Photo

Exploring portable hard drives for photo and video editing

Underwater video guru Drew Wong explores powerful options for portable hard drives and the increasing popularity of eSata connectors. In particular, I was interested to know that there is a 2-drive RAID enclosure that supports data over eSata while pulling power from Firewire.

While FW800 is adequate for backing up, it is limited to 66MB/s, whereas eSATA is at 134MB/s. The eSATA interface isn’t bus powered but the extra speed helps smooth out the workflow of backing up and clearing the flash cards for further shooting. The most important thing is these drives are fast enough to edit with multiple streams of HQ codecs like Pro Res 422HQ.

Of course, FireWire 3200 (S3200) is supposedly just around the corner and tops out at 400 MB/sec. Until eSata gets power, it seems to be rather unwieldy for mobile use.

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San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition 2008 Photo

San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition 2008

The 9th Annual San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition, scheduled for Friday and Saturday evenings, August 22 and 23, 2008 at the Qualcomm Hall in San Diego, has begun selling tickets to attend the event. Each evening will feature fifteen digital films of no more than five minutes length, from locations all over the world, to be judged by John Moore, Hans Bertsch, and Natasha Stenbock. Among the entrants are Wetpixel’s own Shawn Heinrichs and Paul and Kelly Wags!

View the full list of entries and purchase tickets online, or continue reading for the full press release…

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