Cayman Brac Russian Frigate

The Russian Frigate is a nice change of pace from diving one beautiful reef or wall after another.  Yes, we love diving the Bloody Bay Wall and seeing all the creatures in the Cayman Islands.  A wreck dive is a nice change of scenery. We dove on the Russian Frigate with the Brac Scuba Shack on July 12, 2016 and June 30, 2017.  Brac Scuba Shack is a well run operation with small groups on their boat, love diving with them.

 

0 comments

Belize Underwater Critters

This gallery shows some of the diversity of critters we saw in Belize.  Moorays, turtles, angelfish, spiny lobster, octopus, barracuda, shrimp, crabs, and colorful tropical fish.  So many creatures big and small. We loved it.

0 comments

Olympus TG-4 with UWL-04 Wide Angle Conversion Lens

My latest (and probably final) addition to my camera set up is a UWL-04 28mm underwater conversion lens used for fisheye photography.  If you are interested in my complete camera set up, it can be found in the TG-4 post.

We had an amazing week diving at Turneffe Flats in Belize.  I used the UWL-04 on 2 out of 6 days of diving.  I think it is particularly effective when the water is crystal clear and the sun is shining at the surface.  Another trick is to pull the strobes in close and turn the camera to shoot in portrait mode.  The portrait mode allows for an up close subject, divers in the background and sun at the surface. This album shows some of the best with the fisheye lens:

My favorite image is this one:

Don on the Reef with the Sun Shining

Don on the Reef with the Sun Shining

I included a couple of shots in the album that I forgot to zoom in and they show the edges of the UWL-04.  Every new piece of equipment has a learning curve and I definitely learn by making mistakes.  These pictures could be cropped.  The last picture of our boat captain is taken from the water.  I tried to get a combination below and above water shot but so far have not figured that technique out.

On days when the visibility was not as good, I had back scatter in the wide angle shots.  I understand that I might be able to fix these shots with photoshop.  If I get that accomplished, I will make a post with the results.

I have lots more wonderful pictures from Turneffe Flats, Belize and will post more later.

2 comments

Virgin Islands Underwater Critters

Had a lot of fun shooting with my TG-4 and dual strobes for the first time in warm water.

Click on any image to start a slide show:

 

 

 

4 comments

Olympus TG-4 with Underwater Housing and Dual Strobes

TG-4 with Dual Strobes

I started last year with the Olympus TG-4 camera, Olympus PT056 underwater housing, Ultralight tray and arms, and YS-01 strobe.  This was a great configuration and I especially liked it for macro photography.

With confidence, I entered the Bluewater SoCal Shootout photography contest and the day I was shooting, wide angle shots of black sea bass ended up being the primary target.  My best shot was a portrait shot that I entered in the contest and won a second strobe!  Now I have a Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobe as well.  Of course I had to invest in a tray adaptor and extra arms to put it all together. The result is seen in the attached photo.

The settings on the TG-4 have changed, actually they are a little simpler. I no longer need the slave flash setting.  I tried to find out why.  They only answer I got was that the electronics of the YS-D2 are different than the YS-01 and it is not necessary. I have the YS-D2 connected to the TG-4 housing with the fiber optic cable.  The YS-01 fiber optic cable is attached to the output from the YS-D2.  The On Switch on the YS-D2 is set to the first position (lights will be orange/gold).  The On Switch on the YS-01 is set to the second position (single lightning bolt).

This configuration works great and both strobes flash reliably.

In case you want to try to put this type system together yourself, here are links to the products on amazon:

Here’s an image of the setup with the Sola light and I have also added foam supports to help with bouyancy:

Olympus TG-4 with Housing, Dual Strobes and Video Light

 

2 comments

Second Place, Open Portrait, Bluewaterphoto’s SoCal Shootout

Black Sea Bass in Flower Garden

Black Sea Bass in Flower Garden

So excited to place in the Bluewater Photo SoCal Shootout, underwater photo contest! I got second place in the Open Portrait category with my wide angle shot I call “Black Sea Bass in Flower Garden.”  The black sea bass is looking right at me and is framed in a huge structure covered with Corynactis californica.  The shot was taken with my Olympus TG-4 in Olympus housing with a Sea & Sea YS-01 strobe.  I used the Fish Mode, Wide Angle 1 settings.  With this camera, I don’t have to know or understand much about settings, however, if you want to know, the settings were F-stop 2.8, Exposure time 1/60 sec., ISO speed ISO-200. For this contest no cropping was allowed, so what you see is what I took!  I spent most of 2 dives shootiing the black sea bass, there was a pair of large ones circling the area. It is really impressive that my compact camera came in 2nd competing with SLR and mirrorless cameras in the same category.

