Reefmote Control: Aquatica Remote Release reviewed
When underwater photographer and Wetpixel member Tim Rock found out that Aquatica had engineered a remote release compatible with their housings, he begged the company to let him “be the Pacific guinea pig,” and managed to obtain a unit in time for a trip to dive with the mantas, sharks, and reef-life of Yap and Guam:
In Guam’s Tumon Bay, we have some nice anemone colonies and a profusion of light blue chromis. I set the D200 up with the 10-20 Sigma lens set at 20mm, and then backed off and let the chromis, damsels and other reef fish do their thing during a minus tide in the shallow bay. As they popped into the water column for food, I was able to many time fill the frame. Had I been nearer, they would have retreated into the confines of the staghorn and finger corals…
Read on for Tim’s full review, full of example images from each of the uses for the remote release…
Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Three with Humpbacks
Tony Wu has sent in an update to his third week of experiences with the humpback whales of Tonga, including a discussion of the buildup and waning of cetacean activity with the full moon, and even takes the time to evaluate the variety of local cuisine and restaurants for those travellers unaware.
On Saturday, there were plenty of whales, but they had switched from “party-hard” mode to “yo-yo” mode. In contrast to the frenetic, energy-charged atmosphere of the days leading up to the full moon, all was quiet. Whales settled in single and pairs, resting for extended periods of time underwater, surfacing to take a few breaths, then submerging again to rest for extended periods of time. Up, down, up, down, up, down…hence the term “yo-yo” mode, which I’ve coined to describe this state of whale being.
The frustrating thing for whale watchers, of course, is that yo-yos are…dull.
Continue for Tony’s summary of the week’s activities with accompanying photos…
Canon announces EOS 50D digital SLR
In anticipation of Photokina, Canon today officially announced the EOS 50D, a 15.1 megapixel, 1.6x crop 14-bit CMOS sensor digital SLR. The new camera features a 3” VGA LCD, a fast 6.3 fps shooting speed, and the new DIGIC IV image processor, allowing ISO expansion up to 12,800.
Canon users should be happy to learn that Live Mode now offers three autofocus options, “Quick AF, Live AF, and new Face Detection Live AF, which optimizes focus based on faces detected in the frame – for fast, spontaneous portraiture,” and the lens micro-adjustment feature previously found only on the 1D/1Ds Mark III series has been included. The camera is predicted to be available in October 2008 and sell for USD$1399 - discussion has begun in the forums as to whether the 50D will be compatible with current 40D housings.
Sealux HX7 underwater housing for Sony HDR-FX7 review
After using housings by manufacturers including NIMAR, Gates, and Fradotec, Wetpixel member Uli Koop (ulibubi) acquired and reviewed a Sealux HX7 underwater housing for his Sony HDR-FX7 video camera.
I enjoyed filming with the housing and the camera. The controls did a very good job…and the housing fits my style perfectly. For an amateur like me, the combination HX7 housing with the Sony HDR-FX7 is the perfect solution for underwater video…
Ulrich especially appreciated the mixture of mechanical and electronic controls, the availability of various configurations, and the housing’s compact design. Continue for the full article, complete with photos illustrating the assembly process and final setup…
NCUPS announces SEA 2008 44th annual photo competition
The Northern California Underwater Photographic Society (NCUPS) has announced the 44th Annual International Underwater Photographic Competition and the Bob Commer Award of Excellence in Underwater Photography.
Continuing for its second year is the Marine Conservation category to complement the Macro, Wide Angle, and Underwater California categories. Prizes include liveaboard trips on the Nai’a, Bilikiki, Febrina, Pindito, Manthiri, and others, and an assortment of underwater photography and videography gear. Entries must be received by October 10, 2008 - continue reading for the full press release, or visit SEA2008 to enter…
Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Two with Humpbacks
Despite consistent strong winds, Tony Wu has continued to experience excellent humpback whale encounters in the kingdom of Tonga, including behavior that has him questioning current assumptions:
The accepted wisdom about why whales (and other cetaceans) blow bubbles is that it’s a sign of aggression. In many cases (such as heat runs), this is definitely true…But last week, a whale blew bubbles at me. There were no threatening gestures, and we had been in the water together for at least 30 minutes. She approached, glided by and sent some bubbles my way, continued her glide by, and blew more bubbles at her mate…
Read the full article for Tony’s interpretation of the event, his responses to questions concerning travel to Tonga, camera gear, and whale photography, and a series of humpback images…
Gates Underwater Products Open House in new location
Our friends at Gates Underwater Products have moved to a new location in Poway, CA, and are celebrating the occasion with an open house on Friday, August 22 from 3-8 PM. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served, but an RSVP is required - visit Gates for all the details, directions, and contact information for the event.
Six gill sharks in Seattle
We’re out here with Hydrus on the M/V Katherine Jane. Stay tuned—I’ve managed to rig up a wireless network here and will be updating this page as frequently as possible with video and still image clips (click through to see video stream).
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