Friday, July 31, 2015

The Golden Hour

Just a sunset on the fields of Kansas.

Not quite as nice as a sunset on Maui with the ocean waves and salt air but still, not a bad sunset.

I have learned that any sunset is a good sunset if you have the time to sit and enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shade Sailing

A shot from my Maui files, and it's a sunset, just for Paul.

We stay on the wrong side of the island to catch sunrises on Maui so I just have to settle for the sunsets. It's a tough sacrifice but I think I can do it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Here comes the sun....

Not much to say here, just getting up with the sun.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fields of green

I'm digging through the old files again. It's been 100 degrees here and although I've had some free time I just haven't felt like going out in the heat!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Blues...

...of Maui

The sky and the ocean keeps you surrounded by blues which in this case is not a bad thing!

Monday, July 20, 2015


We have some of those dunno flowers down this way too!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Colorful dunno flowers

Finally got a chance to get out and take a few pictures this weekend. About the only thing I could get to hold still long enough to get some good shots were a few wildflowers! :)

The Gear

After Mersad asked in the comment section about what kind of underwater housing I use I received a few more e-mails wondering the same thing.

I'll try to keep from being too technical but hopefully I will give enough information to those that are interested. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.

The last two underwater housings I have had are made by Ikelite. I like these housings because they are made from clear acrylic which allows you to see if you have any leaks, hopefully before it's too late. They also have more camera control than some of the other housings.

I've only had one leak and that wasn't because of the housing, it was the dummy using the housing who didn't put it together properly. In other words, me!

The Ikelite housing has buttons and knobs for every control on the camera. This particular housing is made for a Nikon D800. Being able to adjust anything on the camera while in the water is extremely helpful. I have to wear a scuba mask with built in bifocal lenses so I can see but that's what happens when you get old.

I also have a center mount on top of the Ikelite housing which holds a GoPro Hero 4 so that I can get underwater video at the same time I am taking photographs, The GoPro housing has a float attached to the back in the event it snaps off of the housing it will float the camera to the surface.

I have equipped the housing with two Ikelite DS-51 strobes to get more light. The first year I used one of these housings I didn't have any strobes and the photos were good but the strobes allow you to get more color even if it is fairly bright in the water which makes the photos even better.

(from the web, because he explains it better than I would)

Water absorbs different wavelengths of light to different degrees. The longest wavelengths, with the lowest energy, are absorbed first. Red is the first to be absorbed, followed by orange & yellow. The colors disappear underwater in the same order as they appear in the color spectrum. Even water at 5ft depth will have a noticeable loss of red. For this reason, strobes are usually used to add color back to subjects.

At what depth underwater does color disappear?

  • Red - 15ft
  • orange - 25ft
  • Yellow - 35-45ft
  • Green - 70-75ft

Don't forget to add in the horizontal distance. If you are 10ft underwater, and you are viewing an object 10ft away, the light has actually travelled 20ft, and all of the reds will be filtered out.

Likewise, if you light up an object with your strobes 5ft away, the light has to travel 5ft to the object, and 5ft back to your lens, for a total of 10ft, with a significant loss of reds. This is why you always need to get close to your subject.

I use an Ikelite 8 inch dome port on the housing so that I can use a fish eye lens. I used to have a 4 inch dome port which worked great except the fisheye lens sees to wide for the four inch port.

I normally shoot with a prime lens when underwater. For the most part it has always been a Nikon 24 mm f 2.8 lens. I switch to the 16mm f 2.8 fisheye lens when I want to try some split shots.

This next trip I will be going with a Nikon 20mm f 1.8 lens. I purchased this lens this year and have been extremely impressed with how sharp the lens is. I'm looking forward to seeing what it does underwater.

If your'e wondering why the wide lenses it's because in underwater photography the rule is to get as close as possible and shoot as wide as possible. A lot of that is because of the light and color drop off you get underwater. The other is because the wide lenses really make the subjects stand out.

Shooting underwater definitely has a learning curve to it (which I'm still learning) and it can definitely be hard on your bank account. The retail value of the set up I have in the photos is around $4000 and that's without the camera or lens!

I know some of the really good underwater photographers in Maui that have $20,000 in a single set up but that's how they make their living so it makes more sense.

As a hobbyest I have reached my limit on underwater gear, at least that's what my wife tells me! LOL

An underwater housing can be used on top of the water too. It keeps you from worrying about that nasty sea water ruining your camera.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

20,000 leagues under the sea

OK, it's more like 20 feet (or less) but I don't have a submarine. Although Aaron did show me one they make for the GoPro. Hmmmmm...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Being high, very, very high

You were thinking something else weren't you??

Normally a shot like this would be taken from a plane or helicopter but in this instance I was standing on the top of a volcano at 10,000 feet. You can just barely make out the ocean and part of the island of Maui in the bottom of the photo.

The sunrises on Haleakala volcano are supposed to be spectacular but I don't really want to get up at 2:00 a.m. to make the trip to the top of the volcano so I opted for a sunset instead.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Over the river...

... and through the woods...

... to grandma's house we go.

The grand kids came for a visit this past weekend so Aaron and I let grandma baby sit for a couple of hours while we went to a close by state park looking for photo opportunities.

There weren't many to be found though, the lighting wasn't great and the skies were pretty plane Jane, not to mention the heat and humidity. The grand kids had more fun swimming in the nearby lake!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Taking in a sunset

I don't have any idea who these people are but I thought it would make a good photo.

It wasn't a bad sunset either!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In an ocean far, far away...

I guess I should have kept my mouth shut about the cool temperatures last week. This weekend the summer heat and humidity hit and I'm thinking a cool dip in the ocean would be really good right about now.

Friday, July 10, 2015

In a Galaxy far, far away...

I took these last summer. I've got a couple of new spots I'm wanting to get some night time shots from but it has to stop raining first. I don't ever remember a year when it's been this wet. The best thing about the rain is it's the middle of July and it's only been in the 70's. I like that a lot!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Getting the shot

While snorkeling one day Aaron and I came across this snowflake eel in the shallow waters. It was originally under a rock until we started pointing our cameras at it and then it started looking for some place else to go.

Even though the snowflake eel is part of the moray eel family, it doesn't have the sharp menacing teeth like the moray does. They do however have jaws like a vice that they use to crush crab shells to get their favorite meal. Either way, I was glad the eel headed towards Aaron and not me. He's younger and can move faster!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wall of Fish

These are from a couple of years ago while swimming in the ocean off Maui. 

I haven't had a chance to get back to this spot since then but I'm thinking next year I might spend a couple of days in these waters.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Seeing Double

I came across these lilies in a small rain forest on Maui a couple of years ago while hiking to a small beach to take underwater photos.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Dark & Wet

It's been raining and raining and raining here and we're supposed to have three more days of rain this week starting today. Our pond has overflowed twice now and the yard looks like a river has gone through but I guess that happens when you get five inches of rain in a day on top of an already saturated ground.

All of the clouds and rain are bringing out some bright colored mushrooms though.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Black & White

Just a lily from the front yard. 
That seems to be the farthest I can get away from the house for right now.