Find all of the winning images at Bluewater Photo 2016 Shootout Results.  Thank you BlueWater for a great contest!  I am looking forward to using my new Sea&Sea YS-D2 strobe.

0 comments

Olympus TG-4 with Housing and Sea & Sea YS-01 Settings

When I put together my camera, housing and strobe, it took a while to figure out the correct camera and strobe settings.  Then when I had a repair done on my camera, I had to re-do the settings and decided it was time to write them down for future reference.  So here it is, these work perfectly:

  1. Turn on the slave flash on the camera:
  • Menu
  • Camera Menu 2
  • Accessory Settings
  • Remote Flash
  • Slave

This only needs to be done one time and the camera will retain the setting.

2. Now set up the Underwater Fish Mode for Wide Angle shots:

  • From the picture taking display select Fish mode
  • Wide 1
  • Flash – select SLV
  • Image size select 16M+RAW – do this to save both jpg and raw images

3. Save the Wide Angle Settings to Custom Mode 1

  • Menu
  • Settings Menu 1
  • Custom Mode Setup
  • Custom Mode 1
  • Set

4. Now set up the Underwater Fish Mode for Macro shots:

  • From the picture taking display select Fish mode
  • Macro
  • Flash – select SLV
  • Image size, check to make sure 16M+RAW is set

5. Save the Macro Settings to Custom Mode 2

  • Menu
  • Settings Menu 1
  • Custom Mode Setup
  • Custom Mode 2
  • Set

That’s it for the TG-4, On the YS-01 be sure the flash selection is in the middle setting on the knob, the one with the single lightning bolt.  Of course you also need to be sure you have a fiber optic cable attached properly.

7 comments

Entries in BlueWaterPhoto SoCal ShootOut

Blue Water Photo has an annual underwater photo contest for Southern California.  This year it was on September 9th – 11th, 2016.  I did two dives on September 9.  Because the TG-4 is so good at macro, my intention was to shoot almost entirely macro.  However, that intention changed when I got into interaction with black sea bass.  There was a point underwater where a pair of large black sea bass would circle the diver, continuously.  The diver was me and the sea bass were in the same location on both dives.  I took almost 300 pictures, probably 2/3 of them were of the black sea bass.  And the shots did keep getting better, some of the best were towards the end of the 2nd dive.  I entered four categories in the ShootOut and am waiting to hear the results.

My entries:

0 comments

Olympus TG-4 Wide Angle Diver Images

Turtle and Diver

Turtle and Diver

Some of my favorite shots from our trip to Little Cayman were wide angle with creatures in the front and divers in the background.  These were all taken in about 25 feet of water with excellent available light.  This is necessary to get the diver to show up as the flash is on the close up subject.  The first is my sister Peggy behind a turtle. We both spent a lot of time getting shots. I  got some nice full body shots of the turtle and an awesome macro shot of it’s head.   But my favorite is this shot. This was taken off Little Cayman at Barracuda Bight.  We were diving with Pirate’s Point Resort.

Squid with Diver

Squid with Diver

On the same dive, before we spotted the turtle, we came across two free swimming squid.  Again, I took lots of shots, some of them were translucent, in some they changed colors and blended with the reef.  Again my favorite shot was a close up with our new found diving friend in the background. This squid is so cool, seems to be looking at us.

Diver on Reef

Diver on Reef

Earlier that day, we dove Sarah’s Set. My friend Amy was newly certified and enjoying one of her first dives. We were all so proud of her and really wanted to capture the moment in photos. Amy’s pink accents added a lot of color to the photos we got of her. Love this shot and we enlarged it and it came out beautiful as a print. One of the advantages of the TG-4 is that it does capture raw data and this helps for doing corrections or making enlargements.

See the gallery from our day of diving:

1 comment

Hermosa Reef August 2016

We love our tropical diving but it is hard to beat the color and sea life we have right here at home diving out of Redondo Beach, CA. This is cold water and low visibility diving. And still the colors are amazing.

Envira Gallery:

0 comments