Some 'tapioca' pudding

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Dread
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Some 'tapioca' pudding

Post by Dread »

So tapioca isn't really fish eyes, but these are:

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This is a lingcod that I shot while doing some fieldwork in Kachemak Bay Alaska. I've seen a lot of lingcod while diving on the west coast, but this one was a treat (he didn't have parasitic worms dangling from his face). Granted, I do hope to see said worms when I have my new underwater system!

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This is a long-horn sculpin, shot recently in Torbay, Newfoundland. Every species has a distinctive shimmery pattern on their eye membrane (can you tell I don't normally talk about fish?), and there is variation within species as well. You're never really sure what it looks like until the flash goes off.

Image
Not an eye, but can Rik guess what it is? Others are welcomed to guess, but he seems to have a real knack for this!

Hope you enjoy.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Some 'tapioca' pudding

Post by rjlittlefield »

Dread wrote:Not an eye, but can Rik guess what it is? Others are welcomed to guess, but he seems to have a real knack for this!
Geez, guys! I'm gonna have to "throw a match" sometime just to make the challenges stop!!

Um, let's see...how about "rear end of a sea cucumber"? 8)

Now, switching subjects...

What kind of equipment were these shot with? I'm having a little trouble reconciling these gorgeous closeups with your questions about what kind of equipment to buy, 'cuz it looks to me like you already have underwater macro pretty well in hand!

--Rik

JoanYoung
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Post by JoanYoung »

Great pics and information Ryan. Thanks for sharing.

I agree with Rik, the equipment you are using now seems pretty good. :)
Joan Young

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Hey...were these taken with a "fish-eye lens?" :-k Beautiful set of images, cool! 8)

Okay, okay...someone had to ask. :lol:

Dread
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Post by Dread »

Thanks guys... Rik you nailed it. Cucumaria frondosa. They're usually that end in the sand or even their crevice is in a crevice. But this one in particular had no shame. If I ever get back to BC you'll see some very interesting Parasticophus californicus shots.

I have yet to take a fish eye with a fish eye, but someday perhaps I'll do a series! Truth of the matter, I'm using an 8MP glorified point & shoot, the Olympus c8080. I use the internal flash (and diffuser) and can work around ISO120 which is pretty decent for the camera. I use a PT-023 Olympus housing and no lens adapters or filters. I really love the camera, and I can shoot some decent macros free hand in the field. The super macro mode allows me to get within 5cm of the subject, but only uses ambient light. For my underwater macro work I use manual focus which involves a very inconvenient and unresponsive set of buttons on the back of the housing. When the water is -1.8 C I don't have a lot of patience or the right mental priority on shot composition/perfection when it requires too much effort to change settings. I'm hoping the more market-driven and conveniently-designed SLR housings will let me be more flexible to get certain shots I swim by.

But yes, I want a "freaking sweet" macro capability to move a bit beyond the quality what I'm doing right now, with more regularity and convenience.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Rik you nailed it. Cucumaria frondosa. They're usually that end in the sand or even their crevice is in a crevice. But this one in particular had no shame.
Cool! (I figured that even if "rear end of a sea cucumber" wasn't right, it sounded bizarre enough that I could claim I was joking. :roll: )
If I ever get back to BC you'll see some very interesting Parasticophus californicus shots.
Sounds like fun. BTW, I think you meant "Parastichopus" -- Google failed completely on "Parasticophus" and I got to http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/eco/t ... saraht.htm only by searching on californicus sea cucumber. BTW, I was fascinated by the video at http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/archi ... s_16a2.htm, showing escape response. I had no idea that sea cucumbers could move so quickly!

Switching subjects...

I've been pondering your equipment questions. I don't dive, but I do backpack, and there are just enough similarities to make me wonder whether DSLR is really the direction you want to go.

What I've discovered backpacking is that the latest generation of point-and-shoots lets me get more pictures of what I want than my DSLR did. I used to carry into the wilderness my Canon 300D and an extra lens or two. But now, I just strap a Canon A710 on my belt and take off. It's smaller, lighter, more maneuverable, has fairly trustworthy auto-focus even in macro, and the rear-panel display means I don't have to get down on my belly for those low-angle shots. (The latter is most appreciated while carrying a 50-pound pack!)

