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Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Four with Humpbacks Photo

Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Four with Humpbacks

Wetpixel friend Tony Wu has sent in an update to his fourth week of encounters with the humpback whales of Tonga:

After a nice spell of weather at the beginning of the week, a big rainstorm hit on Wednesday evening, and the weather really deteriorated again this week on Friday. We were out on the water, getting beaten up by 20+ knot winds, criss-crossing chop, whitecaps, tall swells and occasional cold, pelting rain. Not nice.

It is, of course, possible to go look for whales when it’s dark, grey and raining. It’s the winds that really make things difficult though, especially if you’re in a small speedboat. Within a few minutes, you feel both shaken and stirred, with a good measure of scrambled tossed in. The splash and spray kicked up by the winds gets in your eyes. It’s difficult to see your hand in front of your face, much less detect the subtle nuances of whale breath…

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Manta Fest 2008 Wetpixel Coverage - Day 1 Photo

Manta Fest 2008 Wetpixel Coverage - Day 1

Wetpixel’s Eric Cheng and Mike Veitch have both arrived in Yap to help host Manta Fest 2008. Great weather has greeted us with sunny skies and flat seas - this is Eric’s second visit to the island and a return to home for Mike who lived here for close to 3 years before relocating to Bali.

The festivities of Manta Fest 2008 kicked off tonight with a welcome cocktail and introduction of the week’s activities by Bill Acker, the founder of Manta Ray Bay Hotel and a legend of Micronesian diving. It also gave a chance for Mike and Eric to introduce themselves and explain a little about what they will be doing over the coming two weeks. The schedule for tomorrow’s first official Manta Fest day was introduced, and the morning dives will be at the famous Goofnuw Channel…

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2008 9th annual San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition coverage Photo

2008 9th annual San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition coverage

The 9th annual San Diego Undersea Film Exhibition (UFEX) was two weekends ago, August 22 and 23, at the magnificent Qualcomm Hall auditorium, with its state of the art digital projection system.  Thirty two of the 60 films submitted made the final cut, all but five in high definition.  Attendance numbered over 900 for the two nights.

The first exhibition was held in 2000, featuring short videos limited to 5 minutes maximum, with no entry fees and no prizes except for the distinction of having your film selected by the panel of three independent judges.  The same principles are in force today, as the show has become international in scope with near sellout crowds…

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NYUPS hosts presentation on Digital Workflow Basics Photo

NYUPS hosts presentation on Digital Workflow Basics

On September 2, 2008, the New York Underwater Photographic Society (NYUPS) will host an informal presentation by society president Jason Heller on “Digital Workflow Basics.” Topics may include a comparison between “RAW vs. JPEG, whether megapixels really matter, histograms and white balance, color space, cataloging, editing, and the best options for backups.”

The event will be held at 7PM at the Arctica Bar & Grill in New York, NY. Admission is free by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) - to learn more or confirm your attendance, continue to view event details...

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Online underwater show TheUnderwaterChannel.tv 2008 launch Photo

Online underwater show TheUnderwaterChannel.tv 2008 launch

TheUnderwaterChannel.tv is an online underwater on-demand TV show created by Nicholas Claxton that has relaunched today, September 1, for the 2008 season. Dedicated to “exploring the mysteries and the marvels of the underwater world,” it is produced by divers and conservationists, and involves Julie Anderson of the Shark Angels, and Wetpixel’s own Dr. Alex Mustard for the monthly program “Splash!” and a “Creature Feature” look at underwater species, respectively.

Continue reading for the full press release with more information, or continue to TheUnderwaterChannel.tv to begin watching…

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Diving with sixgill sharks in Seattle Photo

Diving with sixgill sharks in Seattle

Wetpixel’s Eric Cheng and Matt Segal returned recently from a trip to Seattle to dive with and photograph sixgill sharks.

Travis told us that sixgill sharks typically show up “between 9:30pm and 10:30pm.” And it is certainly not a sure thing. The last expedition had been virtually skunked, with only one brief encounter over three nights of diving.

We were lucky. Just as the sun was going down, multiple sixgill sharks appeared on camera. They were actually quite difficult to see in the video feed beamed from the site, but the hypnotic waving of their long, ribbon-like tails provided enough for a clear ID.

Check out the full trip report for photos, videos, and more.

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Nikon announces D90 SLR Photo

Nikon announces D90 SLR

Nikon has announced the D90 digital SLR, a 12-megapixel camera capable of shooting at 4.5 fps. The new D90 emphasizes Live View mode, and is the first SLR capable of shooting video. Video is 720p high definition, and the camera can shoot for 5 minutes at a time. The D90 also feature face-recognition and support for the new GPS Unit GP-1, an unobtrusive hotshoe attachment that allows the camera to store GPS information in each image’s metadata.

It is still unclear whether the D90 will fit into any existing underwater housings, but Wetpixel members are already discussing the possibility in the forum.

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2009 Raja Ampat Entrance Tag Design Contest Photo

2009 Raja Ampat Entrance Tag Design Contest

Wetpixel.com is proud to host the 2009 Raja Ampat Entrance Tag Design Contest. If you have the perfect photo that captures the excitement and beauty of Raja Ampat diving, enter this contest for a chance to have your image printed on the 4,000 park tags that will be attached BCDs of visiting divers! In addition, the first place winner will receive a 7-day, 6-night, all-inclusive dive trip* to Raja Ampat’s original eco-resort at Kri, kindly donated by Papua Diving.

To enter the contest, submit up to 2 photos or graphic designs per contestant before midnight on Thursday, August 28, 2008. After finalists are chosen, you –- the public -– will vote for the best image or design until September 25, 2008. Winners will be announced on October 1, 2008. 

Reminder: the deadline is TONIGHT at midnight PST!

Continue reading for full contest details.

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Reefmote Control: Aquatica Remote Release reviewed Photo

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…

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Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Three with Humpbacks Photo

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…

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