For a lot of applications, the DSLR is far superior. But for getting good images quickly in uncomfortable conditions, the A710 wins big. See here and here for examples of image quality.

I see in some review articles that the A720 (successor to the A710) does have some sort of underwater housing. I have not even seen a picture of it, and I have no clue how well it actually works.

But the tradeoffs are worth considering, anyway.

If you can arrange to borrow or rent equipment to test before buying, then I strongly recommend to do that. I've been surprised enough times to be really nervous about the difference between what I expect and what I actually get.

--Rik

Dread
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Post by Dread »

Sorry about the spelling mistake... my attention to details needs work! So you found racerocks.com, a great site if I must say so :)

Thanks for those bee shots, they're great! I really liked Joan's butterfly pics... I've seen the same species at butterfly gardens... hadn't known where they came from! Here are some of my insect inspiration.

Not sure what this one is called...
Image

Got up close to one emerging:
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These were both shot freehand on macro mode of the c8080. If I'm lucky enough to get a lot of ambient light I can use the super macro mode and get within 5 cm of the subject... like this not so shy little bee I saw while hiking:
Image

Thanks for continuing to think about my problem Rik. I'm certainly not committed to any one setup yet. Unfortunately, there definitely won't be any rentable underwater housings for me to test out different setups I'm interested in. But again, I'm not interested in an SLR just for underwater macro... for example, I like the 8 fps option for the D300 for when I take Mikey to the park. She's a pretty fabulous frisbee dog, but not right for this forum :P I do want to take my underwater stuff to the next level, so I'll keep looking for the ultimate super-macro underwater system even after I invest in an SLR.

P.S. had some Olympus techs at work today, we now have 'extended depth of field' capabilities :D

JoanYoung
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Post by JoanYoung »

Thanks for the nice comment on my butterflies Ryan. I like your bee shot. I agree with Rik on equipment. Both Ken and I use small point and shoot type cameras and get fantastic results without having to slog around with a heavy DSLR.
Joan Young

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Dread wrote:P.S. had some Olympus techs at work today, we now have 'extended depth of field' capabilities :D
Cool! I'll be interested to hear more about that, as you become familiar with it. Is there a model number or something that I could look up on the web?
like this not so shy little bee
Syrphid fly, actually (family Syrphidae). They're also called hover flies, and many of them do great bee imitations!

--Rik

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Beautiful pictures Dread. We do not get to many aquatic pictures here in the forums. These are very refreshing.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Dread
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Post by Dread »

I'm glad to be able to share these shots here. Not the technical quality that you all blow me away with... but something fits in the "something you don't see everyday" category!

I knew Rik would correct me on the 'bee'... I certainly know where to come with my taxanomic questions from now on!

Regarding the Olympus crew... my lab just upgraded our Image Analysis system. Image Pro Plus 6.2 is a pricey piece of software ($4000 or so), but it has some pretty great features! After calibrating everything today I was playing around with the extended depth of field... unfortunately our 20 year old B&W analog video camera hooked to the scope is not really up to the task of anything exciting. If I stick around for my PhD I'll most definitely get a bellows for whatever I end up getting.

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Your images are welcome here any day. Technical quality looks just fine to me, and the subjects are very unusual for this forum. Nice stuff!
Dread wrote:Image Pro Plus 6.2 is a pricey piece of software ($4000 or so), but it has some pretty great features!
Hhmm... that name sounds familiar. Steve Valley (svalley) uses a package that he spells "ImagePro" for his stacked-and-stitched insects. I suspect it's all the stuff sold by Media Cybernetics (http://www.mediacy.com) as Image-Pro.

Assuming it's the same software, then be aware that it's apparently not the most user-friendly package in the world. Steve had some difficulties with image quality that seemed to trace directly back to the software's not automatically scaling and registering images from various depths in the stack. Apparently it has the capability, it's just not obvious and not done by default. Seems like an odd omission, since scaling and registration is an important part of getting high quality output, but I guess that's the way it is. Anyway, be aware...

About the ID, I'm sorry to sound pedantic, but I thought you'd like to know. Names are precious things -- they let you Google! :D :lol:

--Rik

PS. The syrphid fly is probably a female, but I'm blaming DaveW for bringing that distinction to our attention (in this post). 8)